wish list - Building blocks
Written by Oryx
These children’s blocks provide a more sensory connection than standard wooden models. The 10-block set comes in vivid colours, adorned with hand-sculpted relief pictures of animals and numbers to enhance touch, while the squeezable blocks make sounds for auditory sensation and, with no BPA, they’re chewable, too. They also float, making them perfect tub toys for little ones.
The Minecraft online universe has spawned a line of LEGO toys that enable users to bring their virtual Minecraft world to life. Selected by LEGO CUUSOO members – essentially a group of LEGO users that propose LEGO ideas – this 400-piece build features a cool design with lots of 1x1 LEGO tiles and two buildable Micromob characters: Steve and Creeper.
These magnetic blocks are snapped together with no wires and no programming. They can drive around on a tabletop, respond to light, sound, and temperature, and have surprisingly lifelike behaviour. This behaviour emerges not from programming, but from different equipment in each block that yields different default behaviours: Sense blocks, Action blocks, and Think blocks give each robot its own personality.
Showcased at a TED event in 2010, each Sifteo cube packs a clickable, full colour LCD display, a variety of motion sensors and a rechargeable battery into a sturdy 3.8cm block. Connecting wirelessly to a computer that runs gaming software called SiftRunner, the cubes know where the other cubes are and interact with each other, and the user, for a series of enthralling brain-testing games.
US$149 (starter pack)
Polish toy company COBI has spent the past 25 years as an alternative to LEGO, providing different sets under the same fundamental building block paradigm. COBI has focused on a military theme, but has recently branched out and now includes a limited edition set honouring the 100th anniversary of the Titanic.
Price varies based on model set.