Thursday, December 18, 2008

Toy review: Parents Architecture ABC Blocks

It's rare that I get to review a toy for Baby A instead of my much more swag-spoiled 4 year old, but Team Mom hooked me up with these new soft building blocks from Parents, maker/licenser of some of my favorite early childhood toys.

We've gotten nearly 4 years' worth of play from our "Baby iPod" and Parents cell phone.

Will the ABC blocks enjoy such longevity? Well, blocks are a playroom staple for a reason. Each block features a letter from the alphabet and a relief image of an animal starting with that letter. Baby A couldn't care less, at least at this point. What she does care about, aside from knocking down block towers, is their soft, mouthable texture. Typically soft plastic toys send me into a panic, but since these are phalate-free, she can chew on them to her heart's content.

Back to the block towers. It's important to mention that these blocks stack up easily, so it's not too frustrating for a 16-month-old architect to build a tower. In fact, I'd rank their ease of stackability far above traditional wooden blocks, but not quite up there with the very clingy SoftBlocks from MoMA.

Here's an important note: When you're finished building and destroying your masterpieces, do not ask your child to return the Parents ABC blocks into the zipper bag in which they came. Fitting them in requires at least a semester of geometry, so dump them into a toy box tray and save yourself the headache. And if you don't have the IKEA TROFAST toy storage system, get it.