A New Way to Play with Blocks

be blocks!

You outlawed coloring on toys the day Barbie got a mustache.

Next time your tiny artist wants to make a mark, introduce her to Be Blocks. Local mom Leah Hamilton’s invention is a set of eighteen bamboo cubes, nontoxic markers, and stencils. Builders can stack away and draw a masterpiece on the cubes’s smooth surfaces when inspiration strikes.

Stencils (a whopping 100-plus) skew clean and modern, with designs like elephants, fish, polka dots, and swirls. Controlled hands can learn to overlap them to stunning effect. Little ones might be content to scribble.

Because the markers are permanent, creations are there to stay. So when your mini Matisse is done, pass them down and color the world for generations to come.

Available for preorder (January 18 delivery) at Psychobaby, 1630 North Damen Avenue, at North Avenue (773-772-2815 or psychobabyonline.com); online at be-blocks.com, $50.

this week in chicago!

Bump It Up for the Holidays
Maternity style expert and author Amy Tara Koch dishes on expectant-mama fashion and hosts a fashion show.
Why: It’s a chance to befriend fellow pregos.
When: Thurs., 6-7:30 p.m.
Where: Bubbles Academy, 1504 N. Fremont St., at Blackhawk St. (312-944-7677). R.S.V.P. (required) online at npnparents.org or by e-mailing programdir@npnparents.org. Admission is free.

Winter Solstice Festival
Cozy up to the season with a walk on illuminated nature trails, live holiday music, and roasted chestnuts.
Why: Make edible ornaments for the critters who live in the park.
When: Sat., 6-9 p.m.
Where: North Park Village Nature Center, 5801 N. Pulaski Rd., b/t Peterson & Bryn Mawr Aves. (312-744-5472). Admission is free.

St. Lucia Festival of Lights
Angelic-dressed girls lead a torch-lit procession through Andersonville. It honors the Swedish tradition of illuminating the darkest night of the year.
Why: Carols and treats at the Swedish American Museum after-party.
When: Today. Procession at 4:45 p.m.; celebration at 5:30 p.m.
Where: Parade starts, Clark St., at Foster Ave.; celebration, 5211 N. Clark St., at Foster Ave. (773-728-8111). Celebration admission, $1 or donation of one canned good.

Photo: Courtesy of Be Blocks

5211 N Clark St
@ Foster Ave
Chicago, IL 60640
1630 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
1504 N Fremont St
@ Blackhawk St
Chicago, IL 60642
5801 N Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60646