I was thrilled with this puzzle, which is suitable for children of 24 months plus, because it really makes them think about how to make it work. They need to work out what makes the wheels go round and round. There are nine brightly coloured plastic cogs, attractively decorated, which fit on to the baseboard. I was really impressed by the weight of the wooden board – it’s very sturdy which means that it doesn’t move around whilst the cogs are working. The corners are rounded and protected by plastic corners which adds safety and durability to the toy.
The first objective is one side of the board, where children have to match the cogs to the right colour circle. Then they progress onto the second objective on the other side of the board, which is to match the right cog to the right shape. There are 12 raised circles on the board, and in the centre of each is a shape which corresponds to the shape inside the cog – four each of square, triangle and circle (a good early introduction to shapes). One of each set of three cogs (blue, red and green) has a small handle to turn the cog – a good way to develop manual dexterity. Once all the pieces are in place – and the fact there are 12 spaces and nine cogs means the board can be set up differently on each occasion, turn one cog and watch the rest move. Once children have enjoyed playing with this toy, see what else you can find around the house that works in a similar way, and build on the learning opportunities – you may even have an old-fashioned watch around!
This is a sturdy, well made toy which will help children understand an early scientific concept, and cause and effect. They will also have their manual dexterity and problem solving enhanced as they fit the cogs into place and turn them round; shape and colour will also be learnt. It’s good to see the two stages of the puzzle, which adds value.