Best set of wooden unit blocks? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 12-16-2009, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
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My sons (8, almost 6 and 2.5) recently received a set of the Melissa & Doug architectural blocks. The blocks seem really nice to me, and my kids enjoy playing with them. I was thinking about buying more blocks to go with this set.

However, I just looked on Amazon and, while the vast majority of reviewers LOVED the M&D blocks, a few people claimed they are made with a wood filler (not solid wood) and that the finish rubs off. So now of course I am concerned about any glues, chemicals or finishes that may be lurking on or within these blocks.

Are there any affordable hardwood (chemical-free) unit block sets out there that anyone could recommend?

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#2 of 8 Old 12-16-2009, 01:53 PM
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We got some pieces from the open stock selection here: We choose the seconds because they are cheaper and they are just fine. Watch out for shipping costs--quality wood blocks are heavy!

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#3 of 8 Old 12-16-2009, 05:58 PM
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we have the barclay wood blocks too. Beautiful but expensive.

Mom to Morgan 4-3-06 and announcing Baby Kelsey 4-11-10
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#4 of 8 Old 12-16-2009, 07:26 PM
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I usually don't like M&D toys much, but I love their unit blocks. They are definitely real wood! And I don't know what "finish" could rub off--they don't appear to have anything on them.

Are other companies' blocks the same dimensions so you can play with them interchangably?
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#5 of 8 Old 12-17-2009, 12:25 AM
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The M & D unit blocks I'm familiar with:

are definitely made out of real wood, and didn't seem to have any kind of finish on them when I saw them at a friend's house. I can't imagine that the Architectural Unit Blocks are made differently, based on what I saw on their web site.

We have some other, extremely similar rubberwood unit blocks that my parents bought, they don't seem to be any particular brand. My kids love them!

Sonja , 40, married to DH (42) since 5-29-93, DD born 11-3-2004, DS born 1-18-2007.
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#6 of 8 Old 12-17-2009, 12:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Those barclay blocks are beautiful! But yes, too expensive. Although the open stock options are interesting. Maybe some day we'll buy a few pieces!

The M&D blocks don't seem that bad to me, although they do have a strange odor. We also just bought CitiBlocs (love them!), which are made out of pine. Those have no odor.

It doesn't appear that the M&D blocks have a finish on them. I was just going by the review I read on Amazon.

I guess the only way to find out for sure would be to contact M&D. At any rate, my kids love the blocks, and if they're totally safe I'll be thrilled!

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#7 of 8 Old 12-17-2009, 09:29 AM
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Community Playthings, in Rifton, NY, makes beautiful wooden blocks. They are pricey, but good blocks are worth it. We have a huge, really huge, set of blocks that we've collected over the years. Some were bought new, but I scour Craig's List for wooden blocks and buy the good ones when I find them. Sometimes preschools are going out of buisness and sell them. A surprising number of people feel that their kids are too old for them after the age of 5-6 and sell what they have. My 7 and 11 y/o play with them constantly!
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#8 of 8 Old 12-31-2011, 02:54 AM
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After reading this thread I bought the introductory set from Community playthings which we love but now I would like to add to it and am trying to figure out which set to add to this set.  What pieces would you recommend buying?  A similar set to what I have already have or a different set?  Want to spend around 200 and get the most bang for my buck.

Fun loving crunchy mommy to an amazing outgoing adventurous boy named Logan Cloud 2/2/07 and our little ball of energy Jayden Edge 11/28/10 and wife to Jet 7/3/05 expecting our third 09/21/14

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