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These blocks were bought for my little girl when she was first born so they are well over three and a half years old now but she still has them in her room to play with and are actually a favourite of my little boy now. The blocks are such a simple baby toy but very effective and we've had a lot of fun with these. The Early Learning Centre say, "these wooden blocks are great for learning to sort, stack and match." The blocks are all square and all the same shape and fairly small but I like this because its easy for little hands to grab hold of them. The blocks are painted different colours which I like as one of the aspects you can use them for are learning and teaching about colours. The bricks are red, green, yellow, orange and blue and so you can play stacking all the bricks of the same colour or picking a certain colour out from the other ones. On every side of the block there is an alphabet letter or a number. The letters are written in bold black and stand out quite well and are easy to read. I love that these blocks have letters on as we have had fun spelling out my little girl and little boys names and we have also started to spell out words too. It's funny to see how the play changes depending what age the kids are. For example my little boy (1) loves to buld up these blocks and then laugh as they fall down whereas my girl (3) likes spelling out her name and other words. The blocks are quite heavy due to the fact that they are made out of wood and have quite pointy edges so I would beware if you are building big and high towers as they do actually hurt if they fall on you. We have a few bits of paint chip on the edges of the blocks but apart from that they are still in perfect order and are still great fun to play with A set of 26 alphabet and number blocks costs £10 from The Early Learning Centre.
I wanted to ensure that my son's toy box was filled with a combination of more modern toys and games and more traditional, basic toys. One of the toys that I was keen for him to have was a set of wooden building blocks. Ideally I wanted them to be all the same size and shape rather than a variety of shapes. I had quite a bit of trouble finding a set I liked that fitted these criteria but eventually I came across these alphabet blocks in Early Learning Centre. I bought these for £10 for 24 blocks. They are suitable for use from 12 months of age. The blocks are all cube shaped and the same size. They come neatly stacked in a cardboard box (which is handy for keeping them in when opened). The blocks are in a variety of colours - red, blue, green, yellow and orange. You have 5 of each colour except in one colour (yellow, I think) there are 4 - handy to remember when you are clearing away and looking for lost blocks!! The blocks are wooden and fairly heavy, although not so heavy that I would be worried of injury from falling stacked blocks. On each face of the cube there is a black letter, number or maths symbol painted on. The colours are bright and attractive to children. They are also a nice size to fit into toddler's hands and my son loves to use these to stack with. They stack easily and are suitably weighted so that they are not knocked over at the drop of a hat - ideal when your child is learning to stack as this can get frustrating. I love the fact that there are added benefits to these on top of encouraging my son to develop the motor skills and co-ordination needed to stack and build. Firstly, when my son builds we discuss the colours that he is using in an effort to help him learn these. At 18 months, he could stack pretty well so, whilst he still enjoyed using them for this purpose, it is nice that there are other aspects to the blocks that will increase the longevity of the toy. It will be nice to use the blocks as a learning aid in later months/years too as the letters can be used to help him to learn spell his name etc. The numbers can also be used when learning to count and, later, to perform simple maths sums. The paint on the blocks did begin to chip at the edges even from first use. Given the nature of the toy and that you would expect them to do a fair amount of bashing and tumbling, I would have expected them to be a slightly better quality. We have other blocks in a trolley that are coloured and have not shown any wear and tear in this way, so this is a little disappointing. They have also dented in some places, although I am a little less bothered by this as it is less obvious. Overall, these are nice blocks for a child to learn to stack with and develop motor skills. They do not wear incredibly well but I still think that we will get good use from them.
We already have a pack of elc blocks that my son received when he was younger but last year we came across the alphabet blocks and decided that they were lovely and would be a perfect present for my youngest sons Christmas. == What are they? == For my £10 I received 24 brightly coloured blocks all blocks are made in lovely bright colours blue. Yellow red and green and stand out straight away to grab little ones attention. They come in a small box which is very handy for storing them in as it means they do not get lost and can be kept together without making a mess. These blocks are building blocks essentially but with a twist. On each side of each brick is a letter, number or sum sign printed in black letters. There are no pattern o how they are printed although letters that are used more tend to re appear more than letters that are more unusual for example a, e I repeat over and over again while z , x and y are printed less so when spelling words you are able to write most things with no trouble. Also one of my favourite things about these blocks are also printed on these blocks are sum signs for example + and - so the numbers and these sum signs can be used to set up puzzles for older children and it makes it a fun way of learning simple adding and subtraction. They are a nice size too small enough for little hands to use but not to small so it is hard for small children to build towers. They are made from wood which is lovely as they soon stand out in a sea of plastic. They are well made no chance or harming little ones and extremely durable with rough play they receive at the same time. == How can they be used? = My youngest son loves to build blocks with them and simply has fun. Also I like to sit with my youngest son and sort the blocks into colours so I can have some fun too. My daughter who has just turned 3 uses them for the number and letters they help her be introduced to learning through fun and play. She likes to put the numbers in order and also sits with me and my son and sorts the letters into order while repeating the sounds each letter makes. My eldest son is 4 now and although he is already a strong counter he can use them to build sums and to sit and spell out words. The blocks can be used for them to play alone or by playing together and have become a firm favourite in our house. There really is a different way to use the blocks for each stage in a small child's development and not forgetting just having fun and using them as building blocks. == How well do they last? == We have had these bricks for over a year now and although some have a few teeth marks in from where my son likes to try and use them as a teether they are still just as good as new. The colours and the printed numbers and letters are still as bright as they first were when we brought them. They have been knocked over time and time again, used as a teether run over by toy trains and squashed by dinosaurs the uses for them with my children's imagination never seems to end and yet they are still as practical and perfect as the first day we got them. Despite my children using them nearly every day and 3 toddlers all have their time playing with them they have not lost interest and there seems to be something very special about them that always keep my children coming back to them. They grow with the child and so can be used for an extended age range which you cannot say for a lot of toys now. == Summary == These blocks are recommended from 12 months plus but I believe they have such an appeal to younger children and older children alike as they can be used in many different ways. These blocks retail at £10 which I think is a brilliant price for what you get lovely well made blocks with both letters and numbers included on them which means there are so many more things your child can do rather than just build towers and they have been a big hit with all three of my children I would recommend to anyone.