Recently my husband called me into our daughters' playroom and forced me to give a thumbs up or thumbs down to just about every toy in there to indicate if the girls actually played with it or not.
I always have a hard time removing things since maybe they don't play with it right now... but they could start, right? Like, tomorrow? Or the next day? What if that is the day that they take an interest in that certain one? And how can I put away educational toys even if they aren't ever touched? They're educational!
But I know he's right; there's no point in taking up the space with toys that don't move off of the shelf, no matter what benefits or impact they might possibly have on learning. My kids tend to gravitate towards the classics that most all children love anyway: things like blocks, books, and music that are just open-ended and fun.
So... what if those can all be combined into one ultimate toy? Something that kids love to play with that can also entertain while being instructive? That's just what we've found is possible with Smarcks Smart Blocks.
Although at first glance they might look similar to other traditional blocks out there, Smarcks' appearance is the only thing that they have in common with the rest of the industry. Because Smarcks aren't just blocks, they're talking building blocks.
So while your child is being creative and constructing a tower, they will also be discovering good manners, singing, nursery rhymes, counting, math skill, spelling, colors, and shapes! Now that's anything but ordinary.
Big Sister E and Little Sister B were excited just by glimpsing the large blue container that the 70-Piece Building Set comes in and they couldn't wait to see more. As we unwrapped the pieces along with the additional smart blocks that we received, the first thing I heard was, "They have EYES!" and a great deal of giggling. The girls were already entertained and they hadn't even experienced the best part!
Encouraging them to go ahead and build, Big Sister E and Little Sister B started stacking, all the while assuming that these bright blocks were just that: blocks. So you can imagine their shock and surprise when they stacked one of the Smarcks into their creation and it suddenly began to talk to them!
These blocks are so much fun and every time we have played with them we have discovered another feature that we hadn't realized before! With a total of seven Smarcks building block sets, 19 different talking blocks and over 300 statements, puzzles, and sound effects, each experience provides something new and entertaining.
I love that Smarcks are designed for ages 1 and up, as there is plenty for both younger and older kids to learn from them. Beginning with the Red, Yellow & Green and the Purple, Pink & Orange sets, these blocks teach about colors and good manners through rhymes and sound effects. What other construction toy tells you, "“I am a block that’s green and I am never mean," when you're building with it?
The Nursery Rhyme Blocks come next and can be used to simply enjoy the rhymes or as a challenge for older kids to follow a sequence and discover the puzzles and patterns of how to play different nursery rhymes one line at a time. There is even a Puzzle Builder Guide to help you find the full potential of what these and all of the Smarcks can do!
Next up are the ABC, Shapes and Counting Blocks, the most educationally-packed Smart Blocks of them all. I love that these have the ability to teach so many important concepts in such an easy way and the looks on my kids' faces when the blocks spell each of the 26 different words or tells what shape or number it has been placed on is just so great!
Big Sister E's mouth dropped open when the Green Counting Block said, "You put me on a five block." How did it KNOW, Mama?
Next in the series are the Music & Dancing Lights Smarcks, and even though we didn't receive a full set of them, we did get to try out the Red Music Block and it instantly became one of Little Sister B's favorites. The combination of the cheery music and multicolored dancing lights in the clear block has had her shaking and grooving multiple times!
The final set of Smarcks (for ages 5+) consists of the innovative Math Blocks which helps children learn the concepts of addition and subtraction while also focusing on the fact that math can be fun. Instead of the overwhelming and sometimes scary way that math can be interpreted, these blocks incorporate humor and the rhyme Five Little Monkeys Jumping On The Bed to get children excited about math skills.
All in all, Smarcks Smart Blocks really do find a way for learning and fun to go together in such a wonderful way. They allow the creative, open-ended, constructive building of traditional blocks but with so much more. The way that they can capture the attention of children for hours who then still want to return day after day to continue playing with them solo or by working together just shows how easy it really can be to blend education and entertainment.
With so much of childhood seeming to be divided into either play time or learning time, I am so glad that Smarcks has given us a way to reinforce colors, shapes, numbers, letters and more in such an enjoyable way for everyone.
We've built, we've sang, we've danced, we've laughed (the Smarcks have, too. They each have a "ticklish spot" that's fun to find)! And we've especially had a good giggle making towers that include multiple Smarcks together so that they all start talking at once!
Arriving with their batteries installed (AAA - not some obscure, expensive ones), Smarcks are ready to play with immediately out of the packaging or the bright blue easy-to-open container. It's great that they have a convenient storage container when we're done playing that holds every single one and that my kids can simply pull out or put away themselves.
Even though we have outgrown many other toys in the past, I can foresee continuing to play with the Smarcks Smart Blocks for years to come because of all of the various levels and possibilities that they hold and the critical and creative thinking that they can unlock. Plus, they're just so much fun!
Smarcks retail for $29.95 for the 70-Piece Building Set, around $19.95 for additional sets of Smart Blocks, but with special money-saving packages available as well. Visit their website for more information about what these incredible blocks can do as well as their blog to learn more about the inventor, his family, and just how much his children have excelled with this fantastic and innovative idea.
And, thanks to the generosity of Smarcks, one person will be able to see the joy and excitement that can come along with education and learning, because...
One lucky person will win the Smarcks Learning Special (ARV $77)! This includes the 70-Piece Building Set, both Color Block Sets, the ABC-Shapes-Counting Blocks, and the Math Blocks!
To enter to win: Visit Smarcks and tell me something that you learned there or which of the block sets you think the child in your life would love the most.
Extra Entries (available after the mandatory entry above is completed; please leave a separate comment for each entry in order for them to be counted).
1 Extra Entry (per method) if you follow the Smarcks blog with Google Friend Connect and/or Like Smarcks on Facebook.
1 Extra Entry (per giveaway entered) - Enter any (or all) of the giveaways running on Thanks, Mail Carrier for the duration of this giveaway.
1 Extra Entry if you follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway by copying and pasting the tweet below and leaving me the link. Tweet daily for an extra entry every day!
WIN a set of Smarcks, the Talking Building Blocks that are educational & FUN! ARV $77 #thxmailcarrier http://bit.ly/fJzfd9 #win #giveaway
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Giveaway will end on April 8th at 11:59pm CST. Do me the favor of leaving an email address or making absolutely sure it is visible in your profile, I have to have a way to contact the winner. The winner will be chosen by random.org and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to contact me or respond to notification or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.
A big thank you to Smarcks for providing a variety of Smart Blocks for me to review as well as the Smarcks Learning Special for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.