* Prices may differ from that shown
I do like to buy my son jigsaws and have done ever since he was small really. I think they are a great way of developing problem solving skills whilst playing and as such I bought my son a couple of more advanced jigsaws for Christmas with the thought that we could spend time doing them together. One of the jigsaws that I bought for him was the Horrible Science branded one named beastly body bits and this is my review of the item.
The name of the jigsaw may well give you a few clues about what kind of jigsaw it is you are getting but for those who are not aware of the "Horrible" range of items they serve the purpose of educating about science in a bit of a gory way but one which is good at getting children interested in what they are learning! This Horrible science jigsaw is actually the first thing I have purchsased for my son in the range simply because I think at eight years old he is still a little young for the details in the books and like but it is something I will look to in the future for sure. The range is made by Galt a brand which is well respected I think.
This beastly body bits jigsaw comes in a large cardboard box which is pretty thin but which is quite wide and long so it isn't the easiest to store. We have a section in my display unit which we store games and jigsaws and it does fit in there but only just. The box is glossy and feels really well made so I think as long as you take care of it then it would last years to be honest. The box has a good large picture of the jigsaw you are going to be making and in this case it is basically a mad scientist who is working on a human Frankenstein type body! You can see all of the insides of the body and certain parts are pointed out in smaller diagrams across the jigsaw such as the heart, liver, intestines, brain, lungs etc! It is all a bit gory looking but strangely not in a way that makes me feel sick or anything! It is all a bit cartoon looking which I think makes it ok.
The jigsaw has 300 pieces and so I think it is a bit much to expect an eight year old to tackle on their own and so me and my son did this one together. Initially we had to open up a plastic bag with all the pieces in and whilst I was pleased they seemed good size pieces I was a bit disappointed that some of the pieces were sticking in to one another and did not come apart easily and my son bent the ends of a couple of pieces trying to get them apart. The pieces were nice and shiny and glossy looking though. They felt good quality and thick and the only disappointment was them sticking together as I already said.
We spent a while sorting out the edge pieces for the jigsaw as we always do when we build one and once we got the edges of the jigsaw sorted I was pleased to see that it was a good size which kind of made the large box feel a bit more justifyable! The actual dimensions of the jigsaw are 47cm by 67cm so it is a good size really but not so big that it is going to take over your lounge like some jigsaws can be! We probably spent about an hour and a half working on this jigsaw together and at a couple of my points my son needed encouragement to carry on trying because a lot of the pieces in the jigsaw were a bit samey and it felt as though we were never going to get there! Both he and I were pleased we persevered with it though because there is a sense of achievement that comes with completing an activity that you've found a bit tricky I think.
After we completed the jigsaw we spent a little time looking through the leaflet that came with the jigsaw and it talks about how the mad scientist created the monster but it includes details about what the body parts do but it comes in a way which is interesting and fun because you are thinking about the monster! There is also a quiz included in there with answers and some of the answers even made me squirm a little bit! My son seemed to take it all in his stride though!
The jigsaw is available on amazon for £8.64 currently and I think that is a fair price to pay to be honest for a jigsaw which you can do with your child initially but which hopefully they will tackle themselves too when they are old enough. I wouldn't buy it for a child younger than seven or eight to be honest but I think this is down to personal preference. I think for a child to do it on their own they would need to be nine or ten perhaps.
Thank you for reading my review!
My son has been begging for Jigsaws with more pieces as most of ours only 100 - 120 pieces, so when I saw this in a charity shop - I snapped it up. I believe I paid £1 - which is very fair as the full price for this is £8.98 from Amazon. This puzzle is printed on a tick and good quality card - as I would expect from Horrible Science. There is no worry of the edges of the puzzle bending or fraying with normal use.
I really like jigsaw puzzles. They seem to be less popular than they once were, but there are many benefits to playing with puzzles of any kind. In fact the use of puzzles and board games is considered one of the 3 greatest things you can do for your child's education ( the other two are reading to and with your child and family days out). All puzzles teach spacial awareness, problem solving, analytical skills, maths skills, sequencing , logical thought and good old fashioned patience. Younger children will also develop motor skills and hand - eye coordination through play with puzzles. Puzzles can also be a wonderful family activity. We spend most evenings doing something together. Often it is just watching videos or playing video games, or marathon book reading sessions, but I find puzzles and games are a wonderful way for the family to spend time together and interact with each other. Puzzles encourage conversation and cooperation in a way that modern electronic entertainment simply can not match.
In addition to the benefits of puzzles in general, many puzzles also attempt to teach skills like science or geography. This puzzle, as I expect you have guessed from the title, focuses on science, in this case the human body. The artist who drew this picture has gone out of his way to be revolting - but that is exactly why children like it. The illustration depicts a mad scientist in the middle of a Frankenstein like experiment. Some consideration has been given to modesty, and our corpse is wearing knickers. Mr Body has been cut apart many times and sewn back together, or perhaps built from the parts of many bodies - as evidenced by the stitches. His entire chest cavity is opened up revealing all of his internal organs. Our scientist holds a severed hand in his own hand - perhaps ready to sew it on. The toes are missing from one foot, but a jar of toes is nearby - right next to the jar of leaches. Electrodes are attached to his head, and one is bruised and swollen half shut, but the other is open wide and the word "ERK" in a speech bubble while the mad scientist shouts in triumph "He's Alive".
The best parts of this puzzle are the circles with various organs. The liver is shown oozing bile, and the brain along with labels of each part, the lungs are wheezing, the skin is shown with a puss filled spot, an oozing sweat gland and a small bug. Boys being boys though, the organs involved in excrement got the most interest. Two hands are shown squeezing the kidneys as wee leaks from the bladder. The stomach is shown churning, and then we can see a brown liquid squelching and squeezing its way through the small intestine and finally coming out the large intestine as poo. The dog eating a pile of intestine was also very popular, as the cat looks on in disgust.
I am sure children will pick up some knowledge of body organs and functions just by looking at them as they build this puzzle. My children do have several books on this, so are pretty familiar with the ideas anyway, but this does present a fun an easy way for children to learn about the body. A nice thing about learning through puzzles is it does have components of several learning styles There is obviously visual learning involved, but I think this does involve some aspects of tactile learning as well. Puzzles also allow many children who have difficulty sitting still for a lesson to absorb much more as it is a far more active way of learning. But learning with this, or any other themed jigsaw is at it's best with an adult helping and talking as they go along , bringing in auditory learning as well as a great deal of additional information.
We have had a great many lively conversations centered around this puzzle. I would make a brief comment on each body part as we worked on that part of the puzzle, but most importantly, I answer any questions they might have. My four year old will joyfully talk you through the whole process of digestion and elimination, and I believe verbalising a topic is also an excellent way to commit the facts to memory.
This puzzle usually takes close to two hours to complete, but that is with a four year old helping, a lot of talking and silliness involved as well as breaks for snacks - a bit of poo, blood and guts isn't enough to put my sons off eating. This puzzle is recommended for ages 8+ and I feel that is a fair assessment of age range if the child will be doing this alone. My oldest is 7 and I think he would have had some difficulty doing this alone and he never does sit down and do these puzzles alone yet. That said - we do find it more fun as family activity so there isn't any reason for him to work on it alone. I am quite sure he could do this on his if he wanted to badly enough, but I do not think his interest in it would last long enough to complete alone once he started getting frustrated with difficult bits. I believe a child who really enjoys doing jigsaws alone frequently would be able to do this by age 7 though - perhaps even age 6. I also feel if a parent is willing to help even very young children can get involved. My youngest was only 3 when we bought this - and he did need a lot of help - but he still had quite a bit of fun as well.
I am sure a few children might find this scene a bit too disgusting. If your child is very squeamish about internal organs, then this obviously is not the best way to introduce the subject - but I think most children find disgusting good fun. I feel the amount of information specifically relating to science is limited, and most children would learn more from a good book, but a puzzle is a good way to break things up a bit, and keep learning fun - and of course I feel all puzzles have real value in education - or just as a fun family activity.