“ Brand: Early Learning Centre / Age: 9 months - Four chunky pieces that are easy for little hands to lift out of the puzzle! / Type: Jigsaws & Puzzles „
If you have a young child then you will know that most infants enjoy completing a puzzle or two and that these can come in various forms. At the simplest end of the scale are the wooden peg puzzles and at the other end of the spectrum are the standard, adult sized jigsaw puzzles. One of the first puzzles we purchased when my daughter was very young was this one from ELC (Early Learning Centre) and this particular puzzle is placed very much in the beginner's category.
The puzzle itself is very simple, with just 4 pieces fitting into the wooden board. Each puzzle piece is nice and chunky and so easy for small hands to manipulate into the correct position. The four pieces also have a thick sturdy peg to hold to allow your little one to easily take the puzzle pieces in and out of the hole in the board. As with a lot of other peg puzzles, each jigsaw piece is shaped differently in the rough outline shape of the animal depicted on the piece itself, which helps the child to see the correct space to fit the piece into.
Both the puzzle board and the pieces are bright and interesting to look at with colourful designs of flowers, trees and insects painted onto the board and the puzzle pieces themselves each depicting a different ELC character from their Blossom Farm range. These cute animals include Dillon Donkey, Chester Chicken, Lavender Lamb and Buttercup Cow and each of them have a touchy feely section on their tummies. Whilst these aren't hugely different from each other - three of them are soft and slightly fluffy and the fourth is a satin fabric, this is a nice addition to the puzzle and gives a nice tactile quality to the puzzle. Great for little fingers to explore! Underneath each of the puzzle pieces there is a painted picture of the animal with a colourful background and the animal's name printed on each animal's tummy.
This puzzle has been very well loved over the years (in fact my son is completing it now), but you wouldn't know from looking at it just how much it's been used. Even after nearly 5 years of being played with and being stored it looks as good as new. I think that this shows the great quality of the toy and how durable both the pieces and the board are. We purchased this from ELC ourselves when our eldest was very young and I would say that she started to use it from around 9 months, at first just taking the pieces out and touching the fabric sections and then gradually completing the puzzle properly as she got older. The touchy feely sections and colourful illustrations capture young children's attention and encourage them to try to complete the puzzle. I can't see this particular puzzle on the ELC's website currently, but it definitely cost less than £10.
The only thing I would change about this puzzle is that I would make the touchy feely sections more varied. However at least by using soft fabrics, this puzzles remains suitable for very young children and so I have not taken a star off for this reason.
I like Early Learning Centre toys and so last year I was browsing their products in a hunt for my daughter's stocking fillers. I then came across this puzzle which I am going to review. As I mentioned, I purchased this puzzle as one of my daughters (Sofia) the stocking fillers. She was 10.5 months at the time and I felt that she will benefit from it and her development. I love puzzles and so this was perfect way to start getting Sofia involved.
This puzzle is very simple; it comes in wooden square with 4 chunky animal shapes. Each shape has touch and feel area for baby to explore. 4 animals include Dillon donkey, Chester chicken, Buttercup cow and Lavender lamb. Shapes are well animated with excellent attention to detail. They are very cheerful looking and painted in very nice vibrant colours; perfect to get little ones attention. Each shape is chunky (but not too big for little ones tiny hands) and has a peg attached to it to help with handling the puzzles. There is no animal noise when shapes are lifted from the board; however there is very similar puzzle with this function available from Early Learning Centre.
In addition there are few butterflies, flowers and trees painted on the board to I would say to create the farm look which is nice addition as it does not make it look plain.
The exact puzzle dimensions are 20.5 cm x 20.5 cm. Puzzle is lightweight, Sofia has no problem carrying it around.
This puzzle is aimed at developing child's hand to eye co-ordination and stimulates child's senses. It is recommended for babies of 9 months of age onwards, of course younger babies can play with it even however they will probably not get much out of it. I feel that probably 12 months onwards would be more appropriate.
Sofia liked this puzzle from day one. To start with she just used to lift the puzzles and chew on the peg for a while before she tried to put it back in. With the time she stopped chewing on it and got better and better with completing the puzzle. She is now nearly 18 months and I must say that she plays with it on a regular basis. She has few other similar puzzles with different shapes; she takes all of them out herself and puts them back in without my help. I have now purchased more difficult puzzles though as this was getting too easy for her.
I have purchased this puzzle from Mothercare I believe I paid £4 on special offer; this puzzle is available from Early Learning Centre for £6 which is ok.
Overall I have no negatives to say about this puzzle. I think it's great first puzzle to get little ones involved.
I would definitely recommend it and would even pay full price for. It is of very good quality, she has chewed on the individual animal shapes a lot when she was younger but the puzzle is still in excellent condition with not much wear to it.
This puzzle is from the Blossom Farm range at The Early Learning Centre. I love puzzles and think they are a great way for kids to learn. My little girl has a number of puzzles and we wanted to get some for my little boy when he was born that were especially for him and not just ones that his sister didn't play with anymore. We bought this for him last Christmas and I can't see it on the Early Learning Centre website anymore but I think we probably paid about £10 for it. This is a good quality puzzle and good fun and now at 9 months old he is really interacting with this puzzle, picking the pieces up and examining them, eating them sometimes but really trying to place them back in the puzzle too so I think its been a really good edition to our puzzle selection.
The board itself is quite thick and made of a good quality wood. The board is nicely decorated with a farm type scene with trees, butterflies and bees and a white picket fence on it. Then there are five big thick chancy pieces for you to put into the puzzle. The five pieces are animals that you will find in the Blossom Farm range also. There is Pogo Puppy, Chester Chicken, Dillon Donkey, Lavender Lamb and Buttercup Cow. THe animals are cute looking and well drawn and do look like the animal they are intended to be. The pieces re in different shapes and care sort of shaped like that animals although are cut around the picture fairly largely so you get a good image of the animal. Each piece has a little yellow peg on it enabling you to get it out of the puzzle easily and to put it back in easily too. My little boy can easily pinch this little peg now and can hold the puzzle piece like this and its really good for his development to be able to do this so its good to be able to put this puzzle to use like this.
The best part about this puzzle is that it has noises. When you put the puzzle piece into the board it makes the sound of the corresponding animal. For example the cow will moo and the puppy will bark. The noise only occurs when you put the puzzle piece in, not when you take it out. The noise goes for about four repetitions and then stops. Sometimes it can be a bit annoying though as there is obviously a sensor somewhere in the puzzle because when you just have the shell and the pieces are out, if you step on it or move your hand over it it will start to moo, baa etc and it seems like it goes on forever. Having said that my little boy loves to hear the noises and they make him giggle so that is fun to see. My two and a half year old can complete this puzzle easily and does it over and over and so I would say its probably great for ages one to two and a fun puzzle we enjoy in our house.
My parents can't but buy my boys presents and gifts all year around. However after Mr Lools and I requested although it is extremely generous we really do not want them buying anymore they became covert in their present buying. Gradually I noticed the collection of toys and puzzles at their house getting bigger, despite claiming they "hadn't been buying anything else". One of the "secret" gifts I found in this stash whilst playing with my boys at my parents' house was the Blossom Farm Touch and Feel Lift Out Puzzle.
***Blossom Farm Touch and Feel Lift Out Puzzle***
The Blossom Farm Touch and Feel Lift Out Puzzle is a wooden play tray lift out puzzle which ELC describe as "great fun for pre-school children and help to develop your child's object identification, manual dexterity and shape matching skills."
The puzzle is a wooden board about 20cm square. There are 4 cut out holes in which 4 animal shaped puzzle pieces fit into. The puzzle pieces are different farm animals (a hen, a cow, a sheep and a donkey). These are wooden pieces with a coloured image on the piece showing the farm animal. On the puzzle piece there is a thick wooden peg which makes it easier for a child to pick up and lift out the puzzle piece. Inside of the slot where the puzzle piece comes out of is the same image of the farm animal as is on the front of the puzzle piece. Each of the puzzle pieces has a textured section for a child to touch.
ELC state that the Blossom Farm Touch and Feel Lift Out Puzzle is suitable for children from 9 months.
The RRP of the Blossom Farm Touch and Feel Lift Out Puzzle is £6.00 however we purchased during a sale costing £4.00. The puzzle is sold in ELC stores and online and is also available from Mothercare stores and the Mothercare website.
My parents bought the Blossom Farm Touch and Feel Lift Out Puzzle for my boys when they were around 10 months old. Although they covertly purchased this puzzle my boys alerted me to this addition to the toy box at their grandparent's house as they were so keen to play with the puzzle.
At 10 months old my boys were sitting unaided and already had some lift out puzzles although most of these were suitable from 12 months rather than 9 months old. What I particularly liked about the Blossom Farm Touch and Feel Lift Out Puzzle was that my boys found it very easy to pick up these puzzle pieces at 10 months old because of the large peg attached to each puzzle piece. This is larger than the majority of pegs in lift out puzzles therefore why I feel is more suitable for babies under 1 year old. At 10 months old the brightly coloured farm animals and the textured sections were the real attraction and my boys like to pick up the brightly coloured pieces and feel the textured sections (i.e. the soft fluffy sheep) but did not at all understand the concept of a puzzle and matching up the pieces to the correct slot. I felt at such a young age my boys were really interested in this puzzle because of the textured sections and explored the puzzle pieces with their hands, whereas with other lift out puzzles at this age the puzzle and puzzle pieces did not hold their attention for very long.
Once my boys got to around 14 months they "played" with puzzles in a more conventional way. They were not only lifting the puzzle pieces out of the slots and then attempting to place the pieces back into the correct slots although at this age they did require some guidance and I would tell them what animal they were holding and what. The pieces are well finished off so that the pieces slot in and out of the correct slot very easy and a young toddler can do this on their own.
As a parent the only criticism of this puzzle (and other lift out puzzles) is that you need to keep the puzzle horizontal and upright when not in use to ensure you do not lose pieces. This is not really a huge issue when you have one puzzle to store away, but my boys have around 8 different lift out puzzles at my mum's house. So if the puzzles are not stored upright, each time before you play you have to sort through the pieces before you give to your child to play with.
By 18 months both my boys were able to slot the puzzle pieces in the correct slots and although there are only 4 pieces in total they were still entertained by this puzzle and the textured sections on each of the pieces. I feel not only does this help a child developmentally with motor skills and their hand eye coordination there are the benefits of problem solving skills getting a child to match up the puzzle piece with the same image inside of the correct slot.
There are also educational benefits and I feel my boys have helped learn animal names and sounds by playing with this puzzle. By 18 months both my boys would point to the correct animal when asked where it was (i.e. "where is the cow") and could make all four of the animal noises (granted that donkey noises were very amusing for them to learn). At 22 months they are now clearly able to name each of the four animals on the puzzle so I feel this has helped encourage and develop their speech. Because there are only 4 pieces to this puzzle I do feel it is stlightly basic and by 2 years old I feel my boys will probably benefit more from more complex puzzles with more pieces and shapes.
Like other ELC puzzles and toys the Blossom Farm Touch and Feel Lift Out Puzzle is a very durable toy. The wooden puzzle board is thick and durable and has survived many tantrums and has been thrown from tables and highchair trays onto wooden and tiled floors without any damage. The puzzle pieces are also durable and have survived almost a year of rough play and have been chewed on regularly. There are no visible teeth marks and there colourful images on the front of the puzzle pieces have no scratches on them or have started to wear off.
This is a lovely puzzle that my boys have enjoyed over the last year and still can be regularly found playing with this puzzle when they visit my parents' house now. Therefore for children aged between 9 months and 2 years old I would definitely recommend this puzzle. For £4 it is excellent value for money.
The lift out pieces of the puzzle make it very easy for a young baby to play with and the brightly coloured animal shaped pieces make this puzzle not only fun but educational and children can learn as they play. The different textures on the puzzle pieces makes this an attractive puzzle to play with especially for younger toddlers who like to explore with their hands. Like the majority of ELC toys the Blossom Farm Touch and Feel Lift Out Puzzle is extremely durable and well-made and has survived a year of rough play by my boys and looks as good as new.
My only criticism of the Blossom Farm Touch and Feel Lift Out Puzzle is that like other lift out style puzzles you have to store flat and upright so the pieces stay in play. Not an issue when you have only one puzzle to store but children like my boys have numerous puzzles which means I get the job of searching to find the missing pieces.
We don't very often get a chance to go into our nearest Early Learning Centre, but when we do we usually end up coming away with a bag full of toys for ten month old Freddy. One of his latest acquisitions was this the Blossom Farm Touch And Feel Lift Out Puzzle, that we bought for a very reasonable £5.
==Puzzle Me This==
Measuring approximately 20cm square this lift-out wooden puzzle is designed for babies between nine and twenty-four months of age. Part of the ELC Blossom Farm range, the puzzles features four different farm animals, each of which can be lifted out of the base via a large easy to hold knob. As each character is lifted out an identical picture of the animal is revealed, which gives baby an excellent visual clue as to where each piece fits. What makes this puzzle a little unusual is that each of the four pieces features a different texture on the animal, which adds an extra dimension to baby's play.
The whole puzzle is extremely well finished, with all the surfaces being smooth and splinter free. The pieces all fit securely in their respective holes and yet are still easy for baby to remove. The pieces will fall out if the puzzle is turned upside down, but it will take a couple of seconds for them to drop. The pictures are colourful and although they appear to be transferred on, there's no sign of them peeling away.
==Puzzle Me That==
Freddy fell in love with this puzzle from the moment he saw it while still in the shop and there were a few tears when he realised that he wasn't going to be allowed to play with it until he got home. Once we did get home, it was easy to unwrap the puzzle, which was a bonus as Freddy, really, really wanted to get his hands on it. As soon as he finally did get his little mitts on the puzzle, Freddy was absolutely entranced, he found it easy to remove the pieces and loved feeling the different textures before trying to replace the pieces into the board.
The wooden knobs are the perfect size for Freddy to hold using his steadily improving pincer grip and they make a brilliant noise when banged against his wooden table or even against each other. Although Freddy will quite happily play with this puzzle on his own, it's when we play together that he gets the most from it. When we play together we talk about the different animals and what noises they make (well mostly I talk while Freddy tries to make some noises). So when he picks up Lavender Lamb, I make lots of 'baaing' noises, which Freddy thinks is really funny and then I encourage Freddy to stroke Lavender's tummy that feels all fluffy, just like wool. Sometimes, we'll sing Old McDonald's Farm using the pieces as props, which works really well and is great fun.
The puzzle has been played with daily for the last month and isn't showing a sign of wear or tear, even we some of Freddy's more enthusiastic play. It's also been chewed and bitten on several occasions and so far, while it has been left with a couple of teeth marks, these are really no more than light indents and the actual surface hasn't been broken. My only very slight problem with the puzzle is that it is slightly too large to fit on Freddy's highchair tray.
==Learning Through Play==
Coming from The Early Learning Centre and being a puzzle, it's no surprise that this is a toy that will help your child learn while they play. The ELC themselves state that this will help your child develop their hand-eye coordination and will stimulate their senses. Watching Freddy play with this over the last month, I completely agree with these, as he lifts and tries to replace the pieces, he's definitely practising that all important pincer grip and he loves to feel the different textures. But as with many of their toys I do think the ELC is selling themselves a bit short, as with adult interaction, this can help your child learn far more.
Firstly and most obviously this puzzle (as with all puzzles) will help your child hone their problem solving skills as they twist and turn the pieces and test them in each hole. Then their observational skills are tested as they match the animal on the piece to the picture in the hole. As each of the animals are recognisable you can also use this puzzle to help teach your child the names of the animals, what sounds they make and even what food and products they produce/eat.
While most lift-out puzzles are only suitable for children over a year, the large pieces and handles make this ideal for younger babies. I would say that the nine month minimal age range is spot on as that's when most babies are developing the precise pincer-grip necessary to take the pieces out of the tray. The addition of the textures adds yet another layer of interest. Although it maybe a little more expensive than other brands, but it is also far better quality and far more able to withstand being thrown around the room and chewed on. I therefore have no hesitation in recommending this puzzle to parents of both baby boys and girls and am giving it a healthy five stars out of five.