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The Orange Tree puzzle train was a gift given to my son for his first birthday but due to him getting a lot of toys it only came out into use a couple of months ago.
What is it?
This is a wooden toy from the Orange Tree company; they state that all their toys are hand made with non toxic paint.
This is a push along train rather than a train that would go on a track. It has three sections the first is the engine and this has no bits that can be removed or built with. The next two wooden carriages are the puzzle element of the train. The two carriages have a brightly coloured base with three neutral wooden prongs that blocks are inserted over to make a rectangle. There are several ways this can be built up. Two large pieces are cut on an angle and need to fit correctly to lie flat. There are two small blocks also cut on an angle to be inserted. The blocks depending on their size either have one hole or two to go over the prongs. The blocks are a variety of colours including in our set green red blues and orange. There are also several neutral wooden blocks for contrast.
Playing with it and our experience
My son has loved playing with this toy since we first took it out of the box. The brightly coloured train appears to have caught his imagination well. He will often ask for it out to play with. The majority of the time he is happy to push along the carpet either the engine or one of the carriages.
He finds it difficult to put the engine and the carriages of the train together. This is because the middle section involves putting one end over the engine hook to hook it into place. At the other end of the carriage it then involves hooking the hole under the hook of the last carriage to put it into place. (boy that was a lot of hooks!) It is the combination of hooking under and over at different ends which means he finds it hard to hold it into place. At 19 months he understands the hooking under or over part but finds it hard to do both at once with one carriage. Once the train is put together for him he often finds it comes apart as he pushes it along. Now at first I wasn't sure if this is because he is playing rough with it, but having played with it myself I find if you are just holding the engine it easily becomes unhooked from the carriages as you try to turn the engine. This doesn't seem to bother him at the moment and he is happy just pushing the engine.
The puzzle element of the train again works well and though at the moment he rarely builds it in the correct way he enjoys building it up with the various blocks often hanging at jaunty angles. I think as he gets older he will gradually get this building up right
One of the things I am disappointed about with this train is that these puzzle blocks seem to be getting chipped very easily. The top colour of several of the blocks is starting to come off at the corners and reveal an under coat of white. This I don't think is very acceptable given that it has only been played with for 2-3 months at most. As it is a gift I am in the difficult position of being unable to speak to the retailer about it as I don't know where it was bought. I don't want to ask the gift giver because if his auntie knew this had happened with a toy she had bought him she would be very upset. We have several other Orange Tree toys and have never had this problem with them so who knows we may just of got one that had a fault. I may try to email the company direct about this and depending on if I get round to do so and what the outcome is I may update this review.
On some of the website I have seen selling this toy it says all three train parts have blocks that come apart on. Certainly on ours this isn't the case all parts of the engine are fixed in place and if you try to move them I am sure you would break the engine
I think this toy will be played with for a long time as boys and trains seem to go well together and he certainly loves playing with. I think though it doesn't have a track one of the things we will do as he gets older will be to draw a track on paper for him to see if he can push it along on those tracks.
A great boy's toy that has a few playing functions. However I would advise keeping your receipt and proof of purchase in case the blocks start to chip on your puzzle bits. Because of the chips I have marked this toy down to 3 stars instead of 4.
Though ours was a gift it can be bought on Amazon for £16.95
It's an irresistible puzzle train! All the blocks on the three carriages come apart to create hours of play value.