Creativity #123 - Letting our imagination run free with Just Blocks {Review & Giveaway}

Posted by ~Summer~ on December 09, 2020
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Having stayed in Scandinavia for over four years, I have witnessed the power of open-ended play when it comes to toys and how quality makes a difference. Many of the toys we bought in Europe were made out of wood and came at a heftier price tag if you compare them to the plastic ones. However, they are the ones that have endured the test of time and even though over a decade has passed, our wooden toys are still intact and in great condition today.

Take for instance, our toy kitchen corner is something that impresses our friends whenever they come to our house. Besides the kitchen cabinets which are made out of birch plywood, over the years, I have also accumulated a good amount of kitchen appliances, utensils, cutlery and food items which are made out of wood too. Not only do they feel more solid and look more realistic, they also last much better and are totally worthwhile of the investment too.

That was why I was very thrilled to receive a set of Just Blocks from Little Happy Haus for the kids to play with. The blocks are made out of high quality wood and by using different shapes that can be arranged to form any desired structure, they allow the little ones to be creative and heighten their imagination. This is a great toy that keeps them occupied as they can start over again and again and it also serves as a wonderful family bonding activity too. Read on for our full review and for those who are keen, I have a giveaway at the end too, yay!

About Just Blocks and Little Happy Haus

Just Blocks are ecologically manufactured out of beech wood without being chemically treated by preservatives, paints or oils, making them safe for the little ones to handle. The wood comes from Poland and the production of blocks takes place in Poland too.


There are four sizes of Just Blocks sets you can choose from - Baby, Small, Medium or Big. Inside each set, there are four types of wood elements. Each block size and shape has been thoroughly tested so as to support and enhance a child's motor skills and cognitive development, which broadly refers to how they think, explore and figure things out.

We received the Medium Pack which contains 74 basic bold blocks, 28 flat large blocks, 14 flat medium blocks and 50 sticks blocks. That makes a total of 166 pieces and what you can build out of them is practically endless. While the packaging comes with a brochure with sample structures that may inspire you and get you started, once you get the hang of it, you can feel free to build anything you like too.


Handpicking only the best quality products, besides Just Blocks, Little Happy Haus offers many more kid-friendly items including baby and kids wear made from natural fabric, other open-ended toys which allow for creative play and some cute looking home decorations too. Hop over to take a look here.



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Our Just Blocks Creations

Watch this short video to see how my kids have been playing with their Just Blocks set. I love how it makes for a great bonding session and the truth is I enjoyed playing with my kids too since adults are free, and even encouraged, to join in the fun. The part where we would 'destroy' our creation so that we could start a new one, that was awesome and the kids loved it. Haha.

Here's a closer look at some of the structures we have built so far and we are looking forward to creating many more very soon.

1) Carpark


This was the first thing the kids built and the girls were saying "Didi likes cars, right? Let's build a carpark for him!" which really warmed my heart. I love how their carpark is a multi-storey one and they also used the flat blocks to create ramps so that the cars can slide down. There is a road surrounding the carpark and besides filling up the structure with all the wooden and toy cars we have in our house, we also put up some trees along the way for a touch of green. 

2) Supermarket



The girls are aspiring little chefs who love playing in their toy kitchen. Using Just Blocks, they decided to build a supermarket and pretend to be shopping for their groceries. This structure was simple to build and the only tricky part was in trying to make the flat large boards stand up straight and they achieved this by placing the bold blocks behind for support. I like how each food item is neatly separated from the rest and it's cute hearing the girls give a tour of the aisle too.

3) Farm

My kids are all animal lovers so it was no surprise when they wanted to build a farm to house as many animals as they could. Besides making sloping roofs, a walkway, stables and sheds, they even added a pond for the geese to swim and grass for the sheep and horses to graze too.

The girls have decided to build the London Bridge next and I can't wait to see how that goes. Stay tuned for more updates on my IG stories, yeah?

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There are many positive aspects about letting kids play with open-ended toys and I can't say enough about the developmental benefits and fun they bring. To summarise, here is a list of the top 8 things we love about Just Blocks:

1) Encourages creativity through open-ended play

When it comes to open-ended play, the sky is the limit. For most kids, including mine, playing has been proven as the best way to learn and that is what I believe in as a mum too. Creative play allows the kids to think, explore and let their imagination run free. That is something very important and we need to constantly let them have opportunities to do so even as they grow up and not let their creative minds get stifled along the way.

2) Develops fine motor skills

Suited for kids of all ages, Just Blocks lets the younger ones start off by arranging and combining the different blocks. As they get older, they learn to balance, stack and build increasingly complicated three-dimensional structures. Using their fingers and hands to work the magic and bring their creations to life, it also improves their hand to eye coordination and dexterity in the process.

3) Stretches your limits

There is no such thing as "I can't build this", only "How should I build this?" when playing with the blocks. You learn to work with what you have, take your imagination beyond its limits and even challenge the seemingly impossible. I was amazed by some of the ideas the kids had in mind and felt their excitement as we embarked on building a different structure every time.


4) Lets you find solutions 

Prior to building, the kids will have a discussion and make their plans. Sometimes, they will come to realise that plans fail. Rather than giving up, they learn to fine-tune, modify and develop alternatives along the way as they come up with their own solutions to structural problems before their building is constructed. That is an important life skill, isn't it?

5)  Improves concentration

Every structure requires you to focus on the building task at hand and be as precise as possible. For instance, when the stick blocks were not placed properly, the building tends to collapse after a while. The kids learnt this through trial and error and it makes them concentrate and pay attention to the little details.

6) Builds teamwork

Working in a team of three, the kids learnt to cooperate and work together, listen to each other's opinions and take turns to make decisions. While they might still bicker along the way, this also presents the chance for them to learn to resolve conflicts on their own without me stepping in.

7) Gives a sense of achievement

They would always be elated and shout "Mama, come and see what we have built!" when a project is completed. Yes, this gives them an immense sense of accomplishment, especially if they had failed initially and had to go through several attempts before having a taste of success.



8) Easy to keep and store

Last but not least, what I love about open-ended toys is that they do not have any fixed structure and thus do not need a vast amount of space. You are free to demolish your creations and keep the wooden blocks simply by stacking them neatly. We keep ours in a box which can be easily tucked away though it won't be long before the kids want to take them out to play again.

In conclusion, we would definitely recommend Just Blocks for parents and kids who love creative play and are looking for a fun-filled activity during the school holidays or weekends. While the blocks might look simple at first glance, it's our mind that can conjure wonders, our imagination that can push boundaries and our positive attitude that can make any complicated structure come to life. Have fun playing just like we did!

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DISCOUNT CODE

For all A Happy Mum readers, you can now enjoy a 10% discount when you purchase any Just Blocks set (Baby, Small, Medium, Big) from Little Happy Haus. Simply enter the code "SUMMER10" when you check out your cart.

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GIVEAWAY

Good news, I am now giving away a Just Blocks Medium Pack (worth $185) to one of you! To join in the giveaway, hop over to my Instagram post HERE for more details. This giveaway ends on 22 December 2359hrs and is open to all readers with a valid address in Singapore.

Best of luck, people!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration between A Happy Mum and Little Happy Haus. All photos and opinions are my own.


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