It may be difficult to find organic wood blocks for kids, but it's worth the search in the long run. Blocks are simple toys that can be enjoyed by any child old enough to grip a smooth surface.
Blocks Are Basic Toys
Since blocks are so basic, they tend to be inexpensive as toys go. Few people can't afford to have these simple items in their homes. Wood blocks are great educational toys because they allow the child to develop several important skills.
Some of the many areas of skill development are:
- Creative thinking
- Fine motor skills
- Problem solving
- Reading and math skills
- Strategy development
- Social skills
While it may seem odd to see reading and math skills listed, consider that the child will make patterns with the blocks. Reading and math both require pattern recognition skills. In fact, a study reported in the October 2007 issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine reported that children who play with blocks average 15% higher on reading scores later on.
Natural and Non-Toxic, Not Organic, Wood Blocks for Kids
While it may sound wonderful for something to be advertised as organic, in the case of wood blocks it is not always totally true. The blocks can be all natural and they can be non-toxic. They can even be sustainable, but they can't usually be certified organic.
Instead, look for terms like:
- All natural
- Made by hand
- Fair Trade
- Made in USA
- Made in America
Organic wood blocks for kids may be finished with organic flax seed oil, or some other natural finish. You can even get blocks that are just sanded with no finish at all. Always make sure that the packaging states that the blocks are non-toxic because small children may put blocks in their mouths.While these terms may not guarantee organic blocks, they will be more likely to be the most child safe, eco-friendly blocks available. Rock maple is the hardest wood used for blocks. It has a natural antimicrobial characteristic and is what many chefs prefer for both cutting boards and counter tops.
Playing with Wooden Blocks
You can just hand your child the blocks and watch him play if you like. A baby will have the block in his mouth in an instant, while a toddler may look at it carefully and try to make a stack if there is more than one. A preschooler will probably try to build a structure of some sort.
You can also interact with your child with the blocks. Challenge your baby to reach for the block, ask your toddler to stack a tower five blocks high, or suggest your preschooler create a wizard's castle. Stand by to lavish praise or offer assistance as the need arises.
Where to Find Organic Blocks
Unless you have a local boutique, it can be difficult to find organic blocks near your home. You can often find them much more readily on the Internet. Some places to try are:
Finding a set of smooth, organic blocks for kids can be exciting. There are many different types and manufacturers, so shop around until you find something that seems perfect for the child you are buying them for. Wooden blocks are a natural part of Waldorf education and fit will in any other classroom as well.
Blocks will be a favorite toy of most children and can be handed down from generation to generation. Keep in mind that if you are at all handy with a saw you can make your own wooden blocks. Just be sure to sand them smooth and finish them with a food grade oil (like olive oil, mineral oil, etc.) or an organic finish or dye.