Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Bigjigs Play Patrol - Freddy Reviews Safari Blocks

My little boy Freddy and I are delighted at being shortlisted to become one of this year's Bigjigs Play Patrol Agents.  We have loved being ambassadors for the brand, as we genuinely love the company's ethos, their beautiful toys and the sense of humour that runs through their social media, so we are honoured to get through to this stage.  Thank you Bigjigs!


  Freddy has been given a very special mission to review a set of Bigjigs Wooden Safari Blocks.  As toys suitable for babies from 1 year old, I was worried that he would not be very interested in them.  Oh how wrong was I!!??  He LOVES them!

It just goes to show that traditional wooden toys are timeless classics with masses of play value.  When toys rely on imagination instead of batteries, the scope for play appeal is unlimited and long lasting.

Bigjigs Safari Building Blocks

The Bigjigs Safari Blocks are a collection of thirty two colouful, wooden bricks, which come with a handy drawstring bag for storage.

The blocks include pieces to make six fun animals, a sun, moon, flowers, bushes and trees.  They are completely child friendly making them suitable for toddlers from a year old.  They are the perfect size for little hands to manipulate, but still solid and chunky.

Bigjigs Safari Building Blocks

The Bigjigs Safari Building Blocks encourage and develop a number of skills in children.  Freddy displayed lots of these skills as he played, developing and learning as he put the fun to the test!  

Learning through play is the best way for little ones to explore the world around them, laying down the foundations for their future development. These blocks are fantastic tools for the following skills:

Dexterity - stacking the blocks helps develop the ability for children to use their little hands and practice those all important fine motor skills.  Hand eye coordination is improved as little ones manipulate the pieces to create the animals or build towers.

Balance - making towers that stay standing requires a good sense of balance.  Then knocking them down teaches them about cause and it's totally fun!

Imagination - bricks can be built into anything, limited only by a child's imagination.  The cute animal characters lend themselves to being the stars of many role play games.  This aspect of play is something that Freddy really enjoys as he acts out wonderfully elaborate scenarios using the blocks as props for his storytelling.   From building huge towers to making a safari adventure, there are lots of things to be built, encouraging spatial awareness and creativity.

Vocabulary - animal names and sounds, colours, shapes, size, prepositions (such as above, below, next to, on top of) etc. can all be learned through playing with the blocks together.  Interacting with your child as you play together opens up a fun and engaging dialogue, encouraging children to chatter about what they are doing, improving social skills, confidence and teaching new words.

Problem Solving - For little ones, working out how to make the animals is a lot of fun.  Older children can work out how to fit together the circles inside the semi-circular spaces to make stable structures or work out ways to build the tallest towers, all the while testing their problem solving skills.

Matching - children will enjoy sorting out the blocks by size, shape or pattern and  matching up the pieces of the animals.  And of course, mix and match creatures are fun to make too!

 Shape Recognition - with rectangles, semi-circles, circles and squares, little ones can learn the names of shapes. This activity can be extended for younger children who could draw around the blocks to make shape pictures. Freddy was able to name the 3D shapes such as cubes and cuboids, counting their faces and matching them by size.

Number Skills - Freddy counted the animals and the number of bricks in his tower.  He also used the blocks as an aid to counting on, learning the basics for early maths skills. Blocks are really handy when children begin to learn simple addition and subtraction problems.  You can use them as a resource to help solve simple problems, making maths much more fun, hands on and practical!

Encourages Tidying Up - The drawstring bag made clearing up much easier and Freddy loved that it was in his favourite colour; light blue.  This fact made him positively eager to tidy the bricks away after he had finished playing.  This is a great social skill for little ones to learn (and it makes my job as a mum easier, giving me less mess to put away at bedtime!)

Bigjigs Safari Building Blocks

Watching Freddy play made me realise the value of these traditional toys.  I expected him to build the animals and create a safari play scene, build towers and knock them down.  But I was surprised at just how much fun he's had with them.  He has had them out everyday since they arrived, and has come up with some seriously entertaining ways to play. His sense of humour and imagination has shone through: 

  • He has made his own funny jokes using the bricks as props...he made lots of mix and match animal characters including a 'two headed cat' which he thought was hilarious, then proceeded in doing his best Annoying Orange impression as he gave us a running commentary and laughed at his own gags!
  • Freddy made himself a 'Minecraft World' with the blocks and played out some exciting Minecraft action with the animal heads as TNT!  He gave a running commentary on creepers, pigs and chickens as he brought the online game into real life with a colourful and fun Bigjigs twist.
Bigjigs play patrol

I love his quirky way of unleashing the fun from toys, discovering ways to play that I would never have imagined. This it what I love most about Bigjigs toys.  The play value is unleashed through the imagination of the child and is not pre-decided for them. Being free from the constraints of expectation allows that imagination to soar. How much fun must it be to be a 4 year old!

As ever, Freddy played hard and the blocks are withstanding his rough and tumble approach to playtime perfectly, without a dent or scratch on them.

Take a look at the blocks (and Freddy) in action in this video:


It really was eye opening to see how much these blocks sparked his imagination and how many ways he found to play with them.  Buying these for a younger child would be a great investment as they will last for years, with the play value growing and changing over time.  The blocks can be added to or combined with other sets of building blocks, so the fun keeps growing.

Priced at just £11.99, the Bigjigs Wooden Safari Building Blocks are a great value toy that little boys and girls will love.

Join in the fun, enter competitions and keep up to date with the latest Bigjigs news on the Bigjigs Facebook Page.


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