Disclosure; This is not a sponsored post. I did receive a product sample to facilitate my review however the opinions here are my own.
Ever since nursery school I have been a big fan of wooden toys. Many years later, I still remember playing with the classroom’s well loved set of wooden blocks. Triangle blocks, cylinders, squares…all the tools needed for an active imagination. Now, as the proud Mom to 3 (soon to be 4) boys I hope to give my children the same experiences with quality wooden toys. I have searched the internet, etsy shops, ebay, amazon…you name it, I’ve surfed there. Unfortunately, USA made high quality wooden toys can be hard to come across. We purchased blocks from Toys-R-Us and they have brightly colored paint and are made in China. To be honest, I don’t use them often. I nearly jumped for joy when I discovered Smiling Tree Toys. It’s a Mom and Dad run business that hand-makes their toys in Minnesota. Have a look at this fantastic company and like me, I’m sure you’ll want to have one of everything in your home!
We have the opportunity to review these fantastic Math Blocks. Smiling Tree Toys makes building blocks, alphabet blocks, personalized sets and keepsakes…but when I saw these math blocks I knew my 4 year old would have a blast! The blocks arrived in a white box, and as someone who reviews cloth diapers regularly, I was surprised when I heard the box rattle. I quickly opened it up to find an adorable unbleached cotton drawstring bag filled with these blocks. I thought my 4 year old would use them with his math workbooks…but they really inspire his imagination. When I first spread them out in-front of him, he lined up numbers 1,3,5,7,9 etc. and said “hey Mom look, it’s odd numbers.” We’ve talked a few times about even and odd numbers…but I didn’t know he had remembered! He makes up his own math problems, uses them to teach his younger brothers and is very interested in division and multiplication. He’ll engage with them for 30-45 minutes on his own. What an amazing learning tool, all from blocks!
On one side of the blocks (seen above) are numbers, on the same block on the reverse side are symbols. For example, on the “9” block there are 9 circles on the back. The zero block is blank on the back and the action block has an addition, subtraction, multiplication and division sign on it. It’s the darkest out of the bunch (nearly black) and very easy to find in the mix. The blocks are all different shades of natural wood and finished with organic oil and beeswax. They have a nice matte texture and are very smooth. I know that if our baby gets a hold of one, and tries to put it in his mouth, there are zero chemicals and paints he can ingest. Blocks are 1.5″ cubes and are a regular carry-along item in our to-go bag. They frequent Grandma’s! The color of the blocks in the photos with my son teaching his brother are most accurate compared to the lighter outdoor photos. The darker blocks are truly darker and they each have unique features that makes them easy to identify when they’re all in a pile. Given a little bit of time, it’s easy to identify each number block not only from the number…but from the individual nuances in the wood grain and color.
What would I change about this product? I’m frequently asked to share a downside. My downside would be that I want more blocks!! As my boys grow in their mathematical abilities, I would definitely want to add a second set to allow for bigger and more complicated math problems. This set, and many others on their website, would make a great gift and applies to a wide range of ages and abilities.