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REPLACING SCREEN TIME WITH PLAYTIME: HOW 3D BUILDING BLOCKS HELPED MY 5-YEAR-OLD

If you’re a parent in the digital age, you know raising kids now is different than when we were younger. Despite our best efforts to limit screen time, children become attached to mobiles, TVs, or iPads, as did my son

In this blog, I share the exciting and game-changing solution that helped us combat this unique challenge.


STRUGGLES WITH SCREEN TIME

After four years as a stay-at-home mom, I rejoined the workforce when our son, Aryan, started kindergarten last year. Throughout his early years, I consciously limited his screen time and have been mindful of screen use around him.

Since returning to my career, there have been times I’ve had to continue tasks on the laptop and tablet after work hours at home. Like most children, Aryan (now 5 years old) is fascinated by digital devices. Watching me work has inadvertently increased his curiosity and led to frequent demands for mobile and iPad usage, which I have reluctantly agreed to.

Unfortunately, the more we agreed to let him use screens, the deeper his fascination became. It has been a few months since our son replaced the toys and games we carefully handpicked for him with YouTube videos. After continued efforts to control his screen time were unsuccessful, we tried something different: 3D building blocks.

 

SAKARA: TRUE GAME-CHANGERS

A couple of months ago, we discovered Sakara’s 3D Building Blocks through a friend’s recommendation. At first, we were apprehensive about trying a relatively new product. However, after hearing glowing reviews, we decided to go ahead and get their DIY 120-Pieces Super 12 Set. 

Another intriguing factor was the name ‘Sakara,’ which is Sanskrit for ‘thoughts become things.’ I appreciate how beautifully they’ve woven together their product and purpose, right from the title. It’s the little things like this that add the ‘extra’ to every ordinary.

Some may feel that their products are at a higher price point. While I understand, I also consider this a worthy investment for the betterment of our children. Let me explain their pros and cons.

 

PROS

CREATIVITY IN A BOX

The package arrived within two days of placing the order. It had a long and sturdy hexagonal box carrying a jute bag filled with 10 blocks of each color. The box also had a ‘thank you’ (made with Sakara) note, a complimentary set of customized notebook labels, and a user manual with creative structures and cool facts about each of them—all of which we found very adorable.

My husband, son, and I have all played with building blocks before, but these were particularly exceptional. Unlike regular building sets that limit us to specific structures, Sakara’s toys focus on providing unrestricted creative access to children. 


MADE IN INDIA BY PARENTREPRENUERS

Our family has always been ‘vocal for local.’ The fact that Sakara is a homegrown initiative—and by parentreprenuers entrepreneurs—was the icing on the cake. Who better to trust with educational toys than other desi parents who understand and share the same concerns? 

The pieces are crafted using non-toxic materials, and the product is BIS-certified safe. They connect effortlessly and have a sturdy build, rarely falling off.


ONE-OF-A-KIND 3D BUILDING BLOCKS

Sakara’s 3d building blocks have this unique multi-dimensional interlocking mechanism that allows two block pieces to connect on all sides. Our curious little one wanted to see if this was true and promptly started his experiment. Halfway through, he forgot his original objective and started building the first thing that came to mind: a tower (aren’t kids cute?).

As the days passed, we noticed Aryan gradually growing attached to the toy. He initially just connected blocks horizontally and vertically in varying colors and lengths. With some encouragement and guidance towards other simple creations, he began excitedly building them without our support.


THE BEST TOY TO REDUCE SCREEN TIME

Aryan’s post-school ritual now goes as follows:

  • Come home
  • Freshen up
  • Eat something
  • Find the Sakara box
  • Invite friends in the neighborhood to join him
  • Start building something new

As a parent, it is always heartening to see your child so passionately engaging with their new toy. Even more so, we’re happy that it has helped reduce his screen time and replace it with something educational, entertaining, and essential for his holistic development. 

With how helpful Sakara’s 3D building blocks have been for us, it would be fair to call them one of the best toys to reduce your child’s screen time.  


GREAT FOR FINE MOTOR SKILL DEVELOPMENT

True to their nature, these 3D Blocks help ‘build.’ Not just structures but also essential childhood skills like fine motor development, problem-solving, and hand-eye coordination. I’ve also observed how focused and patient Aryan is while building something new. 

Additionally, this has been an engaging way to teach him different colors and basic math concepts like counting.


BRINGS THE FAMILY TOGETHER

Beyond all its features and benefits, the best part about Sakara is its versatility. Not just children, but adults can also play with these building sets during family game nights.

There has been healthy competition among the kids and adults, and we have a wonderful time coming together to have fun.

 

CONS

Not to sound too cliche, but perhaps the only con of Sakara is that it’s addictive, and for the right reasons. Their 3d building blocks are now my son’s new favorite toy. He loves them enough to cast aside most other toys in his collection. 

No complaints here, though! As long as he’s away from screens and having productive playtime, everything is A-OK with us.

 

YOUR KIDS WILL LOVE SAKARA TOO

Everything I said comes straight from my heart as a happy parent and satisfied customer. We recently even bought additional sets because the creations were getting bigger, and we were running out of blocks!

If you want to control your little one’s screen time, take it from a fellow parent and try Sakara. I guarantee it’s the perfect toy for your purpose and your child’s playtime!

PS: If you want to explore the creative masterpieces you can build with this cool toy, check out their how-to-build guide.

Thank you for reading. Happy Building!

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Social Skills

While Sakara is great for independent learning and development, one of the most educational things about it is the way it builds social skills as well.
When children build something together they learn to share, consider others’ opinions, take
turns, be patient, and give constructive feedback and criticism (“it might fall down if we do that; why don’t we try it this way”).
This also develops a collaborative nature and teaches children the joy of team work from an early stage.

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Colour and Shape Knowledge

Learning about colours and shapes in early childhood does not necessarily need to be taught with usual colour and shapes activities.
Children understand the building blocks of complex shapes and learn to use colour creatively as they play with Sakara.

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Focus and Concentration

Analyzing a pattern, active play, planning what piece comes next, waiting for their turn and listening to others (when building in a group) all takes focus and can hugely help with children who sometimes need a little extra help with concentration.
One of the reasons why Sakara is great for brain development is its ability to improve concentration span. The more a child is immersed in an activity, the better a child’s ability to focus.

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Managing
Anxiety and Stress

Playing with Sakara is shown to have a calming and relaxing effect, and this comes handy with children who may have anxiety or stress. The cubes also allow children to channel their nervous energy into creativity and creating new things with sakara cubes bring a feeling of order and tends to build self-confidence over time.

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Perseverance and Management of Frustrations

Playing with Sakara is intriguing as the cubes may come tumbling down because of one wrong move – initially this may be frustrating, however repeatedly playing with Sakara can help children develop perseverance and learn to overcome frustration, knowing that their
masterpieces can be re-built. It also allows an opportunity to try out new ideas without a fear of failure, as children tend to learn that errors are fixable.

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Accelerates
sensory and motor skills

Playing with Sakara has amazing benefits for the development of fine motor skills and aids in developing dexterity and strength in the fingers and sensory awareness. Playing with the small cubes strengthens little fingers and develops hand-eye coordination.

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Encourages
Creativity and Experimentation

Sakara cubes spark creative energy and encourage children to bring their imagination to life.
The versatile nature of these cubes create an open space for self-expression and experimentation. While the provided ideas to model can be fun to introduce to kids, the possibilities of true learning happens when children build freely.

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Builds Problem solving, Mathematics and Spatial Awareness

The best way to encourage problem solving skills in children is to immerse them in play that challenges them to constantly solve problems creatively.
As they decipher order, understand quantity, symmetry, patterns and location of the cubes, children also improve geometric and arithmetic knowledge, and develop spatial awareness.

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M-DIM
(Multi-directional interlocking mechanism)

Unlike other building blocks which can only be attached vertically and horizontally, Sakara Cubes can also be attached diagonally. This unique feature allows children to create different, multiple and complex structures that helps explore their creativity and imagination without any limits.