Over the years we seem to have accumulated quite a number of baby / toddler lift out puzzles and my three children have played with them all to some extent. This one has been one of the most used. As a result, when I finally decided to get rid of some of the puzzles the other day, this was one of the few I decided to keep.
The puzzle consists of a wooden board which is approximately 20 cm square and 1 cm thick. It has four large cut outs in the shapes of a caterpillar, ant, spider and bee. In addition there are four corresponding wooden shapes which can be slotted into the holes. The shapes have a peg in the middle of each one to hold onto.
Why is this puzzle one of the better ones? The reasons my children seemed to like this version include that it is very simple. With only 4 shapes to fit in and being quite large shapes, they found it easier to get the hang of than some of the others. I also liked the fact that in the holes is printed the same picture as on the puzzle pieces enabling the children to match them up. Apart from these advantages, the main reason I would recommend it is due to the textured sections on each piece. Each bug is bright and colourful and includes a small section with a different feel. My toddlers found this very interesting and loved to run their fingers or nails over them.
The puzzle was purchased from elc for £5 but this was some time ago and it doesn't now appear to be available on their website.
The reason I have only awarded this toy 3 dooyoo hearts is that although this is one if the better versions of a lift out puzzle, I don't generally rate these puzzles, particularly for the target age range. While I appreciate that some toddlers love them, my children were never as interested in these compared with their other puzzle type toys.
I have mentioned in previous reviews that my parents have now become quite covert in their purchasing of "gifts" for my twin boys. As much as I totally appreciate my parents buying gifts, the frequency of gift buying is happening more than once a week and as a result, the toy boxes at their house and at my house are becoming over run with toys. It wasn't long after mentioning that boys do not need any more toys that I noticed new toys had appeared in their toy box at my parents' house and realised the constant toy buying was still going on. One of my mum's covert bargains was the ELC Touch and Feel Bugs Lift Out Puzzle.
***ELC Touch and Feel Bugs Lift Out Puzzle***
The ELC Touch and Feel Bugs 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 tray is a wooden board about 20cm square and just under 1cm thick. There are 4 cut out holes in which 4 bug shaped puzzle pieces fit into. The puzzle pieces are an ant, a bee, a caterpillar and a spider. Each of the wooden pieces has a colourful image of the bug on the front of it and a thick wooden peg for a child to grip and pick the puzzle piece up with. Inside of the slot where the puzzle piece comes out of is the same image of the bug to match the puzzle piece with. Each of the puzzle pieces has a textured section for a child to touch.
ELC state that the puzzle is suitable for children from aged 9 months.
The ELC Touch and Feel Bugs Lift Out Puzzle costs £5.00 from ELC and Mothercare stores and you can also purchase online from the stores' websites. My mum later confessed that she bought this puzzle for £3.00 during a money off event, therefore at such a low price it did appear to be a good value toy.
My parents bought this puzzle at the same time they bought a similar style puzzle only with farm animals. My boys were around 10 months old so were starting to play with puzzles more regularly and both could sit unaided and play with these puzzles.
What I liked about the ELC Touch and Feel Bugs were that the puzzle pieces are very easy for a young child to pick up because of the large wooden pegs. Most lift out puzzles seem to state they are suitable from 12 months and I feel this is due to the peg to lift them out with being a lot smaller than on these puzzles. At 10 months old the brightly coloured bug images on the puzzle pieces and the puzzle board were the real attraction for my boys and they spent most of their time simply exploring the textured sections on the puzzle pieces with their hands. Although at 10 months old they played with puzzles I do not feel they really understood the concept of matching the pieces together however because the puzzle pieces on the ELC Touch and Feel Bugs puzzle were textured it helped to hold their attention longer than other puzzles we owned.
By around 14 months old my boys seemed to play with this puzzle how it was intended and were lifting the puzzle pieces in and out of the slots and trying to match up the puzzle piece image with the same one inside of the correct slot. They did require a lot of guidance but when you played alongside them you could really see that they were attempting to use problem solving ability and think about which bug piece matched together. The wooden puzzle pieces are finished off well so you don't get slinters and they are also very easy to slot in and out of the correct slots and do not get stuck meaning a young toddler can play with this toy without any help.
I do find lift out puzzles slightly frustrating as you need to ensure the puzzle and tray is kept horizontal and upright when not in use so the puzzle pieces stay in place. When you have lots of lift out puzzles to store the puzzle pieces get mixed up and it means you have to sort through the pieces before your child plays with the puzzle. We have a large box with a lid on to store these types of puzzles in but it is frustrating if the box gets tipped upside down as you have lots of puzzle pieces in the bottom of the box and then lots of empty puzzle trays.
By 18 months old both my boys were able to slot the puzzle pieces I nthe correct slots. I feel because there were only 4 puzzle pieces this helped to keep things simple but they were still entertained by the textured sections on each bug piece and would give these sections a quick feel as they picked the puzzle piece up 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 to this puzzle and you can teach your child the names of the different bugs. Personally I preferred the farm animal version of this puzzle as a learning aid as these were easier more frequently used words to teach my boys and I could teach my boys the sounds the farm animals made. With the ELC Touch and Feel Bugs puzzle I could teach them the words for ant, caterpillar, bee and spider but it is a little more difficult to teach them these bug sounds (although we did give it a go!).
My boys are now 22 months and although they still play with this puzzle I do find it is slightly more basic than other puzzles they own because it only has 4 pieces. Their play time with this puzzle is getting shorter and I feel that by 2 years old they will benefit more from more complex puzzles with more pieces and shapes. Therefore I would say the age range for this puzzle is typically between 9 months and 2 years old.
Like most other ELC toys the ELC Touch and Feel Bugs puzzle is extremely durable. 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.
I would definitely recommend the ELC Touch and Feel Bugs puzzle to other parents of children aged between 9 months and 2 years old. I feel for £3.00 it has been excellent value for money.
The lift out pieces are very easy for a young baby to play with and the large wooden pegs make it easier for a baby to pick up the puzzle pieces. The puzzle pieces are bright and colourful and the textured sections on the bugs make this a sensory experience for a child and they can explore the puzzle pieces with their hands. I also feel this helps to hold a child's attention for longer than with other puzzles.
Like the majority of ELC toys the ELC Touch and Feel Bugs 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 ELC Touch and Feel Bugs 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.
I bought this so my son could practice doing some puzzles it says it's from 9 months but I feel that a child would need to be over 1 to get real enjoyment from it.
It has 4 large puzzle pieces on it a spider, ant, caterpillar and a Bumble Bee. They each have a peg on it and a texture in the middle of each animal so babies can touch and feel them. The spider has a Corduroy blue texture I think not completely sure, the ant has a shiny purple material texture, the caterpillar has a pink felt texture and then the bee has a silver shiny material just like the ant did. The textures aren't that big and I wouldn't have thought the animals feel like that either. Underneath each of the pieces the picture is identical to the piece and has the name of the animal written on it as well.
This puzzle is an average size for a 4 piece puzzle. The pieces are easy for little ones to hold and good for first words, learning and recognizing the animals.
At the moment he thinks any of the animals can fit in any of the spaces but I can see him getting the hang of it and because the pictures are so clear they are easy to match up.
It cost £5 for us to buy at the time for the Early Learning Center.
This is a simple lift-out puzzle for babies available from Early Learning Centre currently priced at £5. The recommended age range for this is 9months - 2 years.
The base is wooden with rounded corners and has the Early Learning centre logo in the bottom right hand corner.
There are 4 chunky wooden lift out pieces, each in the shape of a bug. The pegs to lift the piece are wooden and not too small so little hands will be able to pick them up easily. A picture and the name of the bug is printed on the tray to help your child identify which piece fits where.
The first piece is a spider - the spider has a friendly smiley face and there is an area of fuzzy fabric on the body part of the spider for your child to explore. Next an Ant - with a pink/purple smooth metallic lookig fabric area on it's body again with a smiley face. A caterpillar with a pink felt area to touch and finally a bee with a silver metallic area on the wing.
This is a simple puzzle for older babies that will give sensory stimulation and help to develop hand eye co-ordination.
The touch and feel lift out puzzle is, despite the naem being complicated and a mouthful, a very simple early learning toy. This puzzle is suitable for children from 9 months up to about 2 years old and there is no reason why a child older than 2 would still not play with it occasionally. The board and puzzle pieces are lightweight so easy to take on holiday or vising the in laws and it is also relatively small (about 20X20cm) so is easy to store.
The puzzle pieces are colourful and vibrant with touchy feely parts to them and so encouraging finer motor skills for the younger end of the age range that this puzzle is designed for. The touchy feely sections are different textures providing a varied sensory experience. The pictures are repeated on teh puzzle piece as well as the cut out section where the puzzle piece should go. This is additonal help for the child who unknowlingly learning about matching. The pictures include a spider, a caterpillar, an ant and a bee.
The puzzle pieces are large and have a medium sized peg for younger children to hols onto. This will help children develop their fine motor skills (pincer grip - holding between thumb and finger). Another positive aspect to this puzzle which again helps with identifying where to put the puzzle piece is that the shape of the puzzle piece is a very similar shape to the animal it is on the picture. This kind of matching (similar to matching an object to its shadow) comes into its own more as children get older and there are no pictures underneath where the puzzle is supposed to go, so this a beginners stage to the development of this skill.
Themes for this activity to talk about with your child are animals, colours, textures, in/out, same/different and colours. So there can be plenty of learning going on whilst you are having fun.
This puzzle is £5 from The Early Learning Centre.
This is a great puzzle which comes with four junky wooden puzzle pieces. You can buy it from The Early Learning Centre for £5.00. The recommended age for this puzzle is 9months to 2year. The measurements of the puzzle are approximately 8" x 8" and the pieces measure roughly 3".
The puzzle comes complete with four chunky puzzle pieces which are a bee, caterpillar, ant and a spider. Each piece has a textured bit on it which your child can feel. There is also a small peg on each puzzle piece which makes it easier for your child to lift them when doing the puzzle.
On the main board there are gaps which you put the puzzle pieces in. They have made it easier for your child to know which one goes where by putting the picture of each puzzle piece where it goes, so you can just match them up. It also says the name of the bug so your child will start to learn the names of them.
I think this a great puzzle as your child will improve there fine motor skills by having to pick the pieces up and working out which hole they fit into and concentrating on putting them . They will also learn new colours as the puzzle pieces are very colourful, new textures which are on the pieces and learn the names of the bugs. My daughters are nearly three and they still enjoy playing with them. You can get similar puzzles to these but with different pictures.
Four chunky pieces that are easy for little hands to lift out of the puzzle!