Tegu is the first manufacturer of magnetic wooden toy blocks in the world. Chris and Will Haughey founded the company in March 2007. Their idea was to create a company that would positively impact the lives of Honduran people in terms of job opportunities, reforestation, and funding of school days.
The name Tegu comes from the Honduran capital city's name, Tegucigalpa. Tegu blocks are constructed from Huesito, Beech, Mahogany, and Primavera woods and have a magnet inserted in them, which helps two pieces to connect.
In this Tegu blocks review, we will discuss the different models, their durability and pricing, and their pros and cons. We explore whether Tegu blocks are worth the price and the hype that surrounds them.
What Are Tegu Blocks?
Tegu blocks are essentially magnetized blocks of wood. Now, you might think that there are umpteen block toy manufacturers in the world (including Lego, of course). So how or why is Tegu different?
Tegu blocks help children explore different aspects of STEM education.
They help children understand magnetism (as the magnet's ends need to be correctly aligned to remain together). Children also get to know about the basics of construction by building things with regular blocks.
The blocks encourage children to design in ways that test gravity.
Tegu blocks encourage children to use their creativity and imagination to construct anything they can think of.
Lastly, the blocks' bright and beautiful colors provide visual inputs to young children and toddlers, which helps develop their fine motor skills and an understanding of the world of light.
Free Trade Toys
Tegu blocks are available as free trade toys in the market. You can buy the blocks in a reused state instead of having to pay the full price. However, given the charitable mission of Tegu, many parents prefer to pay the full price anyway.
The most unique feature about these blocks is that they are all made from a single, universal unit, known as the "Cube." The Cube is the basic unique aspect of Tegu blocks, and all other shapes are created out of Cubes.
This is precisely why Tegu blocks can all fit each other in any combination, making it very easy to create shapes with them.
The other available shapes are columns, planks, angles, wheels, and propellers.
Manufacturing of Tegu Blocks
How the Tegu blokcks are made is a huge part of their story. They are manufactured in a plant in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where they are responsible for paying their employees a living wage and harvesting wood.
Tegu blocks have a non-toxic, water-based finish. The blocks have magnets, but they are embedded far inside – you can't see them at all.
They come in great packaging. It's easy to open, it's durable, and it looks good as well. The blocks themselves are very well designed; the edges are full and rounded.
Tegu Blocks Finishes
The blocks are available in three finishes, including an optional combo pack:
- Natural (the least expensive)
- Jungle (includes natural, mahogany, and green-tinted blocks)
- Mahogany (the most costly)
- Color Tints (mix of colors)
Tegu blocks are incredibly durable. So much so that your children might end up playing with them for many years. And maybe even their children will play with the blocks in time as well. The paint might chip away, but these blocks are designed so well that the wooden part remains almost completely new. Of course, the magnets also stay in place and give these blocks enviable longevity.
Tegu Blocks Charity
Tegu has a unique charitable cause woven into its business fabric. For every toy bought, the customer contributes to one of two charitable programs in Tegu.
You may choose between planting 12 trees or paying a Honduran child's tuition for a day. This helps prevent child labor, which is a big problem in Honduras.
Customers can also apply extra money to their orders at a discounted rate (which will go towards more trees and more school days for children).
What's Inside A Tegu Block?
This is perhaps the biggest mystery and the most closely guarded secret at Tegu. Looking from the outside, you will not be able to tell that Tegu blocks have a magnet inside them. So what's the catch?
Usually, the blocks are smooth and without any cuts or gaps, They look like a single piece of wood, which is why there is so much speculation and interest around it.
Many Tegu lovers believe that magnets are placed inside the blocks by cutting them down the middle, and then gluing them back together with a special chemical that makes it look like there was never a cut.
If you play with the Tegu blocks for many years, you might just see a block or two that seems to have a cut in the middle. However, this happens very rarely, and can often happen simply because of normal wear and tear.
What Do People Love About Tegu Blocks?
The Tints package, with a blend of pastel and real bricks, is one of the most beautiful sets of block toys that you will ever see. The finish is non-toxic and helps the real grain of the wood to be visible.
In today's day and age of mobile and electronic gaming, Tegu blocks are standout toys that attracts children of all ages because of its visual appeal.
Much as for the Pink Tower and the Brown Stairs in Montessori, people tend to put extension cards in Tegu Blocks. These are little photos of patterns that children can try to build, like a 3-dimensional puzzle, using the blocks.
Children enjoy these extension cards. They love cracking the puzzle of how to build a new shape with the given blocks!
Although children enjoy animals, and buildings, the favorite shape is that of a car. You can use the wheels block to create vehicles from Tegu blocks. You can purchase the wheel block for most sets, but they are worth it due to their play possibilities in the blocks.
What People Don't Like About Tegu
In this Tegu blocks review, we also want to be honest about the aspects you might not like. For instance, some people worry that the blocks might be harmful to children because of the effects of magnetism. Tegu of course says that they are completely safe, and science agrees with them.
In fact, the magnetic nature of these blocks is actually a positive thing. When your children play with them in your car, the blocks will not fall down. Instead, they will just stick to the body of the car, making it easier for you to manage individual blocks.
Tegu Blocks Review On Amazon
14 Piece Tegu Magnetic Wooden Block Set, Tints
6 Piece Tegu Pocket Pouch Prism
Tegu Magbot Magnetic Wooden Block Set, Electric Aqua
42 Piece Tegu Magnetic Wooden Block Set, Blues
There are many other collections as well, but these are generally regarded as the best sellers.
Where To Buy Tegu Blocks
Tegu blocks are generally not sold at local stores. However, you can find them easily on Amazon or any other major e-commerce retailer.
Another option that you can go for is to buy the blocks directly from Tegu. The Tegu site always offers their full range of toys. You can browse and learn a lot about the history and origins of Tegu as well, which is a good read. Buyer beware: the blocks are more expensive when you buy directly, but the money goes to charity, so if you are like us, you wouldn't mind it!
Individual Tegu blocks are not available for sale on Tegu or other sites, but you can purchase them as a free trade toy.
Tegu is not just a toy. There is a lot of history, context, beauty and science behind it. In today's day and age, when children are enamored with internet apps and online games, a block toy that can hold the attention of a child is a rarity. But that's exactly what Tegu has achieved.
Tegu blocks are expensive, but if you can afford them, they are worth it. If you like high quality and amazing design, Tegu blocks will measure up to your expectations for sure.
Many children just enjoy holding these blocks in their hands. They look amazing, they sit great, and they last long.
All in all, we would suggest any parent of a young child who is fed up with watching their children play on the cellphone every day to buy this wonderful toy for their children.
It might be a bit expensive, but there is no price too high to pay if we can shine the light on knowledge and learning.
Lastly, do keep in mind that the blocks are recommended only for children three years and older because of the magnets inside. It's important to wait before you introduce your child to Tegu blocks.