Saturday, March 5, 2011

KAPLA planks

Building is fun.  Lego’s, Lincoln Logs, Erector sets, all of these were the building materials of my youth.  While wondering downtown, as I’m often prone to do, I wandered into a most fabulous place, “Tom’s Toys.”

What makes this store an absolute find?  KAPLA planks!

Mansion (click photos to enlarge)
Lion made with KAPLA planks

The Charleston store is the first shop in Charleston to carry the KAPLA planks.  They opened in 2009 and are located on Market Street across from The Charleston Place hotel.  They had a great sign in front of the store, “Need a break from technology? Come inside and play!”  Walking into the store, this is what I saw:

Building area
So, what it KAPLA?  KAPLA is simply a wooden plank based on a formula of the “progression of the uneven numbers 1:3.5.  Three thicknesses for one width and five widths for one length.  This ratio between bricks and stones and beams and planks now opens a whole new way of building. With these identical planks the builder can construct with the precision of artwork and the stability of stones.”  Source:

KAPLA planks
Lion made with KAPLA planks
The showroom floor is surrounded by wonderful examples of how creative one can be with the planks.  The first structure you notice walking in is the giant scale replica of the Eiffel Tower put together by the owner.  It took 3,000 planks to build.  Luckily, it’s glued together, so I couldn’t pull out a plank and yell JENGA!  Actually, I was warned to not touch it.
Eiffel Tower
In the middle of the store is a large play area.  You are invited to come in and play.  There were a couple of students ‘taking a break’ while I was in the store. 

Taking a break
Having fun
The wonderful young lady working at the store was a great source of knowledge and very creative.  Not only does she work there, she can also build wonderful KAPLA designs.  Many of the display pieces were built by her.  Here she is standing next to a dragon she built.

Maggie and the dragon
If you get a chance, take a break, stop by Tom’s Toys and play for a while.  You might build something totally cool.  If not, it’s okay, because building is still fun!

You can purchase the blocks at the store or in their online store.  Visit their website, Tom's Toys.  They also have galleries on their site of other really fantastic creations.  Better yet, just stop by: 125 Market St, Charleston, South Carolina.

(You can click on each photo to enlarge)


  1. Thanks Kevin. I enjoy reading blogs that teach me something new and/or kick start my brain.

    And the photos are great!

  2. oh, that place looks like a lot of fun