5.4.10

Fun with puzzles

My baby girl turned three years old while we camped among a thick smog of pollen. We spent most of our time outside, but Saturday night was rough for us, so I broke out my last surprise: the puzzle.

As I suspected, she was immediately transfixed by it. She dumped the blocks out of the wooden case and asked Javi to help her "build a pig." After the pig, she wanted the chicken and then the sheep. She'd sing Old MacDonald and make animal sounds while watching Javi or me work through each picture cube by cube.
That's right. She watched us. Unfortunately, I was a little too ambitious with this one. Bella loves puzzles and will spend an hour piecing together the six 24-piece flat ones. I just knew she'd love doing the cube one, too; however, it's just too difficult for my just-turned-three year old.

You know who loved it? Our friend's six-year-old nephew. He sat down with a look of extreme concentration and deftly turned and adjusted and worked his way from one corner to the next. The first time was difficult for him, but after I showed him how to get his outline together, the rest was easy. I definitely think this is a great puzzle for the 4-6 year old age group.
That's not to say that Bella hasn't had fun with it. She loves finding the colors I ask her to search for and she's made an X, a robot, a train, and a snake out of the cubes. She also enjoys dumping the cubes so that she can put them back the way she wants. I actually think this is a step in the right direction. Once she's comfortable with the cubes and commits the colors and patterns to memory, I think she'll be more patient and willing to take the time to figure it out.
While I'm happy with the puzzle on the whole, it's not as perfect as I thought it'd be. For example, in addition to being a little age inappropriate, there's no way to look at a picture of the puzzle as you're putting it together -- which makes it even harder for little minds and fingers. It also doesn't have a closing case, so I'm worried the blocks will get lost. I'm surprised Melissa & Doug didn't think these things through, considering the high quality and thoughtfulness I've come to expect from the company.

We'll be adding this puzzle to our puzzle basket, even though it's not as perfect as I thought it'd be. You can add it to yours, too. CSN stores have agreed to send this puzzle to one of my readers (and their shipping is super fast). Here's how to win it:
1. Go look at all the cool stuff they offer for kids.

2. Come back here and leave a comment telling me what you like best.

3. Follow my blog.

4. Spread the word (with a link back here) about this giveaway via your blog, Twitter, or Facebook. Leave an additional comment letting me know which you did. You can use this if you aren't sure what to say: "Free and educational? Count me in! @millermix and CSN are giving away a Melissa & Doug farm cube puzzle. Enter at http://bit.ly/a5LxMP"

5. Earn additional entries by hitting all three (just make sure you leave a separate comment for each).
This giveaway will end at 10 pm on Monday, April 12. Thanks to CSN for allowing me to share the fun!

37 comments:

  • apaprikao

    Wow! That site does have a lot of stuff! Miranda would *love* that doll bunk bed with the little closet attached. http://www.allchildrensfurniture.com/Badger-Basket-01856-BP1256.html

  • apaprikao

    I follow you in my Google Reader

  • apaprikao

    I advertised on Twitter and Facebook. I'll make a blog post tonight. :)

  • Janine

    Wow..their website was chock full of stuff! Being that I absolutely love to cook, I was automatically drawn to the Step2 LifeStyle PartyTime Kitchen Playset. So cute! Great little shelf over the sink with bottles of ingredients...my girls would love it... even the ones too big to play with it! I definitely follow your blog = ), and I'll post it today on there, as well as my FB fan page, and twitter. Great giveaway!

  • thecokers

    Hmmm. Great stuff (and cute puzzle)! I think the Step 2 Creative Projects Table (http://www.allchildrensfurniture.com/Step2-883300-STP1260.html) looks fantastic. Might help tame the sprawling mess of art projects and craft supplies that always seems to come home to roost on my kitchen table!

  • Shannon

    The Guidecraft Center Stage Puppet Theater looks so fun!

  • Kim & Dave

    Great activity!!! I can see what you mean, though, about preffering a picture for little ones.

  • BigLittleWolf

    It's amazing how kids gravitate to specific things. I've always been a huge fan of puzzles - for little ones, and the more complex variety for kids of all ages. :)

  • Heidi

    looks like fun - I'll bet my 4 y/o would enjoy that!

  • Stephanie

    I'm seeing a lot of giveaways lately sponsored by CSN. The puzzle looks like fun, but neither of mine are into puzzles.

    I am literally mortified at what those boys parents must be thinking of my parenting to allow BOYS to sleepover at a GIRL's house. I mean the invites said to bring your pillows, pajamas, and sleeping bags!!! I always thought I was one of those people who didn't embarrass easy. That is, until I had kids. So far none of the boys have showed up, so I'm either in luck or my ears are ringing because they are whispering behind my back. Haha. I guess I will always be "that" mom. :p

  • The Drama Mama

    P.S. I need to remember to log out of my gmail account before commenting. Haha. THat was me above.

  • Janine

    Okay, so I did an awesome post on this amazing giveaway! On my site at www.3girlmomblog.wordpress.com!

  • Janine

    This giveaway is now offered on my Facebook fan page at A Spoonful of Sugar!

  • TKW

    Happy Belated Birthday to your sweet girl! We actually own that puzzle and I was irked by the same issues you brought up. Needless to say, we lost several pieces right away!

    Very cute that the older kids were quite eager to help her with it, though.

  • Janine

    I sent a tweet out to all about this great giveaway! My twitter account is momof3crazgirls!

  • Cuddles from Home

    I just posted a link to this giveaway on my Facebook page. :) I'm following you now, too.

    This is a great site. I think my favorite product is the Plan Toys City Parking Garage. We have tons of Plan Toys sets, and the quality is fantastic. I love that they are made of wood and don't require any batteries. My kids use their own creativity to enjoy them. :)

  • Cuddles from Home

    Ok, let me try this again. :) I'm following your blog now!

  • Cuddles from Home

    I also posted a link on my Facebook page. :)

  • Amber

    Even though I don't ever win giveaways, I wanted to comment! Puzzles are an awesome toy for any kid, but how irritating to find one that doesn't offer a picture!!

  • Amber

    P.S. I subscribe to your blog already. Does that count?? If I'm not already, I will follow you via google follower.

  • Amber

    Oh, and I went to the site and found this awesome mobile toy! http://www.allchildrensfurniture.com/Prince-Lionheart-750X-PLI1001.html

  • Stephanie

    I'm a follower and I love the KidKraft John Deere Rocking Tractor - 11003
    thegrants(at)live(dot)com

  • Stephanie

    Tweet:
    http://twitter.com/sgrant2005/status/11858639606
    thegrants(at)live(dot)com

  • Stephanie

    I blogged:
    http://thegrantsgiveaways.blogspot.com/2010/04/miller-mix-melissa-doug-farm-cube.html
    thegrants(at)live(dot)com

  • Stephanie

    I'm a follower
    thegrants(at)live(dot)com

  • Shannon

    ...and I tweeted about it.

  • Rebecca O

    The PlaSmart Plasma Car looks like fun! Thanks for the chance. bekki1820cb at gmail

  • Rebecca O

    Tweeted: http://twitter.com/bekki1820cb/status/11975887292
    bekki1820cb at gmail

  • Rebecca O

    Follower. bekki1820cb at gmail

  • J.Anderson

    I love their bedding!
    jennette6963@msn.com

  • J.Anderson

    I am a blog follower !
    jennette6963@msn.com

  • J.Anderson

    Tweet link!
    http://twitter.com/ARockinCupcake/status/11995661046
    jennette6963@msn.com

  • J.Anderson

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • SoDucky

    Oh, they have the coolest rug there - the joy carpet dots with stain protector. Very huge selection of stuff!
    soluckyducky @ gmail dot com

  • SoDucky

    http://twitter.com/soluckyducky/status/12058918123
    tweeted!
    soluckyducky @ gmail dot com

  • Courtney

    i think the plasma car is great!

  • Courtney

    i follow you on google reader

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