I've been looking at buying one of the classics sets for my young kids. My desire was to have a large collection of bricks that they could build houses/cities/etc with. I thought that the Classics sets would be exactly what I'm after, but after looking at reviews, etc it seems like they contain very few normal blocks and contain a large amount of small, not that useful pieces (790 piece set only contains 67 4x2 bricks). Looking at reviews and blogs, it seems like this is fairly common feedback on these sets but I haven't seen where people have mentioned good alternatives. Hence I'm wondering if anyone knows where I might be able buy in bulk a "large" quantity of "normal" bricks from (i.e. 1000 - 1500 prices).
Lego bricks can be purchased individually from Lego.com using their Pick-A-Brick service.
If you have an official Lego Store near you then buying bricks from their Pick-A-Brick Wall is a less expensive option once you figure out how to maximize the amount of bricks you can stuff into a cup.
There are also sites that sell individual bricks, often at a lower price:
You may also be able to find good deals on Ebay for bulk bricks already sorted by color and type.
I would recommend buying one starter set of basic bricks to compliment the basic bricks and provide them with some variety. Sets like 10717 have minimal amounts of special pieces compared to other.
They have made sets in the past with a lot of basic bricks, many of them were sold under "Educational & Dacta". One of the more recent releases was set# 45811 that looks like sells for around $40.00 on Bricklink.