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Baby CrazyEgg has had a fortnight of developing in leaps and bounds, or perhaps I should say crawls and spins: the crawling is less lurchy, and she can go straight not just diagonally, she can go from sitting to crawling and back, she can wrinkle her nose whilst smiling and today she took the circle shape out of the Wibbly Pig Peg Puzzle...and put it back. (Applause) And took it out. And put it back. (Standing ovation).
I thought it best to commemorate the occasion via a review. As with many of Baby CrazyEgg's toys this was one that she received for her first birthday which means we have had it for just over four months, and that she has played with it (in corrected terms) between the ages of 9 and 13 months. The puzzle is 21cm x 21cm and made of plywood. I am not sure how the picture has been put on, but it has a glossy finish and there is no sign of any peeling, indeed it does not seem that the picture can peel off: it is secure. The puzzle has four lift-out shapes each with a small wooden peg: a star, the circle- of course-, a triangle and a rectangle. These are numbered 1-4 and each features a picture of Wibbly Pig- the character created by Mick Inkpen- in a number of guises. Under the shapes there are further pictures which, if you have discussed the pictures on the shapes themselves with your child, elicit many answers to the problems posed.
For example, on the star-shaped number one puzzle piece, Wibbly Pig has a funny helmet on that covers his entire head. Where might he be going? ...(Lift puzzle piece)..Of course, to the moon! In fact now I look closely I see that Wibbly Pig's outfits are all simply hats. He is otherwise nude except for piece four, where in addition to his Cowboy Hat, he also wears a waistcoat. It looks like a cow skin one. Well, I'm sure you can imagine this throws up all manner of discussions. Particularly when you lift the puzzle piece to find four horses: Rocking Horses, no less. Truly, mind-bending stuff. The other two pieces for those of you who like all the facts, are the circle where Wibbly dons a safari hat and then two tigers are revealed underneath, and number three, the triangle, where he puts on a clown hat and underneath we find three clowns.
I have already revealed that it was only today that Baby CrazyEgg figured out that she can put the circle shape back in the circular space. Up until now the main interest has been in removing the pieces and sucking or chewing them, the favourite for these purposes being the star shape. Proof of the quality of the puzzle lies in the fact that although the back of the star shows very, very slight signs of wear, the picture is still, well, picture perfect. However, there is a problem with the star and I do not know whether it is as a result of the machinations of the manufacturer or the attempted mastication at the jaws of Baby CrazyEgg. The problem is that it will only go in one way, and I cannot decide whether this is because it has warped through too much dribble or not. An argument for saying it is design and not dribble is the fact that it will only fit in with the number one the correct way up. Certainly, this fact renders it the hardest piece for a baby to get right. The circle is the easiest, I'm hoping for the rectangle or triangle next, but the star, well I think success with that particular piece is probably many months away. There are signs that Baby CrazyEgg knows what should happen, but after repeated attempts she simply hurls either the puzzle piece or the puzzle board away in disgust. This latter behaviour is worth noting I feel: this puzzle can be the cause of frustration and may be best administered in small doses depending on the age and ability (in terms of dexterity and spatial awareness) of your child.
It is worth noting that the background colour on each puzzle piece is the same as the colour underneath the shape which may help with matching the correct pieces.
Her other early occupation with this toy consisted of her removing the pieces and then hitting them on the board repeatedly with no apparent inkling that they could be put back, so you see, progress has most definitely been made.
I consulted various websites to find the price of this puzzle and it seems to retail at between £6 and £8. I also noted a discrepancy in the intended age range- Boots site says suitable from 6 months, whereas other sites said 18 months. I think we might manage the star at 18 months, but certainly there has been fun with the puzzle already, so 9-12 months has suited us.
I would recommend this puzzle as it has simple shapes, but plenty to talk about. Far preferable to four plain shapes I feel. In fact, the talk can be used to ebb that frustration I wrote about above: another good point.
Help your child to learn and have fun counting. While playing with this puzzle children learn to recognise and assign colours, shapes and numbers. This encourages concentration, pride in achievement and a desire to learn, boosting self confidence and cognitive learning. Features - Suitable from 18 months+ - Traditional Wooden Toy - Classic Wibbly Pig design