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January 11, 2011

Magnetic Pattern Blocks

Recently I have seen numerous blogs hosting reviews of items from CSN Stores. So of course I had to check out what the big deal was! I contacted CSN stores, who are always looking for new people to review for them (email me if interested), and was given the opportunity to select an item(s) to review. I was offered a $20 code to use towards my purchase. The amounts vary blog to blog. So after getting confirmed as a reviewer I headed over to their site to look around and see what I wanted. They have over 200 stores so its a little overwhelming. They have all the items they carry split up nicely into different categories and then those categories are each an individual store. I was able to find quite a few different things that I was interested in trying out so what I do when I'm shopping online is add the items to my cart so that I don't have to try and remember what I was interested in getting. This typically works, however, non of the different 'stores' that CSN stores have are linked together with their shopping carts. I had items from their art stuff, baby stuff, furniture all in my cart and then when I went to go and look in my cart there were only a couple of the items. Turns out I was out of luck with remembering what I had put into my cart!

I did have a few items in my cart from the store I was already in and one of the items was a Melissa and Doug Magnetic Pattern Block Set. I also was looking at their Cloth Diaper selection and wasn't really interested in trying any of the (few) diapers they carried (sorry no diaper reviews)! So I ended up with this Pattern Block set and was able to get it really quick, just in time to wrap and stick under the Christmas tree for my son to open. He totally looks thrilled don't you think?
I just had to put that above picture in. His face makes me laugh because I think what he really wanted was either trains or tractors. This set comes in a nice plastic reusable holder. It has a magnetic back that is framed so that you can slide the different design pages in and out easily. You can also fit all the design pages inside of the board for when you are not using this.
The first picture we HAD to make was the train. The pieces are fairly nice, a little chintzy but not bad. I was a little surprised at this because Melissa and Doug(M&D) typically has excellent quality items. If you look at the crazy side ways picture below (thanks blogger) you can see the different pieces. The 'white' pieces, which are actually just wood are not the same size at all. Some are longer and skinnier and some are shorter and fatter which make it sort of hard to fit the pieces together nicely. Most of the other pieces are pretty accurate as far as sizing goes.
The pieces also are not as I expected because I thought the colors would have been painted on (again because its a M&D product). However the colors are actually a paper/sticker that is put on top of the wood. On the other side of the piece is a nice flat magnet. I don't think the magnet part of this is poor quality at all. I don't think if played with correctly, that there would be any possibility of them falling off.

As I had mentioned earlier, the block set comes in a nice little carrying case. It has rope handles and two compartments. The front side has a three snap pocket that the board and pages fit into. It a little bit of a snug fit to get it close but I like it.
The back side of the case has a nice strong double zipper to keep all the magnetic pieces in. I was surprised at how many pieces came with this set. There is definetly plenty of pieces to go around if you have multiple children playing with this (but only one magnetic board).
This came with 6 pages that have pictures on both sides with a good variety of images. Some are a little harder than others which is nice to have the different skill levels.
I like the fish one. This shows the nice fit of the page into the framed board. The frame is also handy if you were wanting to take this on a road trip. You can set pieces in the corner and not have to worry about them getting pushed off the edge. They frame and magnetic board will hold them on. Although I wouldn't recommend letting younger children play with this themselves because of the smaller pieces as well as the magnets.Here is a picture of the person my son made. He is only 2 1/4 years old and I think he did a pretty good job matching up the pieces to the picture and placing them on the spot well. I didn't tell him where any of the pieces went. I just handed him pieces one at a time and he took it from there!

My thoughts on this product:
-Over all I really enjoy this toy/game/puzzle. I remember doing these when I was little so to have one to use with my kids is great. Its an awesome learning tool as well. Not only can we learn how to match, but we are learning shape names, colors, how to count, as well as small manipulative skills by using our hands to place the little pieces on the correct spots. Over all this is an excellent product to have.
-I was a little disappointed in the quality as it is a Mellisa and Doug product but I don't think it will effect the use of this at all.
-The magnetic factor is a major plus. Its great for younger kids how are still working on hand control and occasionally bump into things and other pieces. They stay put!


I'm That Mommy said...

Great review. Can you stick other magnets on the board? I'm just wondering if it can be used in other ways.

Kristina said...

I would think so. I haven't tried it yet though. That is a good idea, I have a bunch of letter magnets and we usually do them on a cookie sheet but this would be way better because that would be one less dish for me to wash! haha

Tina Deanette Gower said...

They had this at my sons pedi office! He loved them!!!

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