Open-ended building fun: Guidecraft’s Interlox

Guidecraft's Interlox

I’m big on things that you can put out on the family coffee table that everyone will enjoy.  Interlox from Guidecraft is just that kind of toy. If you were in a classroom in the 70s, you probably played with something that looked very similar.  The Interlox are pleasingly colorful plastic pieces that have notches on all sides- providing builders with an open-ended building opportunity.  They connect with relative ease- making this a good choice for 4s and up. While many kids are happy to follow directions for building LEGO or KNEX models, there’s something to be said about building whatever you heart dictates. There’s room here for trial and error.  For younger kids, this can start as a parent/child project–but chances are  your kids will be building independently before you know it. The 96 piece set gives you enough pieces to really make something fun.  We’re giving this set an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award. For the review of this toy and other building sets, visit

Best Green Toy of the Week: Citiblocs (Addictive on the coffee table)

Sometimes we get toys that are marketed to kids and yet we find that almost every grown-up that comes near them  just starts playing with them.  Since playing is good at any age, I feel it’s very important to write about these types of products.  You may remember that the magnetic building sets that burst onto the market several years ago had that appeal – making them a great choice to just have  on the coffee table for some open-ended play time for anyone so inclined. Research also indicates that type of activity for adults is great for keeping those brain neurons firing.

This year’s winner in this category is Citiblocs by Citiblocs.  At first you might think a box of equally- sized precision cut wooden pieces wouldn’t be that enthralling – at any age…but once you get building, it’s just fun to see how many different variations you can make.  The pieces are very smooth and are made of Radiata Pine from certified renewable forests in New Zealand – making them not only fun, but onto our Green Toy list as well.

Each set comes with ideas for building…they are marked 3 & up, we’d say more like 5 & up and & up and & up!

One of our tester moms (an architect) — LOVED this product.  Somehow we knew she would.

A box of rocks, really

It was close enough to April 1st when I opened this box– so I figured maybe it was an April Fool’s Joke.  Maybe it was for a movie promotion. But no, it really is a box (or really a canister) of rocks.  The product name is Stonees from a company named Zabazoo.  It comes with 50 Canadian rocks (smaller than a walnut in squarish and triangularish shapes) that have been painted. I’m all for open-ended play–but this really seems to push the envelope.  Are they green because they’re rocks? Does the paint negate their greenishness? Pet Rocks revisited?  Thoughts? Comments?