First up is Block Buddies from MindWare. This is a well-crafted set of blocks with a twist...building challenge cards! These blocks are great for the youngest critical thinkers. There are four levels of challenge cards. Kids can pick a card and then model the picture they see. Block Buddies comes with 21 blocks and 76 challenge cards (at least my older version does!) and is for ages 3 and up.
We broke out ours a couple weeks ago and gave it another whirl. Turns out Block Buddies are way too easy for 9 year olds! My daughter found it fun to play around with, but was definitely not challenged. And that's ok. She did love them when she was little. I think we've had our copy since she was 4 years old. What's great about Block Buddies is that it is something that younger kids CAN do.
The blocks are well made. Ours have suffered a few years of use and only have some minor paint chipping on the edges. The colors are fun, and there are a nice variety of shapes.
Level 1 cards use just a few blocks and are the easiest to build. Level 4 incorporates many more blocks into the designs with more difficult pictures to create. It looks like the cards in the newer version might be bigger (not sure, but it looks like it on their website) which would be nice for small hands. The newer cards also have the names of the pictures on them, like this...
I like that added feature. Kids will be getting some reading/word recognition practice in too!
Our version comes with this instruction card. It lists some other ways that Block Buddies can be used, like sorting by color or shape and creating three dimensional structures.
Block Buddies is a great learning toy. Check out the MindWare website. They have a little video about the blocks which is very cute.
Next up is Hello Sunshine! Man, I really wished I had little kids when I saw this today!
ThinkFun. And here's how to play...
I totally snagged these images from their website. I don't actually own this myself...my kids are (sadly) too big for this game. But I was totally won over by their video introducing Hello Sunshine. You'll have to go to their website and click on the "Videos" tab to watch it. The kids in the video are just the sweetest, and they make me want a little Sunshine for myself too!
Hope you find this information helpful and have a "Sunny" day!