We have played so frequently with our Rainbow Wooden Jumbo Block Set – play that you would absolutely expect from a set of blocks right through to play that can (in my opinion) only be created by the imagination of children. I look at blocks, and think of all the wonderful towers and castles that can be created, but my children looked at these blocks and saw no end of possibilities.
Of course, we all enjoyed building towers, these blocks are particularly chunky, and a great size – the biggest block set we have – we enjoyed setting challenges, seeing if we could balance bigger blocks on smaller blocks or thicker blocks on thinner ones. These sorts of activities are great for exploring balance and cause and effect, and are always good fun. The large tray the blocks come in for storage makes a super base for this kind of activity, especially if you have carpets. It also provided us a base to build towns and castles in. The size of the blocks are perfect for buildings – they go up so quickly, and are nice and sturdy to then play with too, as there are less little bits to nudge over.
My son, who is 5, has used the blocks to create a bug hotel for his toy insects which was amazingly constructed, and included a tunnel entrance, and a balcony for the bugs to get fresh air on! The creativity and imagination that was inspired by a tray of blocks is magical. One of my favourite skills a set of blocks encourages is forward planning, deciding which ones are best and thinking about which shapes meet the needs of his creation. His absolute favourite thing to do with these blocks (and he would do this every single day) is use his construction vehicles to engineer a road, inclusive of tunnels, bridges, roundabouts and car parks. He creates an entire world and gets significant enjoyment in not only the playing with his creation but creating it in the first place. Engineering in its most basic form.
I love to use toys within our home education, we have used these blocks in shape exploration, and to physically see how you would find half of a shape (the semi circles are perfect for this) and how to ¼ a square – the chunky squares are great for a visual representation. We’ve also used them in 2D and 3D learning too.
My daughter, who is 2, gets an equal enjoyment from this set of blocks – tower building is her thing – she is an absolute pro at balancing. The variation of shapes gives her a great challenge, but the blocks are a super size for small hands allowing them to feel the centre of balance and make decisions on whether or not their balance is going to be successful. She loves sorting them into shapes – and one of my favourite things about this set is at the base of the tray, the shapes are outlined so your little ones can independently get them back in the tray successfully by matching up the shapes, another great learning opportunity! It also means the condition of the blocks is maintained and the storage is already sorted.
My daughter, frequently lines up the blocks so she can count them, and has started lining them up in both colour and size order. She has done this entirely independently (it’s something my son never did!) the set is such a valuable open ended resource in this sense.
One of the main reasons I choose this set in the first place over other blocks was that the colour of the blocks matches perfectly with the other wooden TickiT resources we have – our Wooden Architect sets, our Rainbow Wooden Stars, Rainbow Wooden Rings, Rainbow Wooden Cubes and Wooden Treasures. This allows for great colour sorting activities to be set up by me, but also when my children are favouring a certain colour they seek out all the wooden pieces to create together (luckily they have different favourite colours!). We have used these blocks alongside books to learn the names of colours, to display colour mixing “sums” and to create challenges using just one colour across the sets we have, eg. Can you balance all the yellows on top of each other to make one tall tower?
The areas of learning a set of blocks can give to your child are nearly endless, forward planning and spatial awareness, cause and effect and balancing. Learning about shapes, colours, numbers and inspiring the use of imaginations and creativity. My children and I cannot fault our set of rainbow jumbo blocks, and I see them as a great addition to our toys that will have longevity for both play and learning opportunities.
Written by Laura Ballantyne, mother and early years home educator.