Have you heard of Flockmen? They are the latest addition to our playroom, and they have surpassed our expectations. I had been seeing it on Instagram lately, and they had caught my attention because of their simplicity and versatility. This open-ended natural wooden toy is fantastic. The possibilities with it are so broad that you can play for hours and not be doing the same thing over and over again.
IN THIS POST
1. About Flockmen
2. Our Flockmen- Full Flock (32 pieces)
3. Ways to play
- Flokckmen puzzles
- Small World Play
- Counting and maths
- Hide and Seek
- Get Creative
- Play Jenga
4. Flockmen freebies
5. Where to buy
Flockmen are made in Latvia. They are a set of carefully crafted 100% natural wooden figures ideal for open-ended play. They have not been treated with chemicals and are created from robust Baltic Birch timber. This wood is known for its ability to withstand wear and tear and its resistance to shock and splitting. The resistance is especially important because, as you'll see, they tend to fall a lot.
All the toys are CE certified, which means they've been lab-tested to ensure that no harmful chemicals were used in the production. The colors of the wood may vary because of natural variations in the wood.
Our flockmen - Full flock of 32
Flockmen come in a half flock (16 pieces), full flock (32 pieces), or a mega flock (100 pieces). I wanted to buy some to play, and I went for the middle option - a whole flock of 32. The half flock felt like we might get a lot of sharing arguments with the children, and 100 was too much at the time. I'm delighted with our choice because 32 pieces are a great place to start as they allow you to create many things. Although, of course, having more would allow us to build more extraordinary constructions.
Each wooden man is 5cm wide, 7 cm tall, and are 1.4 cm thick. They have been designed to ensure they are not able to be swallowed. You can have peace of mind, they are not a choking hazard, so even babies can play with them. They recommend them from 2 years old because it is not easy for babies to tap their full potential, but you could add them to a treasure basket, and I'm sure they would love them.
The Flockmen came in a cardboard box with a storage bag that contained 32 wooden men, a card with some inspiration. Inside was also a set of blank stickers that I had purchased for some creative activity with the children. It was delivered quickly and without incident - I'm pleased with the purchasing process.
Ways to play
The beauty of an open-ended toy like this is the multiple possibilities of play you have with them. There is no right or wrong, just exploring and creating without limits or rules (except gravity).
We've played in just a couple of weeks in all these various ways that we hope can inspire you in your play. I wish they could be the spark of creating something wholly new and original.
Stacking flockmen to build towers, bridges, and monuments was the first thing we did. At first, we only stacked them placing the feet on the shoulders. But later, we realized you can stack the men in other ways. Here is a picture of our basic ways to stack them that have allowed us to build both simple and complex structures.
I do recommend playing on a hard surface and avoid carpets. The structures and the Flockmen will stand better and longer. We play on the floor, tables, trays and plates. We were frustrated at first when playing on the carpet, so we had to change our strategy, and it's been fantastic since.
Build - just with the flock
Now you'll see some ideas of constructions that were created with just using our flock.
- Towers: stack them flat, single men, double, crisis cross single men towers.
Constructions - from bridges to monuments. Pyramids, giant V, walls, heart, X, X wall, diamond, tree, and more.
Build with other toys
The next step for us for building was to start introducing other toys in our play and combining them. They are so much fun and the possibilities are endless. Here are some of our favorites.
- wobbel - Combining the wobbel with the flockmen is so much fun. You can place them on the flat board of the wobbel and play with its curve.
You can also go one step further and make it more interesting by playing on the edge of the board. I was surprised at how quickly Mr.3 grasped it and started creating on the edge by himself.
- wood planks
Use the wooden planks as bases and help you build different levels or towers.
- magnetic tiles
We play similar to the wooden planks but place four flockmen on each level.
- Grimm's Rainbow and semicircles
We love the rainbow at home, and of course, we had to mix them with the flockmen during playtime. We've built towers, placed them on the arches, and more.
- Grapat loose parts
If you want to add complexity to the structures, balance some loose wooden parts. We love our Grapat mandala bits and coins and rings.
Another fantastic freebie that you can find on the flockmen website are puzzles. They draw the outer line of the structure, and you must fill it in with flockmen to fill in the puzzle. My 6-year-old daughter enjoyed them but found them relatively easy. My 3-year-old son found them a challenge; he needed my help but enjoyed them. I guess they are more appropriate for 4-5-year-old children.
I am a big fan of flat designs with loose wooden parts, like Grapat mandala pieces. So when we got the flockmen, we had to make some new creations. You can play with natural wooden pieces or mix them with colorful pieces like the grapat mandala loose parts to enjoy the process and the final result. So here, you have a mandala for each season as an example of what you can create.
Playing with the flockmen as if they were dominoes has been a discovery for my 3-year-old son. He has never played with dominoes before, so when I first laid them out and toppled them, he flipped and couldn't wait to do it by himself. We did straight lines on a floor or on a table (having the final flockman fall into a basket), curves, spirals, you name it.
It was hard for him to place them correctly on those first attempts, so we used the waytoplay road as a guide, and it was great. If you have the roads, I highly recommend using them as it is an excellent way to help guide them but allow them to accomplish it by themselves.
Small world play
These little dolls can be a part of any story you can imagine. Help them escape from a dungeon, climb a mountain, become family members, go on a trip to the beach, leave in wooden box houses. Whatever you can imagine and dream of, they can join your play.
Counting and maths
These men are great for counting, adding, subtracting, and grouping. Create towers or use them flat, but they are a fun and tangible way to understand early math concepts.
Hide and seek
You can hide them in a sensory tray, like this one that is autumn-themed. Full of leaves, sticks, and stones, how many flockmen can you find?
You could also hide them around the room and see how many they find.
- Decorate with Flockmen stickers
I bought this set of white stickers so we could decorate our flockmen. There are also designed stickers in the flockmen store that you can purchase if you like, but I felt like getting creative ourselves.
The good thing about using the stickers is that you can peel them off quite easily and have your original natural flockmen back. I've just had them decorated with the stickers for a couple of days, and they peeled off fine. I do not know if they work fine if you have them stuck for longer. Worst case, you show the other side 😉
- Dress them up:
Dressing them up is a simple and entertaining activity for children of all ages. Lay out some materials and have them get creative. They can wrap them in wool, strings, paper stringers, add feathers, buttons, leaves, or anything they can come up with.
- Outline them
Place a flockman on a piece of paper and have them trace it. Then they draw on the outlined figure and decorate them on paper. I would suggest outlining them with a pencil as it will be easier to erase if they mark the wood.
- Paint them
This is an idea that I am just sharing here but that we have not done. I've seen it online, but we have not done it as our flockmen are pretty new, and we don't have that many. So I wish to keep them natural.
Let's play together by adding one flockmen to the structure and in turns. How big can we create it? Then, whoever makes it fall can start the next round.
Flockmen also gives you ideas on their website to inspire more hours of play, but what I loved were these free printables. I have mentioned them before, but you must check them out. They have puzzles, building challenge cards, flockmen blank outlines for personalization, and color matching cards.
I think it's great when brands create value beyond their product and suggest all these activities that you can
Where to buy Flockmen?
I bought flockmen on their website: flockmen.com. They offer free worldwide shipping and 100-day returns (which I have not tried as we instantly loved them).
I am listing other online stores where you can find them, but I recommend buying directly from them with free worldwide shipping.
Flockmen have been a stunning discovery.
I am thrilled we have added Flockmen to our play. They are beautifully simple and allow you to do so much. Their versatility allows for incredible open-ended play. I enjoy building monuments in 3D and seeing where each new little man will take us. Understanding weights and balancing them, so they stand involves thinking and problem-solving in a very subtle and engaging way. They don't even notice all the things they are learning while playing with them. I highly recommend them.
I hope that putting this together will help other families get started and enjoy the Flockmen and that you will create as many lovely memories as we are creating playing together.
THANK YOU: Silvia Llado