November 17, 2009

Tree Blocks: Great Idea or Huge Scam?

These blocks are basically what they sound like: building blocks cut directly out of tree branches.  They're available either with or without bark.  Take a peek at  I've linked directly to the tree blocks here, although the company does have other offerings.

Now on to my question: great idea or huge scam?

I would say they're both.  Let's cover the "great idea" bit first.  I think many parents and teachers overlook the joy a child can get from very simple toys.  They get an opportunity to use their imaginations, and they learn from testing their own ideas.  Remember your own childhood: did you ever get hours of entertainment from a shoe or refrigerator box?  How many fantastic possibilities did you find within a simple set of blocks or pile of dress-up clothes?

And now on to the scam.  The larger of these sets is one that costs $42 for 36 blocks; using a brief Google search, I easily found a simple block set with nearly twice the blocks at about a third of the price.

These blocks do have a certain uniqueness over a 'regular' block set, but I say that's where the real head-scratching comes in.  These are blocks made by cutting out bits of tree branches and sanding the ends a bit; go into your backyard, trim a few branches and for the cost of sandpaper your child has a new set of blocks.

Of course I know everyone doesn't have a forest in their yard, but my point is that you're paying big money for something you could probably replicate for free.  So, don't forget the value of simple things, and try not to pay big bucks for them either.

1 comment:

  1. Should read: "Tree Blocks: Great Idea, Huge Scam, or Awesome Excuse to Kill Trees"

    that is all