REVIEW: Hape 101 Wooden Beech Blocks

This big box of bright tactile blocks gives plenty of scope for creativity and imagination with the range of shapes and sheer number. Children from 12 months plus can explore shape, balance and design as they create their own imaginary worlds. As children explore and build. they will gradually learn how to create a strong structure, and problem solving skills will come into play as they work out how the shapes can be fitted together; as they play fine motor skills will be developed.

The clever thing is that the blocks come in a box which doubles as a shape sorter – such a good idea. This will help develop hand-eye coordination and dexterity. It also has a carry handle which neatly slots down to allow easy access to the box; the box is perfect for long-term storage as it is sturdy and durable. There are six different shapes in the shape sorter – arch, semicircle, square, rectangle, triangle and cylinder; there are even more shapes to be discovered in the box. The bright colours are very attractive; unusually, pink is included and also natural wood which adds to the appeal; the blocks are painted with water-based paint.

Use the blocks to encourage your children to recognise and name colours. The blocks can also be used as a sorting toy – sort by shape or colour and start to teach your little one about grouping and counting. There are so many opportunities for learning while your child is having fun and the generous number of blocks mean that more than one child can play, thereby developing social skills and encouraging sharing, especially as children get older, because this set will have years of use. A lovely selection of bricks and the inclusion of a shape sorter is just brilliant; the attractive packaging means this would make a lovely gift.

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