What did we think of the House/Water Mill Brick and Mortar building set? We loved that it could build our choice of two buildings and our son wanted to build the house, so that is what we went with. It took several hours split between two days for us to build this. Of course, I'll be honest with you... we are not masons! There was a learning curve there and I was quite thankful my engineer hubby could help with plan reading. He was ultimately the one who plotted out the spacing and shepherded the children as we built the house.
The Mortar: There are directions in the box for mixing it and I would caution you to follow them exactly. If I had to give my best estimation of the consistency needed to ice the bricks, I would say that it reminded me of a thick mixture that looked a lot like a bowl of baby cereal when you were just beginning grains! I haven't seen anything that consistency since I started my kids on baby cereal. Moms: You know just what I'm talking about here!
The bricks were fairly sturdy. We had a few that were a little worse for the wear, but ultimately we had more than enough to complete our build. The roof tiles should definitely be handled with care since they are so much thinner. As I mentioned, if you want to break down your build, you can soak it and the mortar will dissolve. This means you get to reuse your bricks (how eco-friendly!), just let them dry first.
As I mentioned earlier, we are not masons. We had to learn some technique as we went along and thus we had some issues until we got a good rhythm going. The plans were hard to follow - even for my husband. Another thing we encountered was that the roof slabs were about a half a brick too short. This made it a little more challenging when it came to laying down the roof tiles. One shutter was too short and lacked a bottom bracket to snap in. I plan to contact the company to ask for a replacement piece.
In the end, we worked around most of the issues and completed the project. I don't think we did too horrible (take a look at that photo again) and we'd definitely do another build....
If I had to give a ball park figure, this build took us about 6-1/2 hours total, which we split over two days. This was actually longer than I was anticipating and I mention it just so you don't think that this is a quick build. A Teifoc brick and mortar set will take several hours for a beginner, which should decrease as a child gets more experience with building.
We liked the Teifoc product and enjoyed the building experience. Neither my husband nor I have ever built anything like that before and the kids really enjoyed building too. My 5 (almost 6) year old was initially enthused, but got bored with it after a while. Our 9 year old was actually more engaged in the building process. We would definitely do another Teifoc brick and mortar and would also be interested in their other products, mainly because my kids enjoy building things. I spied many products on the USA site that I think would be great learning opportunities for kids.
Buy it! Teifoc building sets can be found at Amazon.com as well as several other select retailers, which appear on their list.
Win it! The generous folks at Eitech have graciously allowed me to offer up a building set as a giveaway item. Enter to win a Teifoc Small Cottage Brick and Mortar (ages 6 and up), which you can see by going here.
Mandatory entry: Visit Eitechamerica.com and come back here and tell me what other Eitech products have caught your eye. They have more than just brick and mortar sets! In fact, they have several toys that are for ages 4 and up. Idea: Look by age group for someone you'll be shopping for this holiday season. What would you buy them? You must leave a comment for this entry and be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you are selected as the winner of this giveaway. Once you have completed this mandatory entry, you can gain extra entries by:
Extra entries (1 entry each):
Follow EitechToys on Twitter (@eitechToys)
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Subscribe to Making Ends Meet via email (right side bar) or, if you already do, tell me in a comment.
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Tweet out this contest on Twitter or Share it with your friends on Facebook. For Twitter entry, leave a comment with a link to your status showing the tweet. Tweeting can be done once daily. For Facebook, if you can link me to your status, please leave me a comment. If your account is private, just copy and paste what you wrote there and post it in a comment.
For a tweet, you can use: Win a Teifoc Small Cottage Brick and Mortar Building Set from @eitechToys. Ends 11/30 http://tinyurl.com/2aycnne
Giveaway notes: This giveaway is open to US residents only, who are 18 years or older. This giveaway runs through 11/30/2010 at 11:59 PM and the winner will be drawn via Random.org on 12/1/2010. The chosen winner will have 48 hours to respond to a winning email. If no response is received within 48 hours, I will have to choose another winner.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary product for the purposes of review. This blog post is not compensated. Eitech is also providing a giveaway item in conjunction with this review. The opinions stated herein are either my own, my husband's or my children's and relate to our experience with this product.