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Just about everyone in my family always asks me to find presents for my daughters from them and my sister is no exception, last Easter she wanted to buy my girls a little present to go with their chocolate and she was struggling with finding something for my youngest daughter.
I came across these alphabet blocks on Amazon and felt that they were a old style stable toy that never goes out of fashion and at about £8 for the set I thought they were a decent price too. The set also came with free delivery which made them an even better buy.
When the blocks arrived I was quite surprised at the size of the box as it was only 8 inches x 6 inches which of course meant that the blocks were going to be quite small inside the box. The blocks are meant for ages 18 months and up which is stated both on the box and on Amazons site so I had expected them to be bigger.
The blocks are packaged in a mainly white cardboard box which is pretty sturdy and made of thick card however the way the bottom of it is folded it is very easy to get flattened when the blocks are not inside and we have found that we had to tape the box up at the bottom so that we could still keep the blocks inside it.
On the front of the box you have the statement that your child can have fun building words and learning to spell, you also get a picture of some of the blocks and the information that the blocks are for ages 18 months plus. On the back of the box you are told that the block can encourage problem solving, imagination (strengthen abstract thinking), concentration, self confidence and pride in achievement, counting and shape differentiation, constructive thinking and finally hand eye co-ordination and exercises small motor skills, who would have know small blocks could actually encourage so many things.
The blocks are obviously made of wood and each one is about 1 inch cubed, on two sides of the cube which are opposite to each other there are two different letters which are written in capitals, the letters are written in either green, blue, red or yellow on a white background and then have a border around the outside of the square in the same colour as the letter. Two more of the sides of the cube have two lower case letters on them, these are not coloured in any way and look like they are done with Pyrography. On the last two sides of the cube are come little pictures also engraved into the wood rather than in colour, the pictures begin with the lower case letters on the cube.
My daughter was just over 18 months when she first got the blocks and we found that this was a little too young for this sort of things as she just wanted to constantly out them in her mouth and being made of wood we didn't think this was a good idea.
We got these blocks back out for our daughter just before she was 2 years old and she played with them much better this time. Emily enjoys making towers with them and we build up the anticipation until the tower falls which she giggles like mad at. We have used the blocks to help her learn her basic colours although we haven't used them for learning letters as since we have her older sister we know that the school teach the lower case first and the most prominent of the letters on the blocks are the capitals.
My older daughter enjoys playing with these blocks too as she is in year one at school now she is able to spell out simple words herself so she sees how many words she can spell with the bricks and then we have to read the words to make sure she has spelt them correctly.
The blocks are not the best of quality unfortunately as we found some of the edges were a little rough although this was very easy to fix and we just gave them all a rub down with sandpaper to make sure they were safe for our daughters to play with. The colour is also a little messy with little splodges of colour being on parts of the block where it isn't meant to be.
I think the idea of the blocks is great, they provide lots of enjoyment and different ways of learning and are great for a range of ages. The blocks were a decent price and the only thing that lets them down is the quality could be better. I would recommend these blocks but get a pack of sandpaper ready.