“Blocks are blocks.”
I said this just recently on Instagram but if you haven’t seen that yet, there it is.
There are and will be many options in the market from cheap sets to the pricey ones. Believe me when I honestly say, any blocks is better than none.
Having blocks in your toolkit of open-ended toys (or your kid’s entire toy collection, even) has many benefits. No matter the brand or type of blocks you have, they all serve the purpose of encouraging our children to build, create, imagine, design, engineer, experiment and solve problems, among others.
However, if I were to recommend only one set of blocks in particular, I’d go for Grimm’s Large Stepped Pyramid (LSP).
Large set vs small set
Made by renowned German toy manufacturer, Grimm’s Spiel & Holz Design, both the large and small set comes with 100 building blocks of various sizes handcrafted from lime wood and painted in beautiful, bright non-toxic water-based stains and natural plant-based oils. You’re sure of your child’s safety during play.
The large set has blocks ranging from 4 cm to 20 cm in length, while the small set is from 2 cm to 10 cm.
Firstly, I think if I were to buy small blocks, it would be more practical to get the cheaper ones because they are very much available in the market. You can also get the plain wood ones because they’ll be easy to colour, too.
Secondly, the size of the small ones is not appropriate for children under the age of one or those who are still mouthing to play with. They’re small enough to be held in the middle of the palm or even by your pointing finger and thumb. Those can be choking hazards.
So why Grimm’s LSP? Let me count the ways.
Overall, it ticks all the boxes for being a set of good quality blocks.
Going back to why we chose to invest in the LSP, besides quality, here are 5 reasons why I believe it’s worth the hefty price tag:
I like that the blocks are big and chunky. At 20 cm length for the largest piece, they’re larger than most other blocks in the market. The smallest piece is suitable and safe for even mouthing babies and younger toddlers.
For bigger children, they might be able to hold some pieces easily with one hand. For the younger ones, they will hold it better with two hands or push the block from one place to another. Both can practice their grip. Simply building with these chunkier blocks, children would be developing their physical and motor skills.
The finish of the blocks is raw and unvarnished, which makes it really easy for children to build taller structures. The reason why I avoid investing in varnished blocks like those you might find in Kmart here in Australia is that because of its smoother texture, they often slip and slide off as you attempt to build higher.
This therefore puts a limit on creativity and imagination. For young children who are still developing their skills in engaging in constructive play, it also often leads to a lot of frustration in the process of building.
Offering our children blocks for play that will set them up for success in terms of creative building helps to develop their self-confidence, resilience and the desire to build and create more frequently which will further develop and enhance their learning and development.
I like that the colours are of different shades & gradients. It’s such a great resource for colour exploration, cognitive development & language development.
For instance green. Green comes in four different shades. I use this to explore the concept of symmetry through games like if I use one shade and size on this side, she must match the same shade and size on the other side.
When attempting to sort and match pom-poms to these blocks, for instance, my girls can enrich their vocabulary by making use of descriptive words, engage in debate, and develop their critical thinking skills.
But the main reason why this is my top choice for a building block set is that these blocks are all mathematically proportional to each other. There are five sizes in the set, each size up proportionately longer than the previous, and we call them one-piece to five-piece blocks.
Their proportionality means that they are such a handy resource for visualising mathematical concepts like number relationships and number representations. Simply through playing with these blocks, my children have learnt to accurately identify and assign the correct number value to the block.
Additionally, imagine them effortlessly learning more advanced math concepts like multiplication, fractions or parts of a whole. My 4yo, for instance, learned that 2 three-piece blocks make a six or that 4 two-piece blocks make an eight, just whilst she was building steps for a staircase. Can you see how this increases the longevity and lifespan of these blocks and is suitable for a child even beyond the preschool age?
Finally, I love that there is no one way of using these blocks and it is such a versatile resource for adding to a play space, especially if you have got multiple aged children to cater to like I do.
My children have used these blocks to build towers, houses, roads and bridges.
They’ve built long structures and they’ve built high structures.
They’ve used them as loose parts and they’ve used them as a puzzle when resetting the set of blocks after play.
With 3 children who are all so different in terms of their interests & developmental stages, it’s a set of blocks that allows each of my children to engage with it in their own way – stacking, balancing, sorting, matching, posting, building, creating, designing as well as to learn about math & numeracy in a visually hands-on way.
In a nutshell, is investing in a Grimms Large Stepped Pyramid necessary for your child to engage in meaningful play and learning?
The answer is no.
But is it worth investing in?
A Grimms Large Stepped Pyramid is an investment no doubt about it, but I firmly believe in being intentional with toy purchases, and the value of investing in quality toys that last, toys that grow with children and can be played with no matter the age.
I love that a baby, toddler, preschooler and even an adult can get equal enjoyment and usage out of it and it will be loved for years to come.
So tell me, do you have building blocks at home? If you don’t have any yet and now knowing all the reasons I have mentioned in this blog, what are your thoughts about the LSP? Do you find value in them or do you think they’re overrated? Let me know in the comments below 🙂
Note: The blocks featured in this blog post were purchased from Barefoot Toys, an online shop based in Singapore.
You can also order them online from The Creative Toy Shop
Love this blog post, Jules! I bought my own large set a couple months ago and am in love with them! My 4 year old’s favourite way to play with with them is to set up “mazes”. He gets a lot of joy out of making a track and then going back and adding in some “dead ends”. The other nice thing is that I actually enjoy playing with these too which means 1) I willingly play more often and 2) I’m more fun because I’m enjoying it. I actually don’t make my son clean it up at the end of the day because I really enjoy doing it by myself after he’s in bed… it’s sort of meditative to build the pyramid 😳 And lastly I love that these are safe and also inviting to my 8 month old baby as well. She loves to bang them together and knock down towers we build for her.
Nice post as I am looking to invest in the LSP too 🙂
I wonder if you would say LSP can replace a few things from your previous top 10 open ended toys?