Disclosure: This product was sent to me free of charge by Bigjigs Toys to be reviewed as we are official Play Patrol agents. However, as per my PR info disclaimer, this review is my unbiased honest opinion of the product.
Age Range: 2 years +
Manufacturer’s Description: Five safari animals…but which shape should each one be carrying? This brightly coloured board encourages young minds to discover different shapes and count from one to five as they work out which piece attaches to which animal. This educational puzzle helps to develop an understanding of shapes and numbers. Made from high quality, responsibly sourced materials. All Bigjigs Toys conform to current European safety standards. Consists of 5 sorting pieces and a board. Ages 2 years and up.
Rating: (4/5 stars)
Review: We were sent the Safari Animal Sorting Board Puzzle to review for our first Bigjigs Toys Play Patrol mission. Georgie was extremely excited about her new t-shirt & backpack, and started her first mission with great enthusiasm.
The puzzle is a fun variation on the normal theme of wooden puzzles; instead of slotting different shapes into holes, the shapes in this puzzle slot onto pegs that raise up out of the board. Georgie was quick to cotton onto the idea and was soon trying the different shapes on all the pegs to see what would fit where.
There are five shapes which slot onto different numbers of pegs, for example the circle goes onto one peg and the rectangle onto two. With the exception of the rectangle, the number of pegs corresponds to the number of sides of the shape, so three for the triangle, four for the square and five for the pentagon.
Each shape is a different colour, and the picture painted on the board base is a lovely safari scene with a different animal for each shape. The shape colour matches the animal below, which helps when working out which shape goes where.
This puzzle is great for early education; we talked about numbers, colours, shapes & animals whilst playing with it. Georgie has now mastered the words “giraffe” and “bear”… We’ll have to keep working on saying elephant, lion & hippo, though she recognises each of the animals.
We counted the pegs on the board as well as the holes in the shapes, and also the sides of each shape (I said that the rectangle had two long sides, and two short sides, so that the numbers still matched nicely). I was encouraging her to repeat the numbers & shape names back to me, and she managed “square” for the first time, as well as repeating one to five back at me.
Georgie was excited to see that we had also been sent special headed paper & a pencil to make notes on whilst completing our mission! She was soon scribbling away (I’m certain her wild scrawling must be some sort of secret code for “this is great fun”), and once her initial findings had been committed to paper we proceeded to draw around the shapes & label each outline. Completely unprompted by myself, Georgie then took each shape from the puzzle & lined it up with its outline on the paper, then moved them all back to the puzzle.
The puzzle itself is solidly constructed & nicely painted. I find wooden toys so wonderfully tactile to play with and this puzzle is no exception to the rule. It’s nice to have some quality wooden toys amongst the “sea of plastic junk” as my dad calls it.
The only problem we found with the puzzle was that one of the five pegs for the pentagon isn’t quite aligned properly so it can be difficult to fit it on & you sometimes need to rotate the shape around to get it to slide all the way down the pegs. It seems like this is probably just a manufacturing fault with this particular (single) puzzle – if I had purchased this & encountered this problem I would probably have asked for a replacement to see if it was a one-off issue, as I suspect it is (suspicions confirmed – see edit below!)
Here is a video of Georgie having some fun with the puzzle, and showing the issue we had with the pentagon piece. Sorry for the focusing problems, the camera was playing up!
This would be an ideal 2nd birthday present, Georgie absolutely loved it & seems the perfect age for it at the moment (we just celebrated her 2nd birthday two weeks ago), as it provides challenge & educates her without being too frustrating for her to do.
Because of the slight problem with one of the pegs, it’s a four star rating for this fun & educational puzzle that is a bit different to the normal peg puzzles out there.
EDITED TO ADD: We have now been sent a replacement board and I’m pleased to confirm that all the pieces fit perfectly – as we suspected it was a manufacturing fault with our particular board that caused the problems we had with the pentagon not fitting well.