Focus on Soft Blocks/Climbers
My search for creating a fun, safe, durable and affordable indoor playground for my son continues! The waffle blocks are fun and my son enjoys climbing over and in, and banging on them like drums, but the creative benefit of building is lost on him for the time being. They will definitely be more engaging as he gets older.
Even though the waffle blocks have their use, I am still very interested in getting some soft play climbers to step on and jump on. These would be better for younger children, especially under 1 year old. Unfortunately, I still have some reservations as to what kind would be better, with the main influence being cost. The basic package includes at least a ramp and a couple of blocks. There are two different ones that I have found:
Although you can find these from different retailers, at the time of writing this, the Soft Play Forms costs $160 whereas the Soft Tunnel is $359, with the main difference between the two being the half moon vs tunnel. There are a couple other differences that I was able to see from the product descriptions and reviews. They have different dimensions, for example, the ramp on the Play Forms version has a height of 8″ whereas the Tunnel is 12″. Also, it seems that the Tunnel version has Velcro on the pieces and the Play Forms doesn’t seem to. While this might not be a deal breaker for some, it may or may not affect the play experience if the pieces move apart.
There are, of course, other versions with more pieces, and some include a lot more for only another $100 or so more.
While I, of course, prefer the lower cost, I really want to have a tunnel, so I’ve also been seriously thinking of getting the My Geo Baby Climbing Blocks, currently at a cost of $140. I read the reviews for My Geo Baby Climbing Blocks on onestepahead.com, and it seems to be a really big hit with all the kids. The problem, and the reason I had been hesitant before, is regarding the durability of an inflatable toy, especially when the intended user is a toddler. It does seem, from the reviews, that many consumers had experienced the seams ripping or getting holes, sometimes after the first use. The reviews, though, do comment that customer service seems to be pretty good at accommodating repairs or replacements, but it is a concern to factor into the buying decision.
I was extremely excited to find an article on babble.com from 11/2008 acknowledging that Target sold geometric foam blocks online, only to not be able to find anything on Target’s website. Unfortunately, they must have stopped selling that product. It would have been great to find another competitive product, but I guess the search continues–