This month, the boys and I have been super excited to review and test out a fab new block on the street, SumBlox! These blocks are seriously clever, beautifully made of heirloom beechwood and are not only fun but they help teach numbers and mathematical concepts too. Winning for the parents!
These gorgeous blocks started life as a Kickstarter campaign, raising above their target of $40,000 USD and being successfully funded on the 26th October 2014 with 396 backers raising $50,268 USD. A phenomenal achievement and I adore that less than 2 years later, these blocks are now being sold throughout the world as a brilliant educational wooden toy. Another successful Kickstarter campaign that sees people power help fund brilliantly designed products!
Developed by a maths tutor trying to continually spark interest in his new elementary student who had fallen behind due to changing schools. He even looked to technology with different maths apps but found after 10 minutes his student Elijah was no longer engaged. What developed was going back to the basics, and designing a tool or product to teach children maths in an engaging and fun way outside of a textbook. To help kids to visualise a maths problem but not only visualise but be able to tacitly engage with it using wooden blocks, and so SumBlox was born!
With J now at school, and H still slowly learning his ABC’s and 123’s I thought it was best to start SumBlox out on Hudson who has just turned 4.
We pulled out all the blocks, which are large and beautifully crafted from solid hardwood beechwood and we started to familiarise ourselves with our numbers 1 to 10.
We lined them up from 1 to 10, we stacked them and made gorgeous wooden block creations out of the activity page provided, but in the process, I was continually repeating the numbers that he had in his hand or mine. Without him realising it he was immersing himself in the world of numbers but having a lot of fun in the process.
Then we started on some simple maths sums together and this is where SumBlox’s true genius shines!
“With SumBlox, the height of each number block corresponds to its value.”
For example I picked the number 5 and we went through the different ways to add up to 5, 2 +3, 4+1, 3+2 etc. Each time we stacked the blocks together we realised they equalled the height of 5 – block. This takes learning to a whole new level and allows kids to teach themselves without the assistance of a parent or teacher to check whether they have the answer correct. It gives them confidence to know that they have indeed got the sum correct because the blocks are all the same height.
Possibly the only thing I found slightly confusing as did my children, was that to get the right number blocks to stack up for the 8-block, you have to turn the 4 on its side as you can see in the image below. But it is only for getting the sum of 8.
After having a quick look at the activity leaflet that comes with the set, we then diverged slightly to look at the play side of the blocks and we built tunnels and bridges with them. We added a few cars too but this was all still whilst learning our numbers!
I have to admit, I was rather terrible at maths during school and as such I did additional Kumon education outside of school to assist my mathematical knowledge. Being able to teach a child to learn independently, relying on confidence in their own ability is actually is so important in a child’s education and for their future adult life. This is exactly what SumBlox does and more.
What I especially love about SumBlox is that it takes a classic kids toys, the humble “block” which all kids are familiar with and instead of just building and stacking the blocks it is teaching them mathematical concepts like addition or subtraction.
For younger preschool kids, it teaches them number recognition from 1 to 10 and the early stages of addition. For primary school children, they are learning through play that no matter how you stack the blocks, if the heights of the blocks match up, their sums are correct. I can’t wait to use these blocks with Jasper when he starts to learn multiplication and fractions. He is a very visual learner, as am I and these will be perfect to help him understand the basics of these mathematical concepts.
The boys and I absolutely loved these blocks and from their amazing quality and large size I can see these being passed down through each family.
A whole new generation of math lovers will be born!
Toy of the Month : SumBlox 43 Block set and activity card
Helps to teach kids: mathematical concepts such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, fractions , spatial awareness, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving, independent learning, and self-confidence.
Great for: hands on play, teaching preschool kids the concept of numbers through play, building primary school children’s confidence in mathematical concepts and thinking. This would be a brilliant educational tool for all maths classes in primary schools.
RRP: $119.99 USD/ $198.00 AUS, with many stockists sold out across Australia, you can find them available from their Australian distributor and online store Keld Industries.
Ages: 2 -11 years
Designed in the USA, ethically produced in China.
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, however I did receive a sample for my review. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.