Tuesday, April 24, 2012

GoodWood Deconstructs Directions and Let's Children Play

I think blocks are a fabulous way to watch a kid become creative. Blocks seem so simple, but when I child uses them they become everything from chairs, forts and castle to train stations and even zoos! Our favorite new blocks are from Aroundthesquare. Aroundthesquare created GoodWood Deconstruction Blocks.
The beautiful, precisely crafted blocks are intentionally packaged without instructions or other prescriptive guidelines, in order to cultivate open-ended exploration. Unlike most modern toys, this puts the child in complete control of the child-toy relationship, and encourages them to come up with their own ways to play. The different shapes allow for building outwards in every dimension, and the creation of structures which are both architecturally and geometrically interesting, as well as visually pleasing. They are suitable as a construction toy for children, and increasingly popular as a desk toy for design-minded adults as well.
There are currently seven original designs. Each set can be used alone or with another set for even more fun. We have Mulch Heap and Mulch Heap H (love the names!). All sets come with pieces in six vibrant colors (water-based acrylic paint), made from forest-friendly rubber wood, and CPSIA tested. Care has been taken to ensure that the product reflects responsible social and environmental decision-making. Aroundthesquare toys have won numerous awards which include Parents' Choice Gold Award, Creative Child Magazine's Toy of the Year, and Dr. Toy's Best Green Product Award. Each set of the GoodWood Deconstruction Blocks comes with a paper showing the process from tree to blocks which opens up a nice dialogue with children. They use sustainable practices. One of my favorite things about Aroundthesquare is they donate to orphanages and nurseries in developing countries. They recently donated 800 sets to nursery schools in Egypt. They are currently working on building up another side of the business by providing the blocks at a discounted cost to non-profit groups and charities which are looking for innovative fundraising ideas. I myself have spoken to my daughter's school about selling the GoodWood Blocks instead of silly items usually sold. Aroundthesquare is all about children and their motto is "play today: build tomorrow."
Children of all ages need time to free-play and spread their creative wings. From the minute we opened our set, my daughter combined them in ways I would never have thought of. Mulch Heap H became chairs for small dolls and then she created towers. A whole afternoon was spent building on our ottoman then seeing how big of a vibration the ottoman would need to knock down the blocks and start again. Pretty scientific if I do say so myself.
I really love the philosophy of creative play and I recommend these blocks to everyone. Aroundthesquare is doing something pretty special and with theGoodWood Deconstruction Blocks, they are reaching new heights!

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