Every so often, I try to go through the toys in my daughters' play room and weed out the ones that aren't played with anymore. Some have just lost their appeal, others have ended up ignored and then there are the toys that have just been outgrown.
I have dreams of filling the room with only the best of the best, toys that are classic and timeless and encourage creativity, curiosity and imagination. Things that will help them learn the skills that all children need, like patience, how to share and problem-solve... and all the while allowing for either individual or group play. And let's not forget fun, of course, it's always important for toys to be fun.
The item that comes to mind first as meeting all of the above criteria and more? Our newest favorite, CitiBlocs.
At first glance, CitiBlocs appear to be pretty plain wooden blocks. Not thick or square like most, but longer and thinner, measuring about 4.5 x 1 x .25" each. When I dumped them out on the table, I wondered what would make these into an amazingly-popular, multiple award-winning toy.
What I found was that sometimes all it takes is one simple concept that can lead to hours of entertainment. The particular size of each block has been carefully selected, as its ratio is fundamental in allowing it to be used in any direction and work perfectly to build to vast heights and dimensions. Forget using glue, snaps, connectors or magnets, CitiBlocs work purely by the forces of balance, gravity and imagination.
Big Sister E and I began small by building basic towers, laying the blocks out flat to make roads and standing them on end to resemble trees. As CitiBlocs are recommended for ages 3 and up, she was a little on the young side for having the coordination to make anything intricate, but that was completely okay with both of us.
Never once did Big Sister E get frustrated or complain, which was an amazing feat and truly showed how CitiBlocs are appropriate for any skill level. She continued constructing right next to me, content to collaborate with me or work on her own creation while I tried my hand at some of the designs in the included instruction book.
I was amazed at just how easy it was to handle and build with these blocks, as they stack flat or on their side or standing up much nicer than I had expected, considering they are only .25" thick. It really did make a difference that they are precision cut and all the same because it made constructing with them a breeze.
Once I had my car finished, I think both Big Sister E and I were officially BIG fans of CitiBlocs. The possibilities are endless and the idea that my daughters can pull these out anytime and anywhere (all that's needed is a flat surface) to build whatever they might dream of... well, that just makes me happy.
The other aspects of CitiBlocs that I love make up a pretty long list. The fact that they are safe, non-toxic and durable means that I don't have to worry about my girls playing with them. And, because CitiBlocs are cut from Grade A Radiata Pine from certified renewable forests in New Zealand, I can feel good that they are a green product.
Finally, there is extensive list of attributes that CitiBlocs help to teach. As well as the skills I mentioned, just by building children learn logical thinking, balance and counter-balance, symmetry, mathematics, fine-motor skills and end up with feelings of discovery, confidence and accomplishment. What parent wouldn't want to encourage those?
Did I mention that CitiBlocs are also affordable? The starter set of 52 that we received retails for $15. However, trust me that you'll want more, because the whole family can truly get in on playing with these together. CitiBlocs also sell in sets of 100, 200, 300, 500 or 1000 (just imagine what you could build!) and have recently been introduced in boxes of 54 that contain two color options. I'm having a hard time deciding whether I would like to get the Turquoise & Green or the Blue & Red first!
No matter if your child is a budding architect or just likes to have fun, CitiBlocs are for all ages and capabilities. The whole family can spend time together or work individually and, most importantly, there's no wrong way to play. As for me, I'm checking out the Photo Gallery of CitiBlocs creations to get ideas for my next construction...
Thanks, CitiBlocs, for creating an amazing toy. No matter which way you look at them, these blocks are inspirational, entertaining and a whole lot of fun. And, for always stacking my mail in pretty symmetrical towers, thanks, Mail Carrier.
(Other than the information and set of CitiBlocs that I was sent, I was not provided with anything or enticed to do this review in any way. This review is solely my opinion of this innovative and unique product and its long list of benefits.)