Thursday, October 17, 2019

Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks

* This post may contain affiliate links.

Anyone who knows our family knows that we thrive on hands-on learning in our house. I am a huge supporter of learning through play, and this review is perfect for our style of education. I know I review a lot of curricula, but when people ask me what to use specifically with their preschool and kindergarten-aged kids, I always tell them to let them play! The benefits of playing--especially during the younger years--are so vital. You know the old proverb about teaching a man to fish? That doesn't apply to only adults. Let kids learn by doing.  

Brain Blox is a family-owned company with that same belief. Their mission is to create products that encourage intentional and meaningful play as it nurtures brain development and confidence. I already explained about their Fun Family Chess, a new version that teaches the game with a gentle new approach but can also be used as a traditional set. Today, I'm talking about their Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks.

We first played with building planks like these at a science center years ago. My kids were quickly drawn to them as the planks appeal to their engineering minds. They spend time every day building something--anything--with Lego bricks and other building mediums. One thing that's different about these planks though is that there is no snapping of pieces together. Like blocks, these are used simply by stacking and are held in place by gravity and friction.

Another thing that's different about these planks is that the pieces are all the same shape ad size. Each building plank is approximately 4.75" x 1" x .25" solid New Zealand pine. They are precision-cut, chemical-free, and non-toxic, making them a perfect option for kids.  All of the edges on our planks are smooth with no worries of producing splinters. A red, canvas, drawstring backpack-style bag is included to store the pieces.

The building possibilities with these are endless! Truly, if you can think it, you can build it. I have been impressed with the creations my kids have made: pirate ship, table and chairs, army tank, houses, bridges, and countless towers of various designs, to name a few. Some of the builds were born out of their imaginations, but others were inspired by the Ideas Booklet that is included with the set. It features 15 building ideas by showing a pictures, how many planks are needed, and a tip or challenge for each one. No other instructions are given, requiring the user to depend on visual cues and thinking skills.

You can find many more suggestions in the free Idea Cards download. There are over 70 picture cards that cover 8 levels of difficulty starting with simple two-dimensional designs to complicated three-dimensional creations. Even my 4-year-old is doing well with the higher levels.

The company is currently creating free curriculum instructions that focus on reading, math, physics, and more that you can use intentionally in your lesson plans. The activities teach concepts such as the ability to perceive a 3D rendering from a 2D image, manipulation of spatial information, linear thinking, fine motor skills, and more. If you're just looking for a quick learning activity to sharpen thinking skills, there is a collection of brain puzzles using the planks that include the directions, hints, and the solution. These are one of my personal favorite aspects of the set. I love watching my kids use their brains to figure out the puzzles!  

If you're looking for even more ideas, Brain Blox has also put together a a World eBook filled with additional design ideas from walls and fences to planes, trains, and automobiles and many other things. There are also suggestions for creating characters on the planks and the collection of brain puzzles. They offer tons of options to ignite creativity and learning. 

To say that my kids (ages 13, 11, 9, 7, 4) like these is an understatement. As soon as one of them dumps the bag out on the floor, the others are right there grabbing planks to start building. We have the 200-piece set, but we've already been eyeing the larger one. After all, Christmas will be here soon, and adding more of these fun and versatile building planks would be a fantastic gift. My kids love to show off their creations and enjoy building when their friends come over. Their current obsession is using the planks for contraptions for a Rube Goldberg machine. We've been having so much fun applying engineering, problem-solving, critical thinking, and cause-and-effect skills.

The Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks are a fantastic resource for everyone! Whether you're looking for intentional play, specific learning, or just a relaxing activity, these building planks are perfect. They are well-made, versatile, and loved by all.

You can connect with Brain Blox on the following social media sites:

Make sure to head over to the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to see more amazing creations using Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks.

Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks {Brain Blox Reviews}

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affiliate commission. Regardless, I recommend products or services that I have used personally and all the text and
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1 comment:

  1. Love watching the kids create with these blocks. Such imagination.