This is another one of those "your going to think I am crazy posts". Ryan and I made chairs for sale out of PVC pipe. One time, we left the pipe laying out in the floor. The girls discovered this and began to play with it. They have had the best time playing with this PVC pipe. They love to build all sorts of stuff! It really encourages them to use their imagination.
We buy the 3/4" pipe. It comes in 10 foot sections for $1.56 at Lowes. The Ts and the elbows also come from Lowes and run about $0.30 each. You will also need a drywall sanding sponge (in picture)to clean the pipe. This sponge will take off any dirt, black marks, and the company logo.
Now, there are two different brands of pipe. Home Depot carries a brand named Charlotte and Lowes carries a brand named Silverline. You do NOT want Charlotte. Charlotte pipe is stamped with a red logo. When you go to try to remove it with the sanding sponge, it will turn the pipe pink. The logo on the Silverline comes right off.
You can compare the price: Lincoln Logs for $70.00 or PVC pipe for about $5.00 for hours of enjoyment. Sure, the Lincoln Logs look like a much nicer gift, but for little ones that will lose all the pieces anyways, PVC pipe makes a great substitute! Also great for anyone strapped for $$ like we are!!