Wondering what Smarcks are? They are the “World’s Smartest Building Blocks” because they are Smart Blocks. They talk, they sing, they entertain and they teach. The owner and creator of Smart Blocks, Scott Seligman, is a father of four young children and a mechanical engineer who decided to take the building blocks our kids love to a whole new level. He designed this set of blocks to teach colors, manners, nursery rhymes, ABC’s, Shapes, Basic Counting, memory skills, creative thinking and even math! Kids already love blocks, so why not incorporate puzzles into the play routine? Scott sent my family a set of these Talking Building Blocks and is also offering a Learning Set to one of my readers (that’s a $77 value)!
How Smarcks Work
The blocks with the cute little eyes and nose are the Smarcks. These are the blocks your kids will love to figure out.
They attach to each other and to a set of building blocks that have of different shapes and sizes with different patterns on each piece. The Smart Blocks have little pins inside that react differently when they are put on top of different blocks. This creates the puzzle. As you experiment with the blocks, you reveal different songs, nursery rhymes, letters or colors. There are batteries in the Smarcks that are replaceable. Ours have not yet run out and we play with these blocks a lot. These blocks can be used with Mega Blocks although they will not respond. I still love this for making huge towers and being able to use toys we already had. Each Smarck has a little brain that responds differently to different pieces but also to sequences. These create harder puzzles for children to play an entire nursery rhyme or song. You can also tickle your Smarcks and make them laugh. Each block has a ticklish spot that kids can find by experimenting with pressing down the pins inside in different combinations. Making the blocks laugh is always an accomplishment.
How to Play With Smarcks
We have had these blocks for a couple of months and still are nowhere near hearing everything they have to say. You can use the blocks simply experimentally and over time kids will use their memories to attach the blocks they want to hear a certain saying. My son Miles loves to hear the Orange Block say that it is Orange like a tiger. He has figured this tiny puzzle out and starts with this every time. He also knows the ticklish spot on this block and likes to giggle right along with it. All the kids LOVE to hear the nursery rhymes and songs. Even Violet, at 14 months old, can put two blocks together and bounce to the music.
Smarcks are made for ages 1 and up but even younger babies will like the sounds and colors as their siblings play.
The Smart Blocks for the youngest children are the Color and Manner Blocks. They each have cute sayings about what color they are and incorporate good behavior. For instance, the green block says “I am a block that’s green and I am never mean”. There are 7 color and manner blocks available in your standard rainbow plus pink.
The next level up includes the Nursery Rhyme Blocks. These are recommended for ages 2 and up but again, they are still fun for younger kids. These blocks play multiple different nursery rhymes sometimes all at once and sometimes line by line, depending on where you put them. They also play animal noises with the Old MacDonald song. This is a hit with the kids. Again, sometimes my kids want to experiment and see what they can figure out. At this level, there are puzzle guides available on the Talking Building Blocks website that give detailed picture guides to solve the puzzle. I really like this. Not only are the Smarcks building toys but they are also actually complex enough to help kids learn to follow directions. Both Sophia (4) and Miles (almost 3) are learning to copy the pictures to make the blocks play in a certain order. I think this is a wonderful skill for kids to learn. This is teaching them to identify a block as a drawing and attach that mental picture to a physical block and then merge those two concepts to complete the puzzle. It takes time and I can see them focusing, making mistakes and correcting themselves. Here is Sophia counting to figure out what piece she needs next.
The third level block is ABC’s, Shapes & Counting Blocks. This level is for ages 3 and up but I have found that all the 2 year olds love them even if they do not spell yet. Both Miles and Sophia love these blocks. The green counting block counts the sum of the blocks it is placed on. The yellow shape block knows 8 different shapes on the top of the blocks. The orange ABC block spells 26 words. No, we have not figured out how to hear all 26 yet. Exciting, right? Sometimes I sit there and try to find another word. Yeah, they are smarter than me. The counting blocks are meant to build a base for the final level, the Math Blocks.
The fourth level is the Music & Dancing Lights Blocks. Listed for ages 4 and up due to the difficulty of solving the final puzzle, they are hands down my family’s favorite blocks. They each play a portion of the Smarcks 15 verse song and they light up with the music. You don’t have to have the sequence to hear the song in separate pieces so all the kids adore them. Miles rocks out as soon as the block starts playing. We finally completed the puzzle with the directions using almost every one of the 70 blocks. It was hard and the kids loved moving the blocks around our tower to create the song!
The final level is the Math Blocks. These blocks are meant for children ages 5 and up. Sophia is loving them at age 4. They are not meant to teach literal addition and subtraction, but to talk about math and make it fun. I love that we are starting to talk about math and even sing about it with these blocks.
Smarcks are Still Blocks
At the end of the day, the kids love all the games and sounds but they still love building a huge tower just as much. The interaction just makes it more fun! One of our favorite things to do is build the tower a little loose and then push down and make all the blocks talk at the same time. It’s a wild sound and the kids think it is hilarious! The blocks are easy to build with and even the littlest hands can grasp and maneuver them.
One of my favorite things? The smart little blocks all fit right back in the bin they came from. No shoving or pushing or arranging needed. This means the kids can clean up by themselves!
It took a little time for the kids to start figuring out what the blocks can do so it took a little time for them to get really into them. While they play with the blocks by themselves all the time, they get a lot more out of them learning wise with a little grown up direction. As they learn, they need a lot less help. The blocks are fun and truly add a new level of learning to building. I love that they are fun for all ages and that all of my kids can safely play with them. It is obvious that this toy was made after testing with kids. The blocks talk in a sing song voice that kids like. None of them are scary or too loud. I think it is great that there is a level of difficulty with these blocks but that it does not prevent the kids from enjoying them. As I said, the blocks work when simply placed on another block, but they do special things as you figure out the puzzles and sequences. Overall I would recommend the Smart Blocks for home or for classroom play as they are both fun and educational. It’s no wonder Smart Blocks won a Dr. Toy Best Picks Award and a Parents’ Choice Award. They get a Mommy Words Wahoo too!
Where to Purchase
The Smart Blocks are available through the Talking Building Blocks site. The basic 70 block set with the blue talking block retails for $29.95. Each additional set of 3 blocks retails for $19.95. There are a bunch of great specials to start your set and save money.
One lucky Mommy Words reader is going to win the Learning Set of Smarcks (Smart Blocks). This includes the 70 piece building block set, the 6 remaining Color Blocks, the Counting, Shapes and ABC Block Set and the Math Block Set. This is a special set that retails for $77 and that is 30% off the individually priced items. This is a great set and will provide entertainment for kids of all ages!
You must be a Mommy Words reader to enter giveaways. It’s easy, simply join through Google Friend Connect on my sidebar or subscribe via RSS reader or Email and tell me you are one of my lovely readers . You can find the buttons at the top of the site or use the links I just provided. Then visit the Talking Building Blocks site and tell me one thing that the blocks say or do. You can listen to audio samples and read about each of the blocks on the site. Let your kids listen too. It’s fun!
1. Follow @mommywords on Twitter here and leave me your twitter name.
2. Follow @TalkingBlocks on twitter here.
4. Post about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to the post and get 3 entries! Just leave me the link in 3 comments.
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Giveaway Rules and Disclaimer: This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. It begins on April 1, 2011 and will end on April 14 , 2011 at 9 pm. One winner with a valid entry will be selected at random using the And The Winner Is plugin. The winner will be contacted via email if I have his or her email and must respond within 48 hours to claim. Otherwise, another eligible entry will be chosen. Good luck!