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My eldest received this puzzle ball last Christmas. This is priced between £5-£11 depending on where you shop, and is aimed at children aged 6 plus. My son was just a bit past 5 when he got it, and really, I think he would have got a lot more out of this puzzle if he had been a bit bigger, even though he is quite bright for his age and normally has no trouble with jigsaws of this number of pieces, the actual dexterity needed for these puzzle balls is what sets the age recommendation, and here, a fair amount of adult help was required.
This set out looking a good buy. Like other puzzle balls the pieces are numbered 1-40 to help you work out where the pieces need to go when building. Unlike other puzzle balls which mostly seem to be round in shape, this one is shaped more like a pear, being a lot wider at the head end of the rocket rather than the tail. The pieces are made from a tough plastic type material and when it is built it is quite a strong structure and it looks very nice as a display piece. The pieces were reasonably ok to put together until we got to the last few pieces, with the last one being a bit of a pig to slot in. The colours are really quite vibrant, and have not faded through being left on display, though we haven't actually tested colour fastness by leaving on a window sill in bright sunshine.
There were some extra accessories that really make this set look a lot better. 3 fins are provided which slot into little holes with pegs, these go one each side, and one on the top. There is also a piece that looks like rocket burnets, which pegs onto the tail end of the spaceship to make it look more realistic. The ship also comes with a little oval shaped stand, which the finished rocket sits on very nicely.
I have been impressed with the finished strength of the puzzle ball. My youngest is only just 4, and very rough when he is playing even when he knows he needs to try and be careful. He also has struggled with the concept that the finished spaceship is really an ornament rather than a toy, so this has been played with, and it has survived without any bits snapping off even though the fins do not look that strong. It has also been dropped on the floor and stayed in one piece.
This was a bit of fun for the boys when they were building it, and they have enjoyed playing with it afterwards. As it is only the same size as my flat hand, it is not so big we are struggling to work out where to display it, and it looks good on display in their bedroom.
I don't really get why puzzle balls exist to be honest, I prefer jigsaws to be something they can do a few times quite easily, but the boys did enjoy it, so I am going to give it 4 stars. It isn't the dust attracting waste of space I imagined it to be, and it does look good.