Petronas Twin Towers (once the tallest in the world) on his work rug. With a quick, I'm-on-a-mission gait, he went back and forth from the shelf to his rug, retrieving the pieces of the pink tower and the brown stair. This is the fruit of his labor:
Search high and low (and most likely in old issues of National Geographic) for excellent quality photos of architecture from around the world. Include photos of well-known landmarks, such as the Taj Mahal, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Empire State Building, and the Pyramids. Don't forget to also include typical houses from around the world. Mount the photos on card stock, write a sentence or two about the building on the back, and laminate for durability. Keep the photos in a special folder titled "The Architect's Library of Inspiration" or something of the sort. Provide wooden blocks and a sturdy foundation.
I've put a good deal of thought into appropriate (and inappropriate) toys for young children. While I'll spare you a soapbox speech at the moment, one thing I can say for certain - if my own children have no store-bought toys other than quality wooden blocks (and a hefty selection of art supplies), I would say that they wouldn't be missing out on a darn thing. But then again, I'm one of those weirdos who has never owned a television and never will and who is planning on having nightly family jam sessions with my future children.
The word on the street is that these blocks are amazing. I'm also partial to the sets that are available from Michael Olaf's catalogue. We have the Roman Arch set in my classroom as part of the physics curriculum, and I'm personally envious of any child that has the deluxe wooden block set. How cool would that be?
To sum it up - provide blocks, and they will build.