Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Larsen Toy Lab Review

We had the privilege to review Larsen Toy Lab's Building Bridges Block set!
They sent us this beautiful set of blocks with our blog name engraved on it.

Courtney and Alex Larsen are a brother and sister team that say, "Our idea is simple – to build a company around blocks. Throughout generations wood blocks have cultivated problem solving, critical thinking, and social skills. Quite simply, blocks are one of the most educational and inherently creative toys available. We’ve added to these values by blending a story, game or a puzzle into each of our sets!"
I like that they are bringing back the original passion for blocks in children play.


 Each block is handmade, hand sanded, and beveled for safety and good quality, using natural wood from local family foresters and natural beeswax stain.  Their box packaging is used by a local printer who uses wind energy.  I like that this is a very green friendly organic safe product.

 The set we received is a "Toys with a Story" set.  It comes with a story book called "Building Bridges" which both Courtney and Alex illustrated and wrote themselves.

As I read the book to Butterfly, she copied the structure pictures in the book with the block set.  I love this for spacial concepts and 3D puzzling thinking skills.

 I wrote back to Alex asking why they didn't provide all the blocks to match some of the structure pictures in the book.  We found we couldn't complete a couple of pages because we didn't have all the blocks it showed.  Alex wrote back with this:
  • We didn't want the book to seem like an 'instruction manual' because otherwise it would take away from the story
  • We think a little struggle is good - once they see that they can't copy that exact image they need to think about how else that object could be designed differently or better with the blocks 
  • By seeing the 3D models next to the illustrations we were hoping kids would take that into their own worlds and improve their modeling skills (see something around the house, out of the window while in the car, or on the TV and model it with blocks)
Butterfly did get creative and was able to use other pieces to complete her structures.
I also like the last point Alex points out.  The illustrated picture on the left side of the page matches what to build on the right side of the page, which gets children thinking about how to build anything they see in their world out of shapes and blocks.

I love the Clean-up Helper they have inside of the box as well!

A clear diagram inside the box cover shows how to put away the blocks in three levels so they can be stored neatly once again.

I love this product, and think this would make great gifts to family members and friends too!  I love anything that brings children back to the basics that maximizes their thinking and problem solving skills with hands-on building activities.

Right now Larsen Toy Lab is having a Grand Opening Special!
15% off on all items with Free name engraving and Free limited edition block.
Just use the code 15GRAND at Larsen Toy Lab.

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