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How to choose a set of blocks

How to choose a set of blocks

Alexis Ralphs Aug 21 • 7 min read

What do you look for in a set of blocks? And is one set enough?

Blocks are the number one toy in the 100 Toys house. For someone who believes in fewer toys, I seem to have amassed quite a collection. Their appeal lies in their versatility. They grow with the child, revealing their secrets over many years. If you've tried a KAPLA challenge you'll know that even adults have a lot to learn.

Whether you're playing with figures, play-dough or blocks, there's nothing more annoying that running out before you have realised your creation. So the more blocks the better, up to a point.

But how many blocks is enough? For a baby or young toddler, a simple set of cubes is more than adequate. At this age, children are simply learning to grip, drop and pile the blocks. There will be some simple stacking but nothing complicated.

Preschoolers, however, have very different needs. They are learning to make doorways and windows and other complicated structures. Basic cubes are no longer enough. Ideally, the set would include some longer, flatter pieces that serve as lintels, bridges and ramps. It's hard to get all of that in one set. But there's no need to buy up the whole catalogue. Taking Grimm's as an example, you'd get plenty of play value from the giant or basic building sets paired with the building boards. Over time you might add a further set as your child's creations got bigger (for example Shapes & Colours, pictured above), but that's three sets over five years for a block-obsessed child. In our house, if we run out of building materials, we make up for the shortfall by using books or board-game boxes. Quick, easy and readily available.

You don't want to interrupt them when they're in a state of flow.

From our #fewerbettertoys series, where we look at ways to get more play value from the toys you already have.

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