**It's Timmy Time!**
My youngest daughter received this Timmy Time jigsaw box set when she was 2, it's actually recommended for age 3 and above, but she's pretty good at jigsaws so I assumed she would be fine with these ones, and she is to a point.
What you get in the box is 4 character jigsaws with from the Cbeebies show Timmy Time - Timmy the lamb, Paxton the piglet, Mittens the kitten and Ruffy the puppy, and each is of varying difficulty level. Sometimes with a box set such as this, you have the worry of the pieces getting mixed up, but with these 4 jigsaws it is easy to distinguish between each puzzle because they are all very simple with different coloured backgrounds, so you know if you see a green piece it belongs to Timmy, or a red piece it belongs to Ruffy and so on. My kids have no issues with sorting out the jigsaws before they attempt to fix them together.
**Simplicity Is Not Always The Answer**
Each jigsaw is about the size of an A5 piece of paper, but each has a different amount of pieces - Timmy has 6, Paxton has 8, Mittens has 10, and Ruffy has 12 pieces. Each jigsaw is either a face shot, or a head and shoulder shot, with a different coloured plain background. Now you may think this makes the jigsaws quite simple to do because there is no fuss, but it actually makes it more difficult, especially for a child.
The reason for this is because each separate piece looks exactly the same. For instance if you were trying to complete the 'Ruffy' puzzle, and you needed to find the top part of his head, you would be looking for a piece with a bit of brown on, and a bit of red - doh!- every piece looks like that! And this is the same for each jigsaw, so my 2 year old really struggles to find the piece she is looking for. This is exaggerated on the puzzles with more pieces because these pieces are smaller and all look identical.
Timmy and Paxton are easier, especially Timmy because he only has the 6 pieces to fit together, so my youngest can complete this one easily. And she could complete the Paxton one if she wanted to, but she's not too keen on the pig so she tends to avoid this one anyway.
To be honest I have not been that impressed with this set. My 4 year old quite likes them and will sit and complete each puzzle, and she can be very methodical when completing jigsaw puzzles - she will try every piece in a slot until she finds one that fits. So the fact that all the pieces look the same does not bother her too much, but I know she doesn't find these jigsaws as enjoyable as some of her other ones - she likes the chase and likes to search for a particular piece, it is very difficult to use that approach here. I even struggle to put the pieces together; it's sometimes difficult to work out if the curvy orange bit is part of Mittens head or her chin, it's all very complicated!
My 2 year old shows interest when we first get the jigsaws out of the box, but once we have done Timmy and half of Mittens her interest lies elsewhere...I will admit here that her attention span is not the best, but we have other jigsaws in the house which she will sit down and complete with no wandering eyes. We have a 24 piece In The Night Garden one which she can actually do herself from start to finish. So her lack of interest in these Timmy Time puzzles does not bode well for the rating of this product.
What I also dislike is that each puzzle is not quite square, they are all a bit angular, and although I suppose this shouldn't affect the difficulty of the puzzles, it really does, don't ask me how but it just does. Jigsaws should be square or rectangular, not trapezium or parallelograms!
Despite my reservations about the style of the puzzles, the quality is pretty good. The pieces are made from thick cardboard, and have a nice glossy finish. A few pieces have been exposed to my daughter's teeth and survived relatively intact so that's pretty good. One drawback is that they are quite lightweight and this makes it very difficult to complete the puzzles on a carpet without the puzzle falling apart every time you fix a new piece into position. This sends both my daughters wild with frustration - whatever happened to good old fashioned jigsaws that could be completed inside the box?!
I think my children and I would have liked this set of jigsaws a lot more if they had been merged into one large puzzle set in a scene at Timmy's school, and presented in a box which would fit the completed jigsaw inside. So really, our verdict is that the jigsaws are okay, but the phrase 'could do much better' springs to mind.
**Price and Availability**
Available for £4.99 at various online retailers.
I have also seen it in WHSmith and Tesco.