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My youngest son is obsessed with planes and trains and has obviously come to love Thomas the Tank engine in all forms. His birthday was close, and having given away all the Thomas the tank engine toy ideas to family and friends as gift ideas, I had left myself short of ideas, and had been forced to select an altogether different themed gift. However I was wandering around the market just before his birthday last year and found the Thomas the tank engine wooden puzzle on sale for £5.00; I was very impressed and had to buy it as an additional birthday present for my little man. I was really chuffed to have found a Thomas the tank engine gift for him after all. I have seen them on sale in amazon for around £9.00 so I did get a wonderful bargain, and my little one adores it. The product is very hardy and well-made and is designed to aid pre-schoolers with identification skills. Children have to find the correct space to place the pieces. Each of the eight pieces are a different shape and Thomas character which makes it easier. The characters included are Thomas (of course), Harold the helicopter, Percy, Bertie the bus, the fat controller, James and Spencer and it is very brightly coloured with the famous Thomas and friends characters making it very appealing to younger children. The board is made of what looks like ply wood and is around 30cm by 20cm and is less than 1cm in thickness and it does the job amicably. It is incredibly light and has rounded edges which mean there are no sharp or rough edges. Each piece has a small knob on it for little fingers to be able to pick up and place into the correct spaces, and they all fit very nicely into its correct spaces. This has been through the wars since it was purchased being dropped and thrown etc. However we have lost and found the puzzle piece countless times but this is to be expected. But it still looks to be in great condition.
I must admit I tend to be drawn more to the traditional and wooden toys simply because I usually find them to be better made and last significantly longer, but that is my preference. They always seem a little hardier.
My son now finds this incredibly easy to do, but when he first received it he would spend ages trying to work out which piece goes where. Now he can do it with ease, and even though he finds it easy he still loves to play with it. I consider this a brilliant buy and it very good at aiding preschool skills like dexterity, shape matching and for increasing concentration levels. Any Thomas the tank engine fan will love this and it would make fantastic Christmas present or stocking filler. I would say that this product would be perfect for any pre-schooler.
The product manufacturers do say that the product is not suitable for children under 36 months but I bought it for my son when he was 24 months old and I have no problems at all. It also says that it should only be used under adult supervision.
Overall I would definitely recommend this product.
In putting together a range of toys in our home for our nieces and nephews to play with when they come to stay, it was important to us that we bought an equal amount of both boys and girls related toys. Now being that all three of our nephews are mad on Thomas the Tank, despite their differing ages of 4 and 3, one such item that we put into our shopping basket was this Thomas the Tank Wooden play tray being that I remember a similar item existing in my parents house when we were children.
This game is quite simply a wooden puzzle which has a range of characters from the Thomas the Tank arranged as pieces on the board. The board is quite thick in depth and therefore in my experience it is quite sturdy in construction and well equipped to deal with three eager pairs of hands. Each of the eight pieces on the board is a character and these include; James, Percy, Thomas, Spencer and Emily the trains, Harold the helicopter, Bertie the Bus and the Fat Controller. Each character is printed in very bright and eye catching colours onto the different pieces and each has their name printed underneath. Although each of our nephews is well aware of the names of each character it is still useful to them to have the name in text as it allows them to spell the names, this is particularly true of the twins who are 4 years old and are now at school.
It is recommended that this game is not to be played by children under 36 months and should be used with direct adult supervision at all times.
==How Do You Play==
This is a very straightforward puzzle to play as it is simply a case of arranging the pieces on the floor and allowing the children to slot them back into their individual holes on the board. Each character has a shaped edge and varies in size to mean that they have to go in a certain place to fit back into the puzzle. To enable picking the pieces up, each character is also allocated a small yellow knob. The parts are all of a good size therefore they do not initiate a worry of swallowing the pieces although the boys are now getting past that age I believe.
Once all the pieces are back in place it is simply a case of doing the whole exercise again. This might sound a tad boring to an adult brain however in our experience the children love it and will often compete with each other to see how quickly they can slot the pieces back in. This is a great game as it is something that the children can play on their own if needs be, although we do find the occasional argument is inevitable as one of the boys gets their favourite character and the others want their turn to slot it into the board.
==Price and Availability==
We bought this game for around £6 from the Early Learning Centre around a year ago; however it is currently stocked on Amazon for £8. This is not a bad price in my opinion given the amount of hours it can be played and enjoyed.
Overall this is a brilliant game which is quick and easy to clear up when the boys go home and can simply be hidden away in the back of a cupboard. The game is very sturdy and well made and therefore we have had not breakages or damage done to any of the pieces plus the parts are big enough to ensure that they don't go missing down the back of the sofa.
This game is highly recommended for all lovers of Thomas the Tank and his friends; it therefore scores five stars from me.
Thanks for reading! x
This review is also posted on Ciao under the same user name.
My boys are both Thomas mad so when I came across this puzzle in toys r us I decided to purchase it for my eldest son for his second birthday. It cost around £6 and was a nice relief from the sea of plastic he received for his birthday.
With the set you receive a wooden tray for the puzzle pieces to be fitted into. This is not too thick but at the same time sturdy enough to be durable and light so little one can move it around easily. Then there are 8 puzzle pieces to be fitted into the tray these are all well loved characters from the famous TV show and include Thomas, the fat controller, Harold, Spencer, James, bertie the bus and Harold the helicopter.
Each puzzle piece has a small yellow knob on them for little one to pick the pieces up easily and place the back into the tray. I was initially worried this was a little on the small side but actually in play they seem to be perfect for toddlers small fingers to grip and move around easily.
Each piece fits well into the puzzle board not to small as to be a tight fit but still the puzzle looks complete when all pieces are in place and this makes it easy for children to move the pieces in and out of the puzzles easily. They are a good size so I do not need to worry about the pieces being eaten especially as I brought it for my son who was a year under the recommended age range.
Each puzzle piece is bright and colourful and so catches little ones eye especially if they are a Thomas fan as they will instantly recognise the characters from the show. Each piece varies is size there are engines with their full train included and other pieces that are just the front of the engine to help little one be able to recognise which piece goes where.
Also the engines all have their name printed on the pieces somewhere which although my eldest boy is not interested in this much anymore he does like to read the letters out to my youngest son to show how well he is getting on with his abc's which is lovely to watch.
My youngest son has bashed these pieces chewed them chucked them around tried picking at them and overall they are still in perfect condition. The pieces and the board itself are well rounded and there are no sharp pieces rough edges or anything else that could hurt little one.
As it is made of wood it is very durable which is great when intended for use with young children as they are often very rough with their toys but this has lasted 3 of my children and still is in very good condition. It has had hours of play weather that has been using it as intended and putting the pieces into place or as my youngest son likes to do slide them across the floor using them as trains.
My youngest son Logan used this the most although it was brought for my eldest son now 4 as soon as Logan turned 1 he was interested in the puzzle and although at first he had no idea about fitting the pieces on to the board he found lots of other uses for the board and puzzle pieces and as he has grown he has learnt what it is intended for.
My oldest boy was 2 when he received this and at first he loved it but he soon became board of it and it just sat in the toy box until it was used by my daughter and my youngest son. This makes me think the age recommendation suggested on Amazon is high as there are no tiny pieces to cause any harm to children under this age and by 3 my son shows it little interest unless his brother or sister are playing with it of course then he loves it.
Would I recommend this puzzle tray that is a big yes although I believe the age recommendation of 3 is too high on Amazon when you receive the set it actually states 2 plus which is a lot more suited to how it was used in our house. This is a great first puzzle for any Thomas fan its bright simple yet provides hours of fun the only hard part is trying to find all the pieces after my little one plays hide and seek with them. It is to be used under adult supervision but by 18 months it can be used independently with just a watchful eye while they are playing.
Ravensburger offer a wide range of toys for children. They specialise in jigsaw and puzzle type toys.
~Thomas The Tank Playtray~
This playtray measures approx 30 x 20 cm and is aimed at children over the age of 3. It is made of high quality wood pieces. This particular playtray features 8 characters from Thomas the Tank.
The characters are presented on wooden pieces with a small knob for your child to grip them. The characters that are included at Bertie, Spencer, Emily, Harold, Thomas, Percy, Fat Controller (and the thin one on the same piece) and James.
The actual playtray features different sized slots which your child must place the relevant character in to in order to complete the puzzle. This playtray is designed to develop a childs concentrate, character recognisation and shape matching skills. It also encourages your child to use a pincer grip in order to manipulate the character into the slot.
The Thomas playtray is available from Amazon and is priced at £7.99 with free delivery.
Being an avid Thomas fan, my son was pleased to receive this playtray for Christmas 2010. He was a few months short of the recommended age for this toy but was always supervised and I do not feel that there is any hazzards associated with this toy.
This is a classic toy which was well loved by my son for several months but he has mastered and completed it so much that he no longer shows an interest in it and has agreed for it to be taken to a friends home for her son to get use from. Our playtray was a gift though I do feel £7.99 is a fair price to pay given the quality of this toy.
~Quality and Play~
It doesn't require assembly or batteries and is ready to be played with straight from the packaging. The wood used to create this tray is lovely and smooth with smooth edges and corners. It is of a high quality and is fairly lightweight. The tray is a decent size for one child to play at anyone time. The character pieces are a good size and the knob on top is rounded and perfect for a young child to pick up without dropping all the time.
The character pieces are very colourful and of a reasonable thickness. They are made of a smooth textured wood and have a glossy finish. The size of the characters varies with Emily and Percy being the smallest pieces and Spencer being the largest and taking up quite a bit of room of the tray. My son appreciated that whilst Thomas, James and Percy were present, there was a good mix of the less well known characters. He adores Harold and was pleased to see him there. The character names are written on some pieces so that Mummy knows who is who. The variation is good.
The first time my son played with this tray, he was a bit unsure what to do. He was only 2 and a half at the time and needed guiding so Mummy showed him how to do one character and we went from there. Now he could do it with his eyes shut! The wooden pieces vary in shape and I find it good that they are facing different ways too as it allows more scope for my son to concentrate on where a piece should go.
At first my son got a little annoyed when a piece wouldn't fit into any space. It took a while for him to identify the different empty slots and it encouraged him to keep going and find a way to make a character fit. After several attempts, he was more confident and would try to place a character in a shape then lift it back up and try it somewhere else until he got it correct. It got easier for him when most of the shapes were in place as there were less obstacles. My son was always proud (and so was Mummy) when he completed the puzzle.
The characters fit neatly into their slot and the completed tray looked good. Each character looks exactly as it would in the show and great attention has been paid to the small details of the engines and other characters. They can tipped out ready to start again.
After a year or so of owning this playtray, the wooden and pieces are still in excellent condition and the colour is intact. My son enjoyed playing with his playtray and was able to do so from 2 and a half. He got bored after a few months and wanted something more challenging so moved on to proper jigsaw puzzles which encourage his mind to work a bit harder.
Overall a basic yet fun toy which encourages developement and well worth the cost as it will last to be passed on to other children.
Thanks for reading x
My second child Logan was 19 months at Christmas, what do you get for a child that age? Luckily, he had just shown an interest in Thomas the Tank Engine (more so the theme tune) which proved useful to my family and they excitedly began purchasing as many Thomas related toys as they could muster. Logan received this lovely wooden Thomas the Tank Engine jigsaw (or playtray as some call them) as a gift from my sister, his much loved Aunty Emma.
Ravensburger began in Germany in 1883 and was founded by Otto Maier. They distribute to more than ninety countries worldwide and are the number one bestsellers in Europe for puzzles. I was already accustomed to Ravensburger, my eldest son is seven and has had many cardboard jigsaws over the years made by this company in many designs, such as Disney/ Pixar Cars and in many shapes and sizes to suit his age. This was the first time though that I had ever seen one of these toddler designed woodern jigsaws made by them. My sister bought it from Amazon for £7.99. I think this is a very reasonable price as they cost the same in the Early Learning Centre for this size but without the well known characters.
The Toys R Us website advises that it is for ages two and up, although confusingly, Amazon state from the age of three. Logan is now a month away from his second birthday and can complete it without help so I agree with Toys R Us! The lift out shapes vary in size but none are what could be considered dangerously small. They are just outlines of each character, so they fit into a gap, rather than the usual key shaped jigsaw pieces which connect together. Jigsaws like these aid young toddlers with their fine motor skills and dexterity, it's a joy to watch them over time learn to turn the shapes so they fit into the correct holes and actually stop and deduce which piece suits which hole accordingly. In the three and a half months since Logan received this I have watched him grow from not having a clue but enjoying the pictures, to knowing exactly where each piece sits and placing them correctly with ease. Each piece has a character printed on and their names are also shown which when repeatedly read out helps them to familiarise with them.
I've always found the usual Ravensburger Jigsaws to be as good quality as a cardboard product can be and this wooden version follows suit. It measures 29cm x 20.5cm and looks like it's made of plywood. It has been finished well, the edges are slightly rounded and are fairly smooth. The top and the removable pieces have been thinly varnished, the pictures underneath are bright, vibrant and nicely detailed, none of our pieces have a scratch on them even though they do get quite a bit of rough treatment. The little yellow pegs which are used to lift the pieces are quite small, but are securely fixed to the centre of each piece. They are very close to the wood and are difficult to get in the mouth. None of our pegs have come loose at all and the tiny size encourages the important pincer grip. There are eight pieces, Thomas, Percy, Emily, Harold, Spencer, Bertie, James and Sir Topham Hat. A couple of the pieces are similar in shape and size (Percy and Emily) and some vary from one extent to the other (Emily is the smallest piece and Spencer which is the largest) This all aids in a toddlers concentration and helps them to realise cause and effect, i.e. This shape doesn't fit, what if I turn it?/ try another piece?
At first Logan was mainly familiar with just Thomas and Percy, with these being push along toys he already had in the toy box. He now knows all the characters, partly thanks to the DVD and books handed down from my eldest, but also because the names are printed underneath each pull out piece which I tend to repeat a few times as it is removed/ replaced. This hopefully should help with his vocabulary skills, although at present 'Thomas' is still 'Nonas' and 'Spencer' just earns me a very bemused stare.
When Logan began using this jigsaw, he recognised Thomas and enjoyed that he could make a little mess by picking out the pieces and throwing them about, but that was the extent of his excitement. In just a couple of months though he is now able to engage his brain and think about where each piece must go and if they may need rotating to fit properly. I'm amazed at his progress and now looking for more difficult wooden jigsaws that can provide more of a challenge and aid his learning.
As you've probably guessed, a resounding yes! The simplest ideas are the usually the best, and although this has no bright lights or attention seeking music, what it does have is time tested learning factors and if you can find a character your child is interested in, a great chance for you to interact with your loved one, which can only encourage them more.