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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Categories: Puzzles

 

Janod Princess Carriage Floor Puzzle
(Janod $14.99 Score:)

In a royal coach that looks a lot like Cinderella's there is a young princess with a cat and a friend. Might be fun to make up some stories about who this friend might be and where they are going. But, first things first—putting the puzzle together is going to be the challenge. Designed for the younger pink set, this 39-piece floor puzzle has giant pieces. Though this has so many pieces, it does have outline cues that are strong and easily recognizable. Since children like to redo their puzzles multiple times, we look for those that can stand up to the wear and tear and remain interesting, too. Like other Janod puzzles, this one is sturdy, attractive and comes in a suitcase for storage. 5-8

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
Janod Pierre's Helicopter Puzzle
(Janod $19.99 Score:)

Bring home this carrying case with four small puzzles inside. In the easiest puzzle Pierre is seen flying alone. In the 2nd puzzle he appears to be bringing in someone who is injured. Puzzles 3 and four show Pierre about to leave and actually flying away. For preschoolers, present the simple 6-piece puzzle first. Then move on to the 9-piece puzzle. On another day, introduce the 12 and 16-piece puzzles. These are going to be challenging since the backs of the puzzles are not color-coded and the background on three of the four puzzles is the same. Parents will need to sort them out if the puzzles get mixed together. Each of the four puzzles comes in its own plastic baggie. They need to be kept separated. Naturally, they get progressively harder, so you may want to put the harder ones away and introduce them gradually. That said, the picture cues on the carrying case will help. Marked 3-6; but we think this will work best for 4's who have done lots of puzzles; not for beginners. Walter's Scooter is another of the puzzle sets of four related puzzles.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Janod Circus Puzzle
(Janod $14.99 Score:)

Before or after a trip to the circus, it's fun to work on a puzzle with images that remind kids of the fun. Janods 54-piece circus scene has tons of details to help with fitting it together and to pour over and discuss when it’s done. Kids will love the round red carrying case for safe keeping. Kids do their puzzles more than once and may need help if they are transitioning from larger pieces to smaller more challenging puzzles. For many, this is not an instantaneous build. Getting kids to take the time and return to problem solving with a challenging puzzle helps to develop important stick-to-it habits. Since children like to redo their puzzles multiple times, we look for those that can stand up to the wear and tear and remain interesting, too. 5-8

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Janod Horse Riding School Puzzle
(Janod $17.99 Score:)

For the many girls who are totally into horseback riding, a one hundred piece puzzle that the horsey set will love. It's a scene with young riders and a dozen horses. They will also like the rounded carrying case it comes in for storage. Since this may take more than one sitting to complete, set up a dedicated table or counter space, if possible, where this can be assembled gradually. For many, this is not an instantaneous build. Getting kids to take the time and return to problem solving with a challenging puzzle helps to develop important stick-to-it habits. . Since children like to redo their puzzles multiple times, we look for those that can stand up to the wear and tear and remain interesting, too. 5-8

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
eeBoo 64 piece puzzles
(eeBoo $14.95 Score:)

Four stunning new 64 piece puzzles to chose from in this new collection that features the glorious storybook-like illustrations of Melissa Sweet and Kevin Hawkes. The sturdy pieces make a satisfying 15" x 15" puzzle. Themes: Lots of Robots, Fairies By the Pond, Castle, and Birthday Tree. eeBoo's new collection also includes 20 and 42 piece puzzles.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
eeBoo 42 Piece Puzzles
(eeBoo $14.95 Score:)

Four beautiful new 42 piece puzzles to chose from in this new collection that features the glorious storybook-like illustrations of Melissa Sweet and Kevin Hawkes. The big chucky, sturdy pieces make a satisfying 11" x 15" puzzle. Themes: Mystery in the Forest, Party on the Lake, Boat Ride and Fire Truck. Perfect birthday presents. eeBoo's new collection also includes 20 and 64 piece puzzles.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014.

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2013 Award
University Games The Very Hungry Caterpillar Counting Floor Puzzle
(University Games $13 Score:)

There are all kinds of fruits and veggies to count on this colorful floor puzzle with 26 giant pieces. Put the numerals in order to make a 10 foot long finished puzzle. Good for counting skills as well as knowing and naming familiar foods. All the healthy things that Very Hungry Caterpillar loves to nibble on. 3 & up

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
University Games World of Eric Carle Alphabet Floor Puzzle
(University Games $13 Score:)

Our testers loved this new oversized puzzle featuring the wonderful art of Eric Carle. Although some of the animals may be less than familiar - for example a narwhale for N, a xolol for X, and a quetzal for Q, they will stretch kids' language of knowing and naming. Done with 26 sturdy giant pieces in the painterly style of Eric Carle, this produces a floor puzzle that is ten feet long and fun to do more than once.  They say 3 & up. We think slightly older kids will like this even more.

A note from our test family said..."My boys (ages 6, 5 and 2 ) love puzzles, so they were very
excited to do this. It made for good teamwork for the older two. One would call out the next letter and the other would find it and then they would put it together. The littlest would just come behind and steal a piece occasionally. (It is definitely a 3+ toy) They loved how long it was and were very proud of their work when they finished. They both like to do puzzles over and over and especially floor puzzles. I think with this being an alphabet puzzle and their ages, they need the practice. This puzzle will help inintroducing alphabetizing for sure!"

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013.

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Mudpuppy Jumbo Puzzle, Ballet Studio
(Mudpuppy Press $14.99 Score:)

One of a new series of 25-piece jumbo 22 X 22-inch puzzles designed with younger players in mind. We really like the size of the pieces and their substantial feel. Also fine, the illustration of a ballet studio includes a boy dancer as well as a multi-racial cast of dancers. There are good cues for following the image on the box and fitting it together. Our only problem is the age label on the box saying that this is a puzzle for 2+. We'd have given it an award if it had been labeled for three year olds (who would need help) but with the age 2 on the box we have to say no way. Also in the same new line, a wonderful Our World puzzle and a Jumbo Animals of the World. We suggest these as fine choices for preschoolers.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Ravensburger Thomas & Friends Circus Floor Puzzle
(Ravensburger $14.99 Score:)

Fans of Thomas and Friends will love this big 24-piece floor puzzle of Thomas carrying two tall giraffes to the circus grounds. These big puzzles are best put together with help, to give kids strategies for making the frame and looking for characters that are next to each other in the picture on the box. Since children like doing their puzzles more than once, you won't be spoiling the fun by sitting with them the first few times or being available to encourage them. Designed for 3 & up.

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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