“ Brand: Toy Brokers / Age: 3 Years / Type: Learning Toy „
My daughter was given the Fuzzy Felt Alphabet letter match it set for her third birthday but we have waited until she was about three and a half and had gained some knowledge of letters and sounds at nursery before trying it. The recommended age range is actually for three to six years old but I do think it's probably more suitable for the younger to mid range as it's quite simple matching of letters and pictures.
The set comes in a very attractive box which gives a good idea of what you are going to get inside. The contents are a smallish yellow board which is rough to touch but is the right surface for attaching all the letter and picture cards that also come with it. The board has a very interesting texture that children will enjoy just running their fingers over!
You then get 52 laminated cards which show the twenty six letters of the alphabet and twenty six matching pictures of objects that start with each of those letters. All these cards are attached to each other when you first open the box but they are very easy to separate out. The cards have quite a strong feel to them - a smooth shiny card with the picture on with felt as a backing so they can be attached to the rough surface board. The pictures are all very clear so that it is quite obvious to a small child what they are meant to be. (I hate it when you have to guess what something is meant to be!)
The box does not come with any instructions so my three year old and me just made it up as we went along. I got her to spread out all the cards on the floor and then to pick out one picture which we placed on the board. I then asked her whether she could tell me the sound that it starts with (which she's very good at) and then to see whether she could find the letter. There are a couple of things included that do help such as the word is written underneath the picture and then when you look at the first letter it is written in a different colour from the other letters in the word. Even more helpful is that the colour of this first letter matches the colour which is on the letter card, and as there are about six different colours it is quite easy to hone in on the letters you need.
I was really pleased once we had started playing just how well it was helping my daughter's sound and letter recognition skills. It also gave her a considerable sense of achievement every time she was able to match a picture and letter together. It was also helping her manual dexterity as when she had found a match she placed both pieces on the yellow board and had to fit them together almost like two pieces of a jig saw. It was also a bit of fun to hold the board upside down and to see that the cards did not fall off. My daughter thought this was magic! These pieces do seem to attach much more strongly than a lot of the other fuzzy felt sets we have had.
I do have a couple of small criticisms of this set though. Firstly, I wish that the board was that much bigger because with this one, even if you squash them all together you can only fit eight matching sets on before the board is full. This does not matter too much and we just emptied them in the box and carried on, but I did think it would have been good for my daughter to be able to see them all and see just how much she had accomplished. I also wish that the makers had just put little lines under some letters likep, q, b and d so that children know which way up they are supposed to go.
These are just a couple of small niggles though because over all I am very impressed with the quality of this kit and how useful it is in reinforcing word recognition. As I said at the start my three year old daughter seems to be just at the right stage for using this for learning. However, having said that, my five year old has recently got hold of it and really enjoys showing off as to how well she knows all her letters.
It can be bought from most toy shops - ours was a present but I believe it cost £6.99