When my son had his first birthday and people asked what to get him, I said, “Puzzles!” He didn’t have any and I had visions of sitting on the floor chatting about the pieces and working together while working out his brain.
So, for the past 9 months I’ve been picking up puzzle pieces that he’s thrown, chewed and hidden under the stove. But somehow, magically, this summer he has gained an incredible interest in puzzles and mastered every one of our chunky puzzles and most of the ones at the library with the little peg-type handles. The larger jigsaw type were way too challenging. We needed something in-between and this Ready, Set, Go! Wooden Puzzle from Green Start is a perfect fit.
The puzzle itself is made with wood from sustainable forests and is actually four smaller jigsaw puzzles (train, airplane, fire truck and boat) with 4 pieces each. This allows him to concentrate on just one puzzle at a time and not get overwhelmed by pieces he can’t figure where to put. When he got too frustrated, I would put two pieces together so he could figure out the rest. A neat thing about this puzzle is the the picture underneath the individual 4 piece puzzle. For the airplane puzzle, the graphic is an empty sky, the boat an empty sea. I liked that after we mastered putting the puzzle together, we could then talk about where it belonged. The pieces fit together nicely so that once assembled you can pick it up and place it on the larger puzzle. As he grows, we can mix all four puzzle pieces together and then put it back together. He really loves this puzzle and I know he will come back it it time and time again… he already does every time we pull out puzzles!
The second item we tried out was the Green Start Book Tower: Little Learning Books. These chunky little board books are great and are the perfect size for little hands! They come packaged in a very sturdy carton that stacks all ten books. So, of course, READING wasn’t the first thing we did with these books- stacking was! When we finally got down to reading the books, I was most impressed with the quality. The books are made with 98% recycled materials and are brown instead of the usual white, which one might think would dull the inks, but that is not the case! The illustrations are bright, cheerful and fun! Each book is six pages of cute kids, adorable animals and simple text that in a couple years my son will be reading to me as he bridges to more challenging books. The concepts included in this set (Counting, Opposites, Our Town, The Body, Busy Day, Shapes, Our Family, Colors, Baby Animals and On the Farm) lend themselves to further discussion about himself, his family and the world. In the meantime, I’ll stash a few in the car, diaper bag, changing table… just about anywhere!