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My daughter already has a large box of Early Learning Centre Wooden Building blocks that she does like to play with at some stage most days. However, on a recent visit to one of her grandparents houses my daughter was presented with this Tesco Carousel Box of 100 wooden building blocks - her grandparents didn't realise she already had some and we didn't want to enlighten them and look ungrateful. My daughter's grandparents actually told us that they only picked it up as a little treat as it was reduced in Tesco to £2.50 and they thought it would be something different for her to play with!
When I first looked at the box, which was rectangular I wondered how on earth there could be 100 blocks inside, but when I opened it up for my daughter I was actually quite surprised at the contents. As well as there being the plain coloured wooden blocks in various shapes and sizes, there were brightly coloured blocks as well, but what really made this set different, and means my daughter can use it with her ELC set, is that it actually comes with a variety of blocks with animal pictures on them as well as a zoo keeper on one, and so I think despite it not claiming so in the title, this block set an actually be used to make a zoo, building huts etc for the animals to live in. I thought this was a lovely idea and makes the traditional wooden blocks just a little bit different!
I also liked the fact that this set comes with a drawstring bag to place all the bricks in when not being used, so you can discard the box once opened. Just as well, as I can't imagine getting all the bricks comfortably back in the original packaging. The only downside is that the bag itself isn't great quality as the drawstring doesn't pull completely tight and isn;t easy to do. In saying that for the price that my daughter's grandparents paid, you probably can't expect much more. In time, I can imagine either having to buy a drawstring bag or a box to house these bricks when I get fed up with the bag!
As I mentioned, some of the blocks having coloured pictures of animals on them. Now as much as I think that is a great idea, there are a few negative points I have to say. Firstly, the animal pictures are only on one side of the block, and I think it would have been better to have been drawn on both sides, so it is easier to see when playing with them. Also, the second big flaw, though is of little odds to my daughter at present, is that it is hard to decipher what some of the animals are. My husband and I are still not sure if one of the animals is meant to be a hippo or a buffalo or what?! They are drawn in a cartoon style but as my daugther gets older I think she will find it difficult to really be able to name these animals as well.
In terms of playing with these bricks, my daughter likes them, and plays as much with these as she does with her ELC ones, however, in terms of content I would say with the animals etc this version has the edge, but in terms of quality, I would say the ELC ones triumph. My daughter, with my help and guidance, likes to make little pens and shelters for the animals, and it gives her a focus for construction, even if she still finds it more difficult that using her duplo or megabloks.
All in all, I think for the price that was paid, this is a great set of wooden blocks, with the nice touch of the zoo and animal element. There are a couple of negatives which I have made mention of but for the price you can't really quibble too much over these points, and for that reason I would recommend them.