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Bloco Animalia Tropical Forest Animals Review by Sheila Quach

Bloco Marine Creatures
Bloco Toys, Inc.
P.O. Box 48618
Outremont, Québec
H2V 4T8

All of my children have always enjoyed building and tinkering with Legos and blocks. We have incorporated design and construction into our homeschool for years. Just a few weeks ago I was introduced to Bloco Toys and their amazing educational foam building sets. We were able to use the Tropical Rainforest Animals and Marine Creatures kits.

Let me tell you why these are simply more than just a quick craft. You can use these in your homeschool for educational fun that will capture even reluctant learners. Each set we tried was for ages 5-10 and had between 220 and 235 pieces. The direction manual makes these educational with the actual kit themes and the fun facts and information in it. I appreciate that the boxes are pretty sturdy with a hinge lid for easy creating and storage when not in use. We decided to use these while reading short books matching the themes of the rainforest and sea life. We enjoy a very open ended educational style, so we would write questions in our notebooks and then Kaden would build a specific animal while I read to him. Later from the books we read and the information provided in the kit we tried to answer the questions we came up with in the beginning. Each build took anywhere from 20-30 minutes. And he was able to complete them independently for the most part.

Kaden has some motor skill challenges when manipulating small pieced or fitting things together, so I was pleased at the ease he had while building. I think these would make wonderful gifts and additions to any homeschool, especially with children with special needs.

Let me go into the actual product a minute, having a special needs child I’m always looking at quality and durability of the toys we use. The foam was thick and sturdy, yet pleasant to the touch. I could see this being rebuilt repeatedly for many years. Our foam had a slight smell, but it was not off putting to Kaden at all and he commented on the textures and how nice it was to have a smooth and textured side. Even the little plastic connectors have softness to them. Everything is provided in these kits, the instructions are all in vibrant colored pictures, no words…so great for visual learners. I also appreciated that each step shows the correct pieces needed to accomplish each step. Alongside each step you find all the information regarding what you are building in English, French, and Spanish. For instance we learned that the black panther can carry prey 3 times their weight up a tree with no problem, sloths have four stomachs and how to tell the difference between caimans and crocodiles. There is so much more I could share that we learned from the Tropical Rainforest Animals kit, but I also wanted to share some of the Marine Creatures set too. We had amazing fun building a hammer head shark and learned that their unique body shape makes it easier to hunt their favorite food…stingrays. Did you know that piranhas make a barking sound? We were also shocked to learn that an octopus is so smart it can literally find its way through a maze and quickly solve complex problems.

Overall, this has been one of those things I can’t believe we have lived without. They would be great to bring on trips, camping or homeschool groups. We even needed to clean a few after a sticky snack and they wiped up fast with a damp cloth. These are a great addition for the classroom, to give as a gift, or even to have a little creative time of your own after the kids have gone to bed.

-Product review by Sheila Quach, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December, 2018