Until this past Chanukah, we owned a nice amount of MegaBloks, or those jumbo-sized legos. RaggedyDad almost always spends time every weekend with both kids and these blocks. When we first got them a couple of years ago, RaggedyAnn was big enough to understand and enjoy the concept.
Once Andy started getting around, the main activity was for RD and Ann (3 1/2) to build something before Andy could destroy it. Now that Andy's a little bigger (14 months), he has started adding on pieces to their creations as well. He enjoys walking around and searching for the right spot, and calling it "tatta" before plopping on another block.
Watching them play with this toy for big stretches of time is great. It's not a messy toy, nor is it a noisy toy. The only noisy thing is the occasional "crash" of a tower, usually followed by Andy saying "tatta" or more recently "uh-oh".
When RD and I were discussing what might make for a good, unannoying Chanukah present this year, he suggested "more MegaBloks!" mainly because he wants more MegaBloks. My husband actually enjoys these things all on his own once the kids are asleep. Shhh, don't tell him I said that! He gives long-winded explanations about the structure, style, and durability of his creations. He studies other people's "building styles" and gives suggestions for making their MegaBloks towers earthquake proof. No, I'm not kidding.
When I was in Babies R Us, that bastion of combining diaper sales with diaper coupons, they had 80-count bags of said MegaBloks on sale for less than the 70-count bags. I think they came to about $10 and change each. So, two sacks full of MegaBloks made their way surreptitiously into my bedroom closet and remained there until Chanukah. Eventually all of the MegaBloks were combined into one giant comforter bag.
Here's the latest Raggedy creation that uses nearly every MegaBlok we own.