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Polyblox Totems Set Review by Wendi KitsteinerWendi Kitsteiner
DBA Polyblox Totems
PO Box 4267
Winter Park, FL 32793-4267
It is always fun to write a review for a product that you do not just like but that you truly love. And the Polyblox Totems Set is exactly that: an incredibly awesome product that I truly think all families of young children will find an incredible inclusion to their learning toy library. And please note that this is not just for homeschool families! I think families with a child anywhere from 18 months to 7 years of age can have fun with these Totems and also with the iPAD app that goes along with them.
I have four children ranging in ages from 4-9. I used this with my two daughters who are four and six. The Polyblox set comes with 14 Totem poles made out of solid wood. Each Totem has four sides, and each side is divided into six squares. This means that there are a total of 24 learning squares and 25 if you count the shape included on the bottom of each Totem. These tactile “toys” integrate:
- Upper case letters
- Lower case letters
- A picture that starts with that letter
- The Braille symbol for that letter
- The sign language (ASL) hand symbol for that letter
- The number that matches that letter’s sequence in the alphabet
So what can you do with these Totems? A handout inside the Polyblox box includes some great ideas including:
- A list of 26 different words (among many others) that you can spell using the Totems.
- Ideas for parent-led activities like discussing facts about animals found on the Totems.
- Encouragement to discuss the difference between learning differences with Braille and Sign Language
- And much more!
So what did we do with these Totems?
- My four-year-old liked to build with the blocks. She liked to line them all up and look at the pictures on them. After she had them all lined up, I would ask her to find a certain letter or number. I would ask her to help me spell her name. We would discuss the numbers, and she helped me put them in order. I would ask her to find a certain shape or to find all the letters that were in color (vowels.)
- My six-year-old was able to do more complicated things with the Totems. She spent time really trying to spell words herself. She asked me a lot of questions about Braille and sign language, and we discussed in detail the differences between these different forms of communication. We went over vowels and consonants and the differences between them. She tried to put the letters and numbers in order or in reverse order. We also used them to discuss odds and evens.
However, while the totems themselves are GREAT fun, even more fun is the iPAD app that goes along with the product. There are quite a few fun activities that you can do on the app, but there is one specific game that my kids and I just thought was amazing. The parent types in a word that the child would like to spell. The shapes then pop up on the screen, telling the child which Totem shapes to find to spell that particular word. My older daughter could even type in her own word. She had so much fun with this and would ask to do it again and again. My younger daughter could also find the shapes, but she needed more guidance in putting the letters in order to find the word I chose.
Seriously, I don’t feel like I have enough space in one small article to rave about the Polyblox Totems Set enough. I encourage you to visit their website for yourself! You will NOT be disappointed!
-Product review by Wendi Kitsteiner, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October, 2017