Product Type: ELC Construction Toy
Newest Review: ... hands so there aren't tantrums and tears when a toddler can't pull the bloks apart. I'm assuming all kids have a similar strength to m... more
Can We Build It?
Mega Bloks Maxi Tub
Member Name: sandemp
Mega Bloks Maxi Tub
Advantages: Durable, Toddler safe, Lots of Bricks
Disadvantages: The Lid Doesn't Lock Shut
......Yes We Can!
There are certain toys that I would consider essential additions to every toddler's toy box and included in this is a set of construction bricks. There was a time where the only choice when buying these bricks was Lego and more specifically their Duplo range for toddlers. Then Mega Bloks made an appearance, with ranges for all ages from the teeny, tiny blocks for older children to the Maxi Blocks that are suitable for toddlers over the age of one. We picked up this tub of 85 Maxi Mega Bloks for the now 16 month old Freddy just after Christmas in the ELC sale for a very reasonable £7.50 (under half price) and gave them to him for his first birthday.
When we bought the bricks they were available in two different tubs, red or yellow with the actual contents being the same in both. For no particular reason we chose the yellow tub, which was securely closed by two plastic strips that needed to be cut before the bricks could be accessed. Once these strips are removed there is no way of securely closing the tub, as while there is a lid, that lid does not lock tight. The tub is formed of smooth and fairly tough plastic that is easy to wipe clean (as are the bricks). While it probably wouldn't survive an adult jumping up and down on it, it certainly has survived being turned upside down as used as a seat and support by 16 month old Freddy.
Measuring in at approximately 20cm by 40cm and 20cm deep, when opened the tub is filled by an impressive number of bricks of varying colours and size. I was actually pretty impressed with just how full the tub was, often with sets like this you'll find there's a large tub and only a handful of bricks, so it certainly felt like we'd got our money's worth. The bricks are made of a fairly tough plastic, easy to wipe clean and a good size for little hands to use. But they are nowhere nearly as well made as Duplo, which is a shame because as far as I can tell Mega Bloks have pushed the baby Duplo out of the market.
There's a good selection of different sized bricks meaning that, with a little imagination, you and your toddler can build a number of different models. The bricks are easy for even the very youngest to fit together, the knobs on top of the bricks fit into the hollow bottom of the one above. They are also easy to separate after the model has been built and it's time to put away. What I especially like is that along with full height bricks there are a number of half height, which adds another dimension to model making. The bricks range in size from a single brick (approximately 3cm square and 6cm high), through two by one (both full and half height), to three by one, all the way up to four by one and two by two.
When he was first given this set of bricks Freddy really didn't have a clue what to do with them, but had immense fun emptying the box across the living room. As there are so many bricks they easily spread over quite a large area and as is to be expected it does hurt if you accidentally tread on one with bare feet. It also takes me a fair amount of time to put them all back in the box at the end of the day. No matter how much fun I try and make it look, I've not managed to persuade Freddy that putting the bricks back in the box is a good game. I've spent many hours sitting on the floor with Freddy playing with these bricks and I've built some quite impressive towers that are taller than Freddy. I've also managed to build a very basic house and a robot, so there's plenty of scope for imagination as Freddy gets older.
At the moment Freddy has just about got the hang of connecting two bricks together, but he loves to pull apart models that I have made. He also loves to bang them together and crawl round the room with a brick in his mouth. Even with such basic play he is learning especially when I join in. At the very lowest level these bricks are encouraging Freddy to improve his hand eye coordination, dexterity and imagination as he slowly begins create his own models. At a further level by talking to him while he plays, I'm introducing many more complex ideas such as colours, counting, bigger, smaller, over, under, top and bottom. It's a well known fact that young children learn best through play and these bricks are fantastic for that. From my experience with my (much) older children, I know that as he gets older Freddy is most likely to use these bricks for purposes other than the manufacturers intended. I've seen Mega Block bricks used as play food on more than one occasion.
I genuinely believe that every toddler should have some form of construction brick in their toy box and these from Mega Bloks seem to be of excellent quality. Personally I would have preferred to have bought Freddy some bricks from the Duplo range as I remember they were even better quality, but sadly the very youngest range no longer seems available. Saying that the Mega Bloks Maxi bricks are still durable, looking as good as new after four months play, the perfect size for little hands and fairly reasonably priced. My only real gripe with this set is there is no way of locking the box closed. So if asked whether I would recommend this particular set, I would have to say yes, but keep an eye out for the price. I paid £7.50 for Freddy's tub, the current price is £15 (still reasonable) and apparently the standard price £30 (extortionate), oh and this particular tub seems to be exclusive to ELC. So I'm giving the Mega Bloks 85 piece Maxi Tub a very healthy four stars out of five.
Summary: A must for a toddler's toybox
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