Friday, May 21, 2010

Wooden Blocks

I have finally found it! I was looking for some wooden ABC blocks for Baby O. I like the classic looking ones with carved out alphabets/numbers. A friend has kindly sourced and recommended the Haba wooden building blocks. They come in beautiful colours and whimsical shapes. Haba wooden blocks are from Germany and claims to be made of hard wood with completely non-toxic, child friendly finishes. However, they are a tad pricey. The 25 pieces of Eeeny, Meeny, Miny, Zoo blocks are priced at $49.99 online. Besides the make, the price has to be right too. So, let's KIV that....

Then, I asked Mr Google for 'classic wooden blocks' and he showed me these from Uncle Goose going for $33.99. Also made from non-toxic inks, these 28 pieces made-in-the-USA blocks just ain't classic enough for me. 
The same friend then recommended me The Baby Loft which stocks the Wonderworld ABC Touchy Wooden Blocks. Made from rubber wood and non-toxic colours, this Thai product is priced at RM108.90. Not too bad but didn't spur me to buy them immediately.

Then one fine day at Toys R Us, I saw these on the shelves staring right in my face saying 'Buy Me!'.  These Imaginarium wooden blocks seem to check all the right boxes! Besides being wooden and carved, it comes in ABCs (both capital and lower case!) and 123s as well as pictures.

Building blocks aids a child's development in numerous ways - touch (the carved letters), cause and effect (stacking up makes a block tower/ knock them and they fall), fine motor skills (pick/ stack/ knock), size/ shape/ colour discrimination, visual stimulation (match the blocks).

I couldn't wait for Baby O to open the box up and play! While waiting, I went searching for reviews on Imaginarium. I noticed one review on the blocks I bought mentioned something about having the same letters on different surface instead of having different letters to be able to build more words. I didn't think much of it until the time came when we (excitedly) opened up the package. Three things struck me almost immediately:

1. The contents are made up of 1/3 blocks and 2/3 packaging! Very misleading indeed! Yes, cleverly hidden behind the alphabet blocks is another empty box that helps to put everything into a presentable manner. Tsk, tsk, tsk...

2. The blocks are pretty lightweight and have sharp corners. I suppose being lightweight is a benefit when it comes to being handled by tiny toddler hands and fingers. The sharp corners will probably wear off eventually (looking at how they are being handled!). 

3. The same capital and lower letters appear on the same block together with a corresponding picture. Eg. 'M' appears with 'm' and a picture of a monkey. This is great for learning the ABCs in upper and lower case and in association with an object. Then the review mentioned above flashed back at me saying 'See! Told you so!' when I tried putting the blocks together to spell the world 'BABY' for Baby O. There are 2 blocks of its kind so there are 2 'A's and 2 'B's and so on. To my dismay, the letter 'Y' appears together with the letter 'B'. So its B(Y)-A(Z)-B(Y)... and insufficient 'Y' blocks as they have been utilised as 'B's! Yikes! I guess this can also be easily remedied by .. erm.. buying another set??!?! For the time being, it'll be just building wooden block towers and knocking them down, Bab O!

1 comment:

  1. What a disappointment. But bravo for living within your means and finding a set that wasn't unreasonably priced. You could get out your homemade play dough and make imprints of the different letters and spell out the words you want to make over and over again. When you are done spelling, just put the dough away until next time.


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