Wednesday, June 29, 2005
I had thought I would limit this blog to architectural construction blocks, such as the Richter's Ankerstein, Unit Blocks, ArchiBlocks, and related construction toys such as Lincoln Logs, Roy Toys, etc.
But I couldn't resist temptation, and today I show another type of "block play," which also provides therapeutic benefits in dealing with mental disability.
Color Cubes are obviously closely related to building blocks, being wooden cubes in the size range of some alphabet blocks. These are about 1 3/32" (27.5mm) across, a common size for color cubes and a size in which alphabet blocks can be found.
The blocks in a set are all the same, with four solid colored sides: red, white, blue, and yellow; and two sides diagonally divided into red+white and yellow+blue. Sometimes green is substituted for the blue. These sets are used to create a wide variety of patterns, either creating simple pictures or more commonly, creating intriguing symmetrical designs.
Commercial sets of color cubes seem to have invariably been made in "square number" sets of 16, 25, 36, 49, 64, and 81. They typically came packaged with sample patterns. The only current commercial offering I know of are Magicubes from Creative Ladder, whose web site even lets you play with an online version [defunct link, sorry, but see: Uncle Goose].
Mine are a mishmash of older, battered incomplete sets, of which I have been lucky enough cubes the same size to be able to do even the larger patterns. Unfortunately I have to struggle to decipher tiny, blurry patterns from images snitched from online auction listings, since I haven't yet managed to get a set with patterns included.
If anyone reading this has sample patterns, and could email me copies, I would be very grateful.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Friday, June 24, 2005
Orion was one of the alternate lines of building stones made by Richter early in the 20th century. The sets used smaller stone sizes, not compatible with the more common and more popular Large Caliber sets. Most Anker builders prefer the larger stones, and for structures involving large numbers of stones, they have surely made the best choice. Anker's Small Calibers sets, whatever the label, are just a bit too fussy to build very large with. That the smaller series lacks the variety of stones of the larger series is also a contraining factor. That said, I enjoy my small stones, and would like to get more.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
JeuJura is a French toy maker that makes a variety of games and such. They have long made construction sets similar to Lincoln Logs, but with square logs of smaller diameter (similar to, but a little larger than Roy Toy). Most of their sets over the years have been Alpine Chalet or European forest lodge type architectures, but they have made at least one "Western" set for cowboy play, though the European flavor dominates even there. The nicely done plastic windows with working shutters add charm.