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Good Old-Fashioned Way to Teach ABC's: Melissa and Doug Impress With These Blocks
Written: Jan 13, 2008 (Updated Jun 29, 2009)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
- User Rating: Excellent
Pros:Beautifully illustrated, all wood set, uppercase and lowercase letters
Cons:Not carved into wood, so possibility of fading/chipping
The Bottom Line: These are beautifully designed wooden picture blocks to teach your child the ABC's.
These beautiful full-color picture wooden blocks by Melissa and Doug are a good old-fashioned way to teach your child his/her ABC's.
Details about the blocks
These 2" cube blocks are packaged in a nice wooden tray and shrink-wrapped. I initially picked these up thinking they would make a beautiful birthday gift for a friend's toddler, but then decided to keep them for my own daughter. After you remove the cardboard insert, you'll see that there is room for 2 extra blocks on the tray, which means you can encourage your child to push the blocks around like one of those old-fashioned puzzles (I don't know what those are called but each individual piece has part of a picture on it and you have to slide them around to unscramble the picture).
Each block has both the uppercase and lowercase letter in a sans serif easy-to-read font, as well as 4 illustrations of animals/items that start with that letter. The one exception is the letter X. There are duplicate images of the X-ray and the Xylophone, as I guess they couldn't think of 2 other X words that toddlers might know.
Because these are blocks that can be turned sideways or upside down, my daughter sometimes reaches for the upside-down p block, thinking that is d. It would have been nice to have an underline to indicate the right orientation on the p/d/b/q/w/m blocks. For what's worth, the lower case L and the uppercase I also look identical no matter what orientation it is because these use a sans serif font. Still, I think these are minor quibbles. Your child merely has to rotate the block to look at the pictures to tell which letter it is.
Unlike some other blocks, these are imprinted, not carved into the wood. Yet it seems that many other parents have reported these withstand fading/chipping. I remain hopeful and will try to come back and update these next year when we've had them for a while.
The blocks are smooth, lightly varnished, and the wood grain can be seen upon close inspection. The edges are slightly rounded, so these don't have sharp edges or corners. Still, they stack easily so these are still very much cubes. The illustrations are well-done and show some amazing details given the small size. For instance, you can see the keys on a grand piano (though the foot pedals look a bit smudged).
Intended for children 2 and up, I couldn't resist opening these up a bit early and giving them to my 20 month old toddler. They are large enough that they do not pose a choking hazard, and I've seen reviews from other parents who gave these to their much younger children.
My daughter immediately started looking for items she recognized, including zebra (I had no idea she knew that word!), penguin, butterfly, frog, door, hat, key, kite, ball, and star. It was also nice to introduce her to some new items/animals she did not know, like volcano, iguana, yak, quilt, excavator, globe, jelly bean, and astronaut.
This is her first set of wooden blocks so it's been a new concept for her. I've stacked them for her and she enjoys knocking them down, but she hasn't tried to stack them herself yet. She does really enjoy putting them into the wooden tray and then emptying the tray again. I tend to play with these on carpet, rather than hardwood, to reduce the noise of wooden blocks crashing to the ground.
I'm hopeful that these blocks will last a long time and help her learn her ABC's. I'm glad I kept this set as it's well-made and seems to offer a fun way to teach my daughter her ABC's.
My daughter still loves these blocks and they still look like new, despite regular use over the past year and a half!
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Amount Paid (US$): 12
Type of Toy: Blocks
Age Range of Child: 12 to 36 Months
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