Automoblox have been around for nearly 15 years (the original idea goes back to the early 90s), but it wasn’t until PlayMonster picked them up a couple of years back that they really started picking up steam. Touted as “A Real Car Brand For Kids,” these rides are a modern reinvention of the classic wooden car – but with some stellar upgrades and construction that’s built to last. The precision design of each vehicle is broken into sections that become mix-and-match pieces (with hidden connectors), allowing kids to enjoy them right out of the box – or to use their imagination to create fresh new vehicles. You can swap bodies, wheels, tires, windows and more, and the vehicles have some real weight to them. While the original Automoblox are fantastic, I think the Mini range is the stand-out element of the whole collection.
We first went hands-on with these at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair back in 2016, and earlier this year we received some for review. I also had a chance to see what’s coming down the pipeline while visiting the PlayMonster booth at the 115th North American Toy Fair in New York City this past February, and there’s some pretty cool stuff not just for kids – but adult automotive enthusiasts as well.
Crafted of European beech wood, the original-sized vehicles average 7.5″-9″ when constructed, with the Mini range averaging about 4″ in length. For the price-conscious parent, these are going to look like they’re on the pricey side – and they are, but it’s relative to the quality. Single originals are around $30, with Minis running around $12 for singles, $30-$40 for three-vehicle multi-packs… the rescue pack being the more expensive one due to some additional accessory pieces. As I said before, they have a weight to them – a heft, and I think that they’re going to last a long time, potentially something that could even be passed down through generations.
Geared for kids ages 4+, there’s appeal for older kids and I’d say that these will also play well for the 8-12 range. What’s particularly interesting though are the designs, and that’s where I see these as really being fantastic for grownups, too. They’re classy-looking, and make nice display pieces that would go well in a family room or office.
After having a nice little collection of Automoblox here at Rock Father HQ for a few months, what I’ve noticed is that when we get them out they stay out for awhile – sometimes a few days. They foster true imaginative play by tapping into kids’ natural interest in building, taking the experience to a different place by putting that into the world of car culture and customization. See more photos of our Automoblox in our Facebook Gallery.
Note: I don’t believe it’s possible to purchase a figurine of the little green PlayMonster mascot. I got him from the folks at PlayMonster in NYC and he now lives in my office for the most part, but often plays with The Rock Daughters™.