Ronan received this cool Bloco set from his Aunt Amye. You use foam pieces and connectors to create all kinds of creatures. He adheres pretty strictly to the instructions, but I think as he gets older he'll be able to dream up his own reptilian designs.
The major downside is tons of very small pieces (eyeballs and connectors), so if you have a little one around, beware.
Made in Canada! And there are a few different themed sets available from Fat Brain.
No -- at least I hope it isn't! Instead of buying whatever lead-tainted, plastic stuff that's available at TRU or Target, I'm advocating a more thoughtful use of your toy dollar. I try to find things that are a little more open-ended; a little off the beaten path.
For the record, we do have plastic, battery-operated character toys in our house. I've even bought a few myself. So I'm not judging. I just want to share my fabulous finds!