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What happens when a box of 200 brightly colored blocks shows up at a home where a 3-year-old and a 4-year-old boy reside? Well, at first said boys dump the whole thing on the floor and begin stacking and toppling miniature towers. Then they line them up and run their cars and trains along the "track." They find a large bowl in the kitchen and fill it with as many blocks as will fit. They play, fully occupied, for almost an hour.

But then what happens when those two little boys go down for an afternoon nap? Their 13-year-old, 11-year-old, 10-year-old, and 7-year-old siblings get hold of the blocks, and suddenly a town emerges out of the identically-shaped and sized pieces. Turrets and fences, moats and balconies are constructed. The Eiffel Tower is attempted. Arguments begin over who has more blocks until the oldest says, "Ummm, we're arguing over blocks."

But that's the thing about CitiBlocs. Although they seem innocent enough -- they are each 1" x 4 ½" x ¼" pieces of New Zealand pine -- they are very compelling. In their simplicity, there is opportunity. No boundaries. Just possibilities.

I could put quite the educational spin on CitiBlocs because they are that; children can improve their eye-hand coordination, explore their imaginations and see their creative ideas come to life, and develop an understanding of cause and effect. Problem solving, classification (our set came in red, pink, yellow, orange, and natural blocks), and critical thinking are all a part of the process of playing and building with CitiBlocs. But really? They're just fun to play with.

If your home has multiple ages like ours does, or if you're looking at toys with an eye toward the future and their longevity, it would be hard to do better than a set or two of CitiBlocs. I could see the wheels turning in the head of my teens, and I'm thinking there are some great ways to use these in our homeschool. From DNA models to construction replicas of the wonders of the world, the seemingly endless possibilities make CitiBlocs an excellent investment.

But of course, the littlest guys in our home are content for now to build their little toppling towers and train tracks. That's ok with me!

Product review by Kendra Fletcher, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, June 2011

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