There used to be a lot of toys like this–toys that got you to use your imagination: and your hands, too. Among the greatest of these was the erector set.
With these toys, you start with just a bunch of parts that don’t look like anything, and with your hands and your brain, you turn them into something. What could be cooler than that?
All of the kids in my family got their start on my aunts’ erector set that they had when they were kids. I’m happy to say my brother still has ours.