A set of wooden blocks will be a toy that kids will love to play with often. They need to have enough pieces and appropriate sizes and shapes for their age. If the wooden block set you purchase has too few pieces, a child may become bored or disinterested. It may limit their creativity and be frustrating for them. You also need to consider that blocks are often a social activity, especially when they get to about age 5. A good wooden block set has enough blocks so they can share with friends and build with their limitless imaginations. On the other hand, too many blocks may overwhelm a young child. There may be too many to sort through and find the right size or shape quickly. They may not want to get them out because it is too big of a chore to clean them up when they are done. As a child gets older they can handle a larger number of pieces.
Appropriate Number Of Blocks For Different Ages
12-18 Months 15-25 pieces
19-23 Months- 20-40 pieces
2 Years- 20-40 pieces
3 Years- 60-80 pieces
4-5 Years- 80-100 pieces
6-8 Years- 80-100 pieces or more
9-12 years- 100+ pieces
Also important is the size and shapes of blocks. A child's ability to manipulate larger and more complex shaped blocks increases with age. A young child will need few shapes other than squares and rectangles. An older child, however, will want much more variety in size and length of blocks along with more complex shapes. Make sure you know the size of the wooden blocks before you purchase them. If purchasing on-line, pictures can be deceiving and size is often hard to determine.
Appropriate Sizes & Shapes Of Blocks For Different Ages
12-18 Months- Square & rectangular blocks, 2-4 inches
19-23 Months- Square & rectangular blocks, 2-4 inches
2 Years- Square & rectangular blocks, 2-4 inches and a few triangles and cylinders
3 Years- Square, rectangular blocks, 2-3 inches base unit and then double and quadruples multiples of base unit, also small #s of triangles, wedges, cylinders
4-5 Years- Square, rectangular blocks in variety of sizes and lengths, triangles, wedges, cylinders, half-rounds, arches
6-8 Years- Squares, rectangular blocks in many lengths and sizes, longer and bigger blocks are enjoyed, a larger # of triangles, wedges, cylinders, half-rounds, arches and other geometric shapes
9-12 Years- Square, rectangular blocks in many lengths and sizes, triangles, wedges, cylinders, half-rounds, arches and other geometric shapes. Also complex shapes like double arches, cones, and finials
When considering the contents of a wooden block set also remember your child will grow and their wooden block set should grow with them. You may want to consider buying a set that is a little bit more advanced than what is appropriate for your child's current age. You can also purchase one that can be easily added to in the future. Also consider how many children will typically be playing with the blocks. If you usually would have 2 or 3 children building together, a larger number of blocks would be needed. If you have several children in your family plan to buy a set appropriate for the oldest child.
Next consider how you will be storing your child's building blocks. A wooden block set with many pieces requires a good way to store them. There are many options available. Many block sets come in a wooden crate or box. They match the look of the wooden blocks and often have handles to aid in carrying them easily. If you need more than one crate to contain your number of blocks, they are usually stack-able. They don't typically have lids and sometimes you must stack the blocks in a certain order to make them all fit. This can be frustrating to younger children and moms. Because they are wooden they are also often quite expensive.
Some people prefer to store their wooden blocks in a storage shelf unit. These usually have separate compartments in the shelving so that children can sort the blocks by shape and size. These are great for keeping the blocks well-organized. Kids also learn during clean up by sorting the blocks. A storage shelf can be especially helpful if you have a very large number of blocks. They are typically made of sturdy wood and are therefore heavy, take up a bigger space and are quite pricey.
A storage container of some type is also a great way to store wooden building blocks. A plastic bin or a bucket has the advantage of quick clean up because the child can just toss in the blocks without having to order or stack them. Look for options that have a handle for easy carrying rather than having to carry a large bulky container. This is usually an affordable option for storing your blocks.
The quality of your blocks is also very important. When assessing the quality of wooden building blocks look for a consistent size, smooth surfaces and rounded, non sharp edges. Look for products that have been safety tested according to US standards. In the US wooden blocks are tested for flammability, drop and bite tested for breakage, tested for small parts and choking hazards. If the blocks are painted or have any type of coating they are tested for any harmful chemicals. A wooden block set will last for many years and purchasing a high quality set will be a good family investment.
Wooden blocks can be made from a variety of species of wood. Blocks from hardwoods are more durable, heavier and more expensive. Maple blocks are the premium but also carry the premium price tag. Blocks are also made from lighter more affordable hardwoods, these are also quite durable but much more affordable. Other blocks are made from soft woods like pine or fir. These would be lighter but would easily become marred although kids would still love playing with them and will get the same educational benefit. Some imported blocks are made from rubber wood, a hardwood tree that produces latex. These are usually a more economical block but are of good quality.
Blocks for kids are a great toy. Kids of all ages enjoy them. They are natural and educational. They will last for many years. So if you are looking to buy a wooden block set look for appropriate contents, a good storage system and the highest quality wooden blocks that will fit within your budget.