0

Toy Review: Super Shapes by ToyKraft

{Alert: This is a product review where the ToyKraft sent us a few products for review. This is not a sponsored post and our review is not affected by external factors.}

V got his first puzzle when he was a little over 2.5 years old. The puzzle box came with a set of 3 puzzles, each having 4-6 pieces to fit into a picture frame. The box said it was for children above 3 and so even though the milestone was a few months away, I said, “Why not? Let’s see what he makes of it!”

Puzzles, as they should intrigue V and so I have carefully gathered age appropriate puzzles that challenge and occupy him. And like is practice with many of our toys and games, we rope in a story element. For example in a colour matching puzzle set, we talk about the images and objects and try to recall a story in which it appeared. If we can’t figure out a story where we have seen it, then we try and makeup a situation where the object can be used.

Puzzles by now are our favourite playmates. Puzzles for a toddler are great for concentration, logic, hand and eye coordination and memory. And over a period of time we have graduated from wooden puzzle boards, to simple puzzles and memory games. And I am always on the lookout for some thing new and exciting.

When ToyKraft approached me for a toy review I asked for products that explore the creativity in a child and have applied storytelling.

Here is what they sent me!

SUPER SHAPES from TOYKRAFT

What is it about?
At the heart of it, Super Shapes is a puzzle set about shapes. With 20 shapes ranging from basic to innovative, the shapes contain 2 pieces each. So besides the square, circle, rectangle and triangle, there is the leaf, shell shaped, organic, 5-point star & 6-point star besides others.

Learning Shapes is Fun!

Learning Shapes is Fun!

What We Did With It

The shapes are colour-coordinated and pretty easy for a child to sort and put together. The upper part of the puzzle piece has eyes and the lower piece has the mouth, making the whole puzzle look like a face with the connector in between becoming the nose. With both pieces put together, the face shows up quite a unique expression! We used this to discuss expressions, trying to make them ourselves!

20150111-133249.jpg

20150111-133452.jpgBut then that’s about learning shapes! Over a period of time, V transformed it into a memory game of sorts by turning the shapes overleaf, such that all looked white (so there was no colour matching for him anymore) and now he really had to match shapes objectively.

What happens next is the best part. By putting together two disparate shapes, one can come up with a third figure that looks like a quirky face!

20150111-133323.jpg

V loved the quirky face game, mixing up the square with a circle, a star top with a triangle, an organic head with a leaf shape. The set comes with a manual showing some of the 380 possibilities! Yes…there are 380 possibilities of faces!

And really he has not tired of it!

20150111-133342.jpg

Super Shapes is great for kids starting 3 and above and can be used by children, well, up to even 10! Ask an older child to make up quirky faces and write a story around the character. There are 380 possibilities…there are 380 stories waiting to be written.

20150111-133516.jpg

20150111-133504.jpg

Here is how we rate Super Shapes from ToyKraft on a scale of 1-5:

Looks: 3
(A puzzle is hardly judged by looks, but in this one I appreciate the creativity when it comes to teaching innovative shapes.

Purpose: 5
(This one teaches shapes and creativity!)

Durability: 4
(Puzzles are made of cardboard and unless you get them wet and /or start ripping them apart, they ought to last. No guarantee on pieces getting lost though!)

Utlility: 5
(Super Shapes has a very strong utility when it comes to making up characters and storytelling. Highly recommended!)

Price: 5
(At Rs 175, this is a very good buy!)

20150111-133531.jpg

What learning toys do you like to buy for your kids? Do you let them pick their own toys? What do you think of puzzles as toys for children? Do you buys toys that let a child improvise and use imagination in his play?

Did you find this review useful? Please share your thoughts.

We consider our toys very precious. They are our Playmatesand we pick our friends very carefully. Our reviews are borne out of our experiences and are completely unbiased, even when they are sponsored.

6

Toy Review: Hamleys Wooden Blocks

Just when a baby learns to sit up he needs toys that he can hold, move, bang, stack and throw. One of my favourite pastime was to watch V  handle his toys. So when he moved from infancy to babyhood, and he was done with rattlers, I bought him a stack of blocks. In four primary colours and in 8 shapes, these plastic blocks have been our companions ever since V turned 7 months.  Recently I used them to make colour flashcards for V…but that’s another post.

image

I didn’t have to teach V how to use them. He pretty much figured it out himself that these blocks in decreasing size go one inside another. He discovered that a big block doesn’t go inside a small block and that if he breaks the pattern and sequence  some blocks will stay out.

Blocks help a child develop motor skills. Holding these blocks,  moving them around and stacking them one above the other stimulates their concentration,  adaptation and learning skills.

When we walked into Hamleys for the first time,  and I had recovered from the visual delight of what a toy world looks like, I went looking for toys for V. I had been looking for wooden toys for a while and then I saw these wonderful wooden blocks.

image

image

Like most blocks available, these blocks come in bright colours. And each of the 5 sides have been optimally used to paint alphabets, words, numbers and images. There are 10 blocks in all for numbers 1-10 and alphabets a-j.

image

image

Hamleys suggests these blocks for kids over 12 months. And the pictures will tell you why. Individually these wooden blocks are easy to hold. The large ones can get bulky for young kids.  So if you have a child who has just learnt to walk,  then it is a good idea to keep a close watch. What we like about these blocks is that they are light. A year old child can easily handle these blocks one at a time. He can move them around, and the smooth wooden finish ensures there aren’t any nasty splinters playing spoilt sport.

image

I find these blocks very child friendly. They are great learning tools for early literacy. V is now 2 years old and he is just beginning to count and identify numbers. So while he can read numbers 1-10, these blocks help us count and identify how each number looks. I agree, for alphabets the learning stops at j…but then I look at these blocks as a starting point in literacy.

image

Trust a child to find utility! So when he is tired of learning numbers, he conveniently stacks these blocks to make a multi-level car garage for his baby cars.

image

image

And sometimes they are used as boats for V’s animals…Pooh, Hamba (Kiddie-Bangla for cow) Froggie and Doggie.

Hamleys has priced these blocks at Rs 1499…a little steeply priced considering that their utility as a learning aid for alphabets is limited. However despite this shortcoming,  I would suggest them for early learning and pre-school kids. Considering V often drops and rough handles these blocks, they have neatly borne the falls tull now. So barring the few chipped paints here and there I know these blocks can be handed down to cousins and shared with friends.

image

Here’s how we rate the Hamleys Wooden Blocks on a scale of 5:

Looks: 5

Purpose: 4

Longevity: 5

Durability: 4

Utility: 5

Price: 3

What learning toys do you like to buy for your kids?  Do you let your child pick her toys? Do you buy toys that let a child improvise and use imagination in his play?

Did you find this review useful? We would love to hear from you.

We consider our toys very precious. They are our playmates and we handpick our friends very carefully. Our reviews are borne out of our experiences and are completely unbiased.