Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Toy Review Tuesday: Blocks

Matthew's toy blocks
Basic, fun, versatile play.

There are so many kinds of blocks - wooden, plastic, rubber, cloth, noise-makers (rattle or bell), and foam. We have the blocks in the above photo. I found other interesting blocks but did not buy them for Matthew. He doesn't need every single toy block out there. The others I found are:

Stack and Smile Photo Blocks at One Step Ahead.
IQ Baby Knock Knock Blocks
International Playthings Taggies Big Soft Blocks
Infantino Activity Blocks

The different kinds of blocks offer various benefits. Best Child Toys lists the following:
- Increase hand-eye coordination.
- Enhance logic thinking capability.
- Enhance capability in spatial awareness.
- Improve social capability by building 'something' with friends and siblings.
- Enhance language skills, for instance by talking about the end product.

- Visual stimulation.
- Auditory stimulation.

square plastic blocksBesides stacking, we like to play "fill and dump" with all his toy blocks. We've also used the old-school, 2nd generation plastic square blocks, which Bill used to play with when he was a tot, to motivate Matthew to cruise around our coffee table earlier this year. We built very tall towers using these plastic square blocks, with one tower on every side of the coffee table, and Matthew gleefully cruised around the coffee table knocking each tower down.

Parents rubber blocksMatthew loves the Parents brand rubber blocks. He loves to chew on them. Sometimes he crawls around with a rubber block in his mouth. These blocks are also super easy to stack.

plastic blocks from Chicco Flip 'n Play TableThe blocks that come with the Chicco Flip 'n Play Table encouraged Matthew to stack and build instead of just knock them over and toss. For a beginner stacker, they are easier to stack than Mega Bloks and they stay on. In fact, Matthew can easily stack these blocks 6-high.

1-inch square wooden blocksThe smaller wooden blocks (approximately 1 inch square) encourage more fine motor control for stacking. When Matthew is older, it will also be one way to introduce numbers, letters, and words printed on the sides of the blocks.

I'm sure Matthew will discover other creative ways to play with his toy blocks as he gets older, ie several years from now. Maybe we can build several towers next to each other and knock them down with a ball as if bowling. Or maybe he can pretend to be Godzilla and send the towers crashing down himself. Or maybe the blocks will be pretend boulders for his trucks to haul. The play possibilities with toy blocks seem endless.

About 'Toy Review Tuesday': Every Tuesday, I write about our experience with a toy. This review is not to be construed as an endorsement of the product nor do I intend to put pressure on parents to purchase the toys reviewed. Questions, sharing your own experience, or any other helpful insights are welcome in the comment section.


Beverly said...

blocks are so great to play with. Noah still loves them and we have lot of different kinds too.

Debbie said...

Hey Ria....

Ck out my July 13th post....I used to work with all of the kids who had learning disabilities...esp. ADD/ADHD and went back and forth from HS to the elem. campus. I dealt with helping them study, to testing modifications and anything in between.....hence, I only had an office at the HS campus. Now, I'll be teaching First Grade, which I've done before, but it wasn't my choice to change and I would definitely choose older kids....like 4th/5th grades or MS/HS kids. BUT I know GOD has a plan in place and I just need to go with the flow.....not liking it too much though.....

AND JEB loves his blocks, but he prefers the middle sized LEGOS. He builds all sorts of neat things....like towers and spaceships and houses!! He has amazing creations!

heidi marie said...

henry loves blocks now! they are a great motivator. stacking, throwing, dumping, etc.

The Hapa Girl said...

Blocks are fun toys to play with! All 3 of my kids love them, ages 1,3, and 8. It's cute to see them play together, but funny when the youngest knocks all theirs down :)

Monica Crumley said...

Blocks are great for any age child. John MIchael LOVES to stack blocks or play with Mega Blocks. Fun fun.