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SumBlox Building Blocks Set and SumBlox Educational Set Review by Audrey Tolle

P.O. Box 445
Paradise, UT 84328

I love math manipulatives and am always eager to try new ones to see if they will help my children understand math concepts more clearly. I have heard of Sumblox and was curious to see if they helped my daughter who is more of a spatial learner. The Sumblox are beautifully crafted wooden numbers in the shape of numerals 1-10. Each number is proportionally the size of its value. For example, the 3 is three times as tall as the 1 and the 10 is ten times as tall as the 1 and twice as tall as the 5.

The Building Block Set comes with 43 blocks and an activity card that has 2 game ideas (Tower of 10 and Bridges) and retails for $119.99. The Educational Set comes with 100 blocks and four teaching manuals with ideas and instructions for learning addition/subtraction, multiplication, fractions, and adding fractions. These are each 50+ pages. This set retails for $299.99. Early Childhood Activity Cards (sold separately for $29.99) include games to incorporate the blocks such as Tower of Ten, Bridge Race, Falling Towers, Numbers in Order, and Ladder Towers. The lessons book and activity cards are available for purchase a la carte if you purchase the smaller building block set and want the option to purchase these items.

When we first got the set, my kids saw that they were number blocks and immediately started stacking them and building with them trying to make towers. Within a few minutes, they had lined the numbers up numerically and realized that each were a different size. After a day or two of just using them as funny shaped building blocks, we experimented more with them as part of our math drilling. The one thing that threw us off at first with the SumBlox is that the number 1 block and the number 4 block have to lay on their side in order for their value to measure the way it should. Once we figured this out, it was no problem, but it did throw us off at first. As my fifth grader is learning fractions, this was a really fun manipulative to help cement the concepts in his head. This product is geared towards kids ages 2-11 and I would say that is an accurate assessment because you can teach upper elementary math concepts using these blocks even after they understand number recognition and addition/subtraction to ten.

Overall, this is a great set for kids. The blocks are well made and are fun even on their own. I wish we would have had this at the beginning of our homeschool journey. It is really neat to see that 3+3+3+1 or three “3” blocks and one “1” block equal one “10” block. This has helped my daughter who really struggles in math to be able to “see” how this works. It has also helped my older sons drill and practice mental math while building and creating something, which is always fun for them. The only downside to me is the price. In general, I think this price point is a little steep for many families for one (super fun) math manipulative. But if price isn’t an issue, then this is a great tool to add to your homeschooling toolbox.

-Product review by Audrey Tolle, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2017.