I've been very surprised at how much my 25 month-old has enjoyed playing with her Tinker Toys. She literally plays with them for several hours every day. Sometimes she gets frustrated because you really have to push the parts together very tightly for everything to stay together and she's not quite strong enough to do that for all the pieces. But, overall she has the skill-set to successfully use these materials.
It's a lot of fun watching her learn about balance and gravity.
She's also gotten into "playing Doctor" with several of the pieces. She "checks my heart-beat" (I'm guessing she's been inspired by our visits to the Midwives, where we listen to the Doppler) and pretends to check out my ears. She also appears to pretend to give me shots, although she doesn't seem to have the vocabulary for describing what she is doing. She loves lifting my legs up and down, during my exam. Imagination...got love it!
My Mother got her this vintage set, although I haven't put out ALL the pieces, yet. (There are PLENTY of pieces to use and put away for right now).
If you have a toddler (or are hoping to have one sometime in the future) and you spy a vintage set at a Yard Sale or Flea Market...do yourself a favor and snatch those puppies up! They are priceless. Way better than the new sets.
Did you ever play with Tinker Toys when you were a child?