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We bought this for my daughter's 4th birthday back in January. She already had her fair share of jigsaws ranging from small 12 piece ones up to large wooden ones consisting of 45 pieces, but I wanted to get her something which I thought would be more of a challenge but also provide an interesting picture to look at. So after reading good reviews on this particular puzzle, this is what we opted for.
When it arrived I was pretty disappointed to realise that it was actually quite a large floor puzzle with just 25 pieces, this must have been something I had overlooked when reading the information on the internet. I was trying to move away from oversized jigsaws and felt my 4 year old was past doing puzzles of this size, and I know she gets more enjoyment from puzzles with much smaller pieces which seem to provide more of a challenge.
Made by Orchard Toys it is classed as a 'shaped floor puzzle' and measures 61x42cm approximately and consists of 25 odd shaped pieces. The reason they are odd shaped is because the completed jigsaw is in the shape of a house so you have slanted parts for the roof. It is recommended for ages 3-6 years. The jigsaw comes in a sturdy cardboard box with a top flap opening, which provides the first problem - neither of my daughters seem to have the skills to open this flap, or close it, so if they want the jigsaw out they have to ask me.
The puzzle itself as I said above consists of 25 large pieces, and these are made from tough cardboard and coated in a shiny gloss. They feel very robust and do not bend under a certain amount of pressure. The picture you end up with is very colourful and detailed with lots to look at; a cross section of a doll's house, so you can see the garage, kitchen, hallway, living room, bathroom, upstairs landing, bedroom, and attic. And in each room there are various bits and pieces that you would find in a normal house, such as someone vacuuming, someone watching TV, someone having a bath, plus all the accessories you would expect to see in a busy home such as toys, pets, kitchen equipment, shoes under the bed etc. There really is a lot to look at and take in, and my kids do tend to enjoy spotting various things located around the jigsaw.
Each room has a different coloured theme, for example the kitchen is blue, and the bathroom is green, the bedroom is pink and the living room is purple. So you would expect this makes the puzzle a little bit easier to complete because when you compare your pieces to the picture on the box you can make judgements about which piece goes where, and you can locate all the pieces with green on for instance and deduce that these all form part of the bathroom. But my children still tend to struggle with putting the pieces together, and I find this strange because they are usually really good at completing jigsaws, especially my 4 year old.
***Hit or Miss?***
To be honest, this has not been a hit with my kids, I'm not sure whether it is because of the size of it, or perhaps the subject matter does not particularly interest them. The size is a big issue for me because when you are trying to complete a jigsaw with your kids you obviously have all the pieces spread out on the floor, and because these are large pieces forming part of a large jigsaw, your eyes have to span a wide area looking for parts of the puzzle. And although you might think that because the pieces are large they are easier to spot, it just doesn't seem to work that way for us. A small child trying to complete a jigsaw that could ultimately cover an area larger than they can reach is not particularly fun, and I have watched my kids scooting around the half completed jigsaw to locate another piece which is further away than they can reach, and then they end up kicking the half completed puzzle apart in their quest to collect the next piece - the result - tantrum city.
I think the picture is great and the idea of it being a dolls house is fantastic, it is just the sheer size of it that seems to put the girls off. My children have many jigsaws which they often enjoy completing, and sadly this is one that does not come out as often as I would have liked (seeing as though I spent good money on it!)
On the back of the box there is an activity guide which suggests various things for you to do with your child as they are completing the puzzle, and also once it is completed. Things such as searching for particular pieces, searching for things located within the puzzle, counting the rooms in the house and lots of other questions based on the contents of the house. I think this is a good idea because it gets parents more involved with what their children are doing and encourages conversations and imagination between parent and child. I have done it with my kids and it is surprising how much they enjoyed looking for the various things within the jigsaw.
Currently available on Amazon for £8.75 (April 2011)
My daughter was growing out of her old easy puzzles so I wanted something that would challenge her but not be too difficult so that she would lose heart and be discouraged.
I found this one is a charity shop for just £2! It usually sells for aound £9 so I figured it would be worth while giving it a try.
It is a jigsaw showing the inside of someones house. You can see every room ( garage, kitchen, hallway, front room, bedroom, landing, bathroom and attic) and there are also people and animals inside.
The jigsaw contains 25 pieces so i was a good size for my daughter to start with and the size is 61 x 42 cm so it is an odd shape but this just adds to the interest of the puzzle. It is made out of recycled card so won't bend!
Each room is a different colour and there are different things to talk about in each one. You can complete this jigsaw by colour, room or by doing the edges first.
My daughter found it easier to use the colours as a guide when she first started.
There is a lot of detail in each room of the house and it was good for my daughter to see how other people live- she found it odd that there were so many women living in one house and yet no men! The people in the house are of different races as well so that was another point of interest.
The jigsaw comes with an activity guide which highlights things that you can discuss with your child.
My daughter loved to complete the puzzle and then cover up a room and see if she could remember what had been in that room. We also used the animals and people in the house to practice her counting. My son used to separate the pieces into colours for us so he was learning without even realising it!
My daughter grew out of this puzzle after a year or so. The age range is for children 3 years and up although with help you can complete this at an earlier age. The problem we found was that she knew what piece went where because of the colours, even if she wasn't completing it by colour! It became a bit of a habit to automatically reach for the same colours.
I would recommend this puzzle to a little girl who is keen to try the next stage of puzzles. This one really built my daughters confidence to try harder puzzles.
My daughter was given this puzzle at Christmas. She had long since mastered the simple wooden peg puzzles and two and three piece jigsaws which she liked, so I thought it might be fun for her to move on and try something bigger and more complicated. I didn't choose this puzzle, but had asked her uncle to get one for her, and when I saw it I thought it was the ideal choice. With the suggested age being 3 - 6 I expected it might be a bit hard for her at first as she was not quite 2 and a half when she got this. Personally I think the average six year old would find this a bit too easy, based on the fact that my little one now finds it no problem to complete alone. It's a 25 piece shaped puzzle from Orchard toys, currently available on Amazon priced £7.99, which I think is a reasonable enough price for such a nice jigsaw. The box says it's a floor puzzle although I don't know why it's called this rather than just a jigsaw, ours is usually done on the floor as children like to space out all the pieces, but there's no reason it can't be done on a table or board either. The size is 61 x 42cm, (24 x16.5ins).
It's shaped like a house - a doll's house, although there is little to suggest this other than the figures being a bit simplistic with some stitching detail on their arms. I think my daughter thinks of it as just a house. That's not to criticize it in any way because the picture is very good. It's attractively drawn with lots of colour and detail. There are plenty of things to spot that aren't obvious at first glance, like the mouse under a chest of drawers or the spider in a corner - good for playing I-Spy games when it's done. My daughter likes to tell stories about what's happening in the different rooms, and there is something happening in each of them - someone vacuuming the hallway, someone watering plants etc. The house consists of a living room, kitchen, garage, hallway and stairs, upstairs landing, bathroom, bedroom, and a roof with chimney and attic rooms. Its shape makes it a bit different and maybe a bit easier than standard square puzzles, although the roof always ends up being done last in our house and seems slightly trickier than the rest, (the word 'slanted' has entered my daughter's vocabulary since doing this). One of the things I like about it is the colour scheme. Each room is a different colour, so for example the bedroom has pink walls, bedding, curtains and knick knacks, the kitchen is very blue and so on. This is helpful when doing the puzzle as you can organise the pieces in little colour piles before putting them together, or ask, 'can you find a green piece?', for example, to help things along. The pieces vary in size and shape, I would say they average at roughly the size of a toddler's outstretched hand. They're made of thick cardboard so are nice and tactile, just right for little hands. They fit together well, which you would expect to be a prerequisite of any jigsaw, but I have found that's not always the case. After three and a half months ours is still in very good condition except for one piece which has been deliberately bent at the knobbly bits and another which has been slightly gnawed, (must feed child more often).
As it's meant to be a dolls house, I think it's aimed more at girls than boys, but it's not an especially 'girly' jigsaw. Granted there is a pink bedroom with a ballerina poster and the characters all seem to be female, but there's also a garage with car and tools in. I see no good reason why a little boy wouldn't enjoy doing it too.
The first time my daughter did this I gave her plenty of help as I felt it was too much for her to tackle on her own. Once it was done she was very pleased with herself and began to take it out everyday and do it two or three times, so it's been interesting to watch her visibly progress from being pretty overwhelmed to being able to do it solo. It wasn't long before she could put the picture together on her own, albeit with an adult helping to sort the pieces out beforehand. Now she gets the pieces out and knows to turn them all the right way up, she spaces them out and picks the pieces for one room then goes on from there and it's finished in a few minutes. She no longer gets it out every day, but it's still liked and played with quite often.
There is an 'activity guide' on the back of the box which is basically a few simple ideas for games like I-Spy, or questions to ask your child whilst doing or after completion of the jigsaw. It's not exactly a selling point, but it's a decent enough afterthought and I have used some of the suggestions/questions mentioned when playing with my daughter. The box also mentions that this toy has been carefully designed to develop manual dexterity, observational skills and hand-eye co-ordination; taking credit for the general benefits of jigsaws there I think. There are lots of benefits for children, (and adults), in doing jigsaws; spatial awareness, problem solving, shape recognition to name a few and many people see them as educational toys, which is I think is fine as long as they're fun too.
Orchard do a wide range of jigsaws for children of different ages. This one comes in a suitably wide colourful box with a plastic carry handle on top and various symbols on the bottom which tell me, amongst other things that it is a British Product and is 75% recycled - presumably this refers to the pieces and not just the box. It also says not suitable for under 3's. Our box has been sat on and bashed about and is currently aided with sellotape, but still functional.
Since receiving this my daughter has been given two more jigsaws - another 25 piece one but with small pieces which is far too frustrating for her and has been put away 'til a later date, and a similar sized 35 piece one, also of a house, but which is still a bit beyond her to do alone - she likes her dolls house puzzle the best and who can blame her? It's a good sized, well made, fun jigsaw, just right for a first 'proper' puzzle.