Product Type: ELC baby toys
Newest Review: ... puzzle comes inside a tough cardboard box that also acts as storage when the puzzle isn't in use as it has a carry handle. The box is qui... more
Sharing the farmyard fun!
ELC Farm Animal Puzzles
Member Name: Lools_24
ELC Farm Animal Puzzles
Advantages: Bright, easy for small hands to put together, great for sharing, storage box
Disadvantages: Very basic puzzles, storage box does come apart easily
My twin boys love playing with puzzles and like everything else we seem to own, our collection of puzzles is ever growing. My boys have a lot of wooden puzzle board type puzzles from ELC however these cause many arguments as they both want the same puzzle so I went in search of including some mini puzzles into our collection so I could encourage the concept of "sharing" a little easier. During the October half term ELC sale the ELC Farm Animal Puzzles caught my eye not only because they were reduced to half price but they looked like puzzles that could be shared by my boys.
***ELC Farm Animal Puzzles***
The ELC Farm Animal Puzzles are basically a boxed collection of six two piece farm animal puzzles. Each of the mini puzzles is made from two puzzle pieces that slot together and make up a brightly coloured illustrated farm animal. The farm animals include a cow, sheep, horse, goat, hen and a duck. Each of the six mini puzzles is a rounded farm animal shape. The puzzles vary in shape but are around 8cm by 8cm and made from a hard durable cardboard with a wipe-able coating.
The mini puzzles come in a square cardboard storage box which has a string carry handle.
ELC state the farm animal puzzles are suitable for children from 18 months.
The ELC farm animal puzzles are available from ELC and Mothercare stores and online from both retailers. The RRP of these puzzles is £6.00 which I do feel is reasonable however I think these puzzles are extremely good value when purchased during frequent ELC toy sales. I purchased these puzzles in October 2011 during a half price half term event and paid £3.00 from ELC.
The ELC Farm Animal puzzles come in a small rectangular cardboard box which also acts as a storage box as the box comes with a string handle so a child can carry the box around. To open the box you simply remove three small stickers and the lid of the box opens. The lid can then be opened and shut by pushing the slots of the lid down into the box so it stays shut. I would say that you do need to take care with the box however as although it is made from quite hard durable cardboard if your child tries to sit on the box (like my boys have) they will bend out of shape and this could ruin the box.
My boys were around 19 months old when they were first given the ELC Farm Animal puzzles to play with and at this age I feel the puzzles were perfect for them to play with. I would always try and start with putting the puzzles together first to show them what each of the six mini puzzles looked like and then break them up and let them slot the mini puzzles together. My boys fully understood the concept of matching the puzzle pieces together and only really needed a little bit of guidance. Because of the design of the puzzles they are very easy for a young child to hold and pick up the puzzle pieces but also place the two correct pieces together. When we play with puzzles I tend to play alongside my boys however I do feel at 19 months old my boys could have played with these puzzles independently without needing guidance or me helping them slot the puzzle pieces together.
What I really liked about the ELC Farm Animal puzzles is because there were six mini puzzles both my boys could play with these and we could try and share by giving them three puzzles to complete and then swapping. It was usually the case that they wanted what the other sibling had but I do think for those that want to encourage their child to share or play alongside other children these are good puzzles to help with this.
Developmentally I feel these are very good puzzles for encouraging a child's motor skills alongside their problem solving skills. The two piece puzzles require a child to find the correct two pieces to slot together and then they need to actually develop the ability to slot the two pieces together. My boys seem to get a lot more enjoyment and satisfaction out of these types of puzzles as opposed to the lift out puzzle board type puzzles and I feel this is because they are challenged a lot more by the ELC Farm Animal Puzzles.
I also feel the farm animal puzzles have learning benefits and you can encourage your child to say new words by asking them to name the different farm animals that they make and then attempt to make the noise that the particular animal makes. My boys by 21 months old could both clearly identify and say each of the animal's names when prompted and make the correct noise.
Personally if I was to buy these puzzles again I would probably have bought them a little sooner for my boys despite the ELC guidelines saying that these puzzles were suitable from 18 months old. Both my boys enjoyed playing with puzzles and had developed reasonable coordination and motor skills so they could lift puzzle pieces together and fully understood the concept of puzzles by around 15 months old. At 15 months old these puzzles probably would have been a little more complex than other puzzles they owned (which were mainly lift out wooden puzzle boards) but I feel they would have provided a lot of entertainment and educational benefit. My boys are now 2 years old and still enjoy playing with the two piece farm puzzles but I do feel for children who are particularly accomplished at puzzles by 2 years old these puzzles can be a little basic because they only have two pieces. Based on our experience I would say a child would enjoy these puzzles up until the age of around 2 and a half but I personally would not buy for a child of over 2 years old because I do not feel the puzzles are challenging enough.
Durability wise I would say that the ELC Farm Animal puzzles are very good however you do need to take slightly more care of these puzzles than you would with wooden puzzles. Each of the puzzle pieces is made from a hard durable cardboard with a wipe-able coating. The puzzle pieces could bend but a child would need to use considerable force to do so therefore this is not such and issue and my boys have not attempted to do so. The wipe-able coating is great as if you do get marks on the puzzle pieces you can just wipe over with a damp cloth. My boys have attempted to chew these and although they have not bitten pieces out of the puzzle pieces because the puzzles are made from cardboard they have left some teeth marks.
I would definitely recommend the ELC farm animal puzzles to parents of children under the age of two and a half. The six brightly coloured puzzles are fun to play with and are well made and easy to slot together for small hands. The farm animal puzzles have developmental benefits helping with a child's hand eye coordination but also speech development as you can encourage your child to name the animal once they have slotted the puzzle pieces together and then ask them what noise that particular animal makes. The puzzles also come in a small square rectangular cardboard storage box which are great for ensuring you do not lose puzzles pieces. I also find the storage box is a great way to encourage my boys to tidy up as once they have put all of the puzzle pieces away they are very keen to shut the lid of the box and then carry the box by its string handle to the cupboard.
The advantage of there being six mini puzzles rather than one large puzzle is that children can play alongside other children and therefore as a parent you can encourage your child to share. I do feel because each of the puzzles only consist of 2 pieces they are quite basic, especially for children who are more accomplished at putting puzzles together. ELC state from 18 months however I would say in my experience from ages 15 months to around 2 years is most suitable however this will depend on the individual child.
At £6.00 I think the puzzles are great value but for £3.00 these make a great stocking filler or little gift to brighten up rainy days. Another not so puzzling purchase from ELC!
Summary: Six farmyard themed two piece puzzles from ELC
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