Building blocks are pretty much classic toys (see my recent post here on Hall-of-Fame toys, including the building block), but Fat Brain Toy Co. has managed to ring a change on them anyway with their Dado Cubes™.
These nifty blocks are hollow cubes of smooth plastic, slit on each of the four “walls”, so that they may be interlocked to create a huge variety of three-dimensional structures. As Fat Brain says, “Dado combines art and science as you explore architectural principles . . . proportion, balance, structure and color.”
They’re also made in the U.S.A. (for those of you who are interested, Fat Brain is headquartered in Elkhorn, NE, which is now a suburb of Omaha — here’s a link to its Wikipedia page).
Best of all, though, they are cool. This is the sort of toy that doesn’t leap out at you when you pass it on the shelf; it doesn’t have TV advertising, and I don’t think it’ll ever be packaged with a fast-food meal. What it will do is engage kids’ imaginations and help them develop spatial awareness and problem-solving skills (handy attributes when later in life they are trying to assemble something from IKEA, say).
Look for Dado Cubes™ at your local independent toy shop. Here in Canada they sell for around $24.99.