I haven’t reviewed any homeschool products for quite some time, mostly because I haven’t found anything new that I’m really excited about. At least I hadn’t until I stumbled across the Uncle Goose Presidential Blocks Set.
I like this for several reasons. First, it’s a great tool for helping children become familiar with our nation’s presidents, even while playing. It’s also a different way of learning, aside from just reading about the presidents…this set gives a lot of basic information, (name, nickname, number of presidency, years served, birth and death dates and locations, and political party, as well as a facial sketch), that children will absorb just by looking at and building and playing with the blocks.
I also like this set because it’s handmade in Michigan with Michigan resources and child-safe inks. Now, I’m not normally a huge “Made in America” type, if only because I realize that most of the stuff I need to buy just isn’t made here. But every once in a while, I find something really cool that is made here, and I want to support that effort and buy it. That explains why I bought this set, even though it was pretty expensive for our homeschool!
Because of the way the blocks sit in the included tray, you can have an overview of the presidents’ names or faces, or, my personal favorite, the American flag. The sixth side of each cube is designed to be a part of the flag, and when the blocks are all placed in the correct order, you can see Old Glory…very cool!
The tray allows the blocks to be laid out in a 9×5 grid. I know what you’re thinking…we’ve only had 44 presidents, so how can there be 45 blocks? The answer is simple, and rather ingenious, I think…there’s an extra block for the Oath of Office, the pledge that the President takes when he is sworn in. It’s not necessary to the set, but a nice little bonus, and a good way to fill the space. The only other thing I could have imagined working with this set would have been a block for the White House, but you just can’t include everything!
I realize that this set will quickly become somewhat obsolete, either this fall, or in four years, when another president is added. It’s worth it to me, though, because this is such a unique, well-made resource, and even when we elect a new president, the other blocks themselves will still remain accurate, and useful for teaching. And Uncle Goose makes other block sets that are equally impressive, including the Periodic Table, Foreign Language Blocks, and even a set that has Braille and American Sign Language!