G9606_main-620x620We opened the IO Blocks box, looking for instructions, and found that they were located in a free app. Before we had time to download the app, my 4 year-old friend was quickly building one model after another, in this amazing open-ended building set. He figured out how to link the axles with wheels, made a race car and airplane before grandma and mom could figure out the system! I love independent discovery and play, which the IO Blocks inspire. “I can build a train,” my little friend declared, gaining confidence in his ability without instructions. This 96 piece Vehicle Set includes 12 unique puzzle-like shapes that kids can easily friction fit together or take apart to create their vehicle. The two “hero” figures who look rather space-aged with helmets brought the language level up as kids talked for their figure, “I’m the blue guy” and added some dialogue. Several special pieces–wings, cabin, bumper, wheels, propellers, bow, fins, and sails allow lots of customization and different ways to take the pretend play story. When we finally paused in our continuous building, we downloaded the augmented-reality IO Blocks® App, which  acts as a virtual vehicle build guide in space, used in conjunction with the tracker pad included. These 3D instructions can be paused at any point as kids are building the model. Grandma, Mom and I were amazed at the speed with which our little friend created, dismantled and re-created a new vehicle, confidently using trial and error to make his sailboat, race car, or jet. A kindergarten teacher added her endorsement, “That’s a very creative toy!” She even noticed that our little friend commented, “There’s a number 4, and I see an H!” Lots of levels of learning fun was going on with our IO Blocks set–STEM, fine motor and language as our Hero figures were poised to tell the story through narration and conversation, with quick fingers changing up this open-ended play!

Available at Guidecraft. Click here