Daddy, these knock-off blocks are substandard!

Our son was given some knock-off version of Megablocks as a gift at some point. He was too young to do anything other than chew on them and scatter them across the floor, so I wasn’t too bothered about the fact that they don’t stick well at some angles.

The worst are the blocks that have only one bump on them. If perfectly aligned, they stick fine. But if the alignment is off by 45 degrees, they don’t stick at all. This is because the bumps are octagonal rather than round. I’m assuming that’s enough of a difference that it doesn’t infringe on Megablocks’ patent, even though they’re essentially identical in every other way. They even stick to Megablocks, which we now have some of, too.

I had thought to myself, surely these will last him until he’s old enough to play with Duplo. But today he started getting really into using the blocks. He was sticking them together and moving them around and having a grand old time. He doesn’t have the dexterity or awareness to align the blocks perfectly though.

So every once in a while, the blocks would just slide apart, no matter how many times he stuck it back on. To him, this was inexplicable. And frustrating. So now I have the choice of whether I’ll allow shoddy product design to affect my child’s enjoyment of making things.

At what point is he old enough to learn to just push through? To accepts the constraints of the material and adapt? At this point, I don’t think he understands that the constraints are coming from the material. Does he think the problem is him? The random failures certainly make it less fun.

I’d rather recycle the blocks and delay the learning about working within constraints than have him learn that frustration is endemic to making things. Play doesn’t have to be frustrating. And just imagine trying to explain all this to before he can even form full sentences.

Anyone know how to recycle faux Megablocks?

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