Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘blocks’

There’s a reason why people say blocks are a classic toy for children. In this day and age of electronic toys with all kinds of bells and whistles, humble toy blocks can still hold their own and appeal to children, providing hours of fun.

Not just any fun, creative fun. Yes, blocks are good for your kids! Numerous articles have been written about the benefits of playing with blocks. Among the various benefits, blocks help your kids develop problem solving, motor, social, language, and spatial skills. It also encourages creativity and divergent thinking. What a lot of benefits to reap from playing!

But there are blocks and there are blocks.

My kids have tried playing with other blocks before but it did not hold their attention for very long. So when Pamela from My First Games offered us some (many!) blocks for a review, I was keen because I had seen the amazing structures that could be built with Citiblocs, but was apprehensive about whether the kids would like them or not.

My worries were unfounded!

SONY DSC

Citiblocs comes in a range of colours – Cool, Natural, Warm and Camo. There are additional options of vehicles and trees.

Vehicle set

Vehicle set

Trees set

Trees set

Citiblocs is an award-winning toy that has won 17 Toy Industry Awards. All pieces are made from Grade A Radiata Pine from certified renewable forests in New Zealand. Each piece is lightweight but of good quality. I even wondered to myself if I could pass these on to my grandkids in future. Maybe even my great-grandkids!

The unique thing about Citiblocs is that every piece is precision cut to exactly the same dimensions. It sounds like a simple thing, but this sameness  ensures the pieces fit perfectly and enables you to build extremely complicated structures that are held together only by gravity! There is no glue, no magnets, no connectors, no snaps nor clasps.

2015-10-08 07.25.03

All the same size

Just look at that! The minute I saw the picture below I was completely intrigued by Citiblocs and wanted to try building that structure.

You can see many examples of super structures built by Citiblocs fans – both kids and adults. Yes, adults too! There are many examples online showing the challenging super structures built by groups of adults. Check out this video for just one of many examples.

The boys initially started by following the examples provided in the booklets that accompany each set of blocks. They made simple structures, and were not very good at balancing the pieces on top of one another. But over time, they got better and better at it. They learned when they needed to add more blocks on one side in order to counter-balance the weight of the other side. They learned how to make sure they stack pieces on top of each other so that the tower doesn’t end up tilting and toppling over. They learned the different techniques of stacking and came to have their preferred methods. The growth in motor skills was most apparent in my younger boy. At first he could not build tall towers because he didn’t stack the pieces properly causing them to fall over easily. He would get frustrated and needed my help. Now he’s able to build tall towers on his own.

One of his first attempts at building a tower with Citiblocs

One of his first attempts at building a tower with Citiblocs. He did simple stacking.

2015-10-13 20.32.21

After a few sessions of play he decided to work on building a house

We even brought the Citiblocs out for a picnic once. I used the SG50 NDP bag that every Singaporean household gets and stuffed some blocks in along with a picnic mat. The blocks kept him busy while I kept an eye on my youngest who was running around the playground.

SONY DSC

Block picnic!

SONY DSC

Outdoor play! Make use of your SG50 NDP bag by throwing the blocks in and going to the park.

2015-11-10 11.50.49

Experimenting with building techniques

SONY DSC

A long ramp leading up to a carpark

SONY DSC

Bridge over a river

2015-10-06 11.15.19

Building with a spiral staircase

Spikey pineapple? Porcupine?

Spiky pineapple? Porcupine?

Pirate ship

Pirate ship

The boys play with Citiblocs both individually and collaboratively. Collaborative play is my favourite. Seeing them work together to build something is any mother’s delight. They can busy themselves with a building project for a good long while! This was one of their big projects – three towers with bridges connecting them.

SONY DSC

Working on a bridge between two towers

SONY DSC

Adding finishing touches to the towers

Their completed structure

Their completed structure. The three of us worked together on the crooked bridge.

They were very proud of their structure!

They were very proud of their structure!

Elevated crooked bridge

Car crossing the crooked bridge

They call this the "ang ku kueh" tree

They call this the “ang ku kueh” tree

Here they built a city with an airport, carpark and roads.

SONY DSC

Looks like a mess but there was some order to it

SONY DSC

Airport, control tower and runway

Car park

Car park

And there was another project where they brought in Lego and other toys to play together. We built the train I was eyeing but extended the train tracks. On the carriage was a cage for the dinosaurs, the roof of the train was a landing pad for the aeroplane, while the mammoth was the train driver.

2015-11-13 22.21.31

Another time Ellery made a building and used cardboard to draw the road/lake around it. I liked how the boys brought in other elements to their play and did not confine their make believe to just the blocks.

Drawing the road or lake?

Drawing the road or lake?

My youngest daughter, turning two soon, was initially too young to do build anything with the blocks. Her favourite activity then was to quietly steal the blocks from her brothers and stuff them in her little bag. Now though, she does some simple stacking. I’m sure that in time she will join them to build their tall structures.

"Keep! Keep!"

“Keep! Keep!”

SONY DSC

The boys challenged me to use all the blocks to build something. So I did! A massive vase.

SONY DSC

All 400 blocks

If you are thinking of how to occupy the kids meaningfully this March holiday, and especially if you are looking for something that is not electronic, does not involve a screen, and encourages creative play, you should get some Citiblocs for your house! Even if they only build a really tall tower, one of the best things is the pleasure of knocking it over :)

2015-10-08 07.23.31

Bish!

You can get Citiblocs from My First Games, a store that specializes in selling games for children. There’s a promotion now on where you can enjoy 30% off your purchase of Citiblocs if you enter the following code: CTBTHIRTY. It’s a case of the more the merrier with these blocks, so that’s a great promotion to take advantage of!

Happy building!

—————————————————————————————————

Disclaimer: We were generously given the Citiblocs for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Read Full Post »