I was recently asked to review the FunComet HappyCalc Elementary Maths Puzzle. This couldn’t have been better time: I was beginning to notice that a lot of Pixie’s toys had fallen out of favour, however since it was approaching her birthday, I was reluctant to buy new.
Pixie has recently turned two *sob* and she is clearly ready for some challenging games, as opposed to simple baby toys. While this product is aimed at children aged 3+, my hope was that she may get something out of it now, and grow into it – so I was excited for it to arrive!
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My very first thought when we opened the box was ‘wow – there’s no way this is going to be suitable for Pixie’; which was a shame, but not entirely unexpected. However, on closer inspection I was able to adjust my thoughts: the numbers aspect is beyond a two year old – but the bright and alluring illustrations mean that Pixie is happy enough to slot the pieces together and have a play.
In that sense, the game is actually very versatile.
Being a woman, my next thought was to find the instructions (easy daddies, I’m messing). I looked inside the box; I looked on the cover of the box: instructions are not supplied with the game. I was somewhat perplexed, but between us hubby and I felt sure we could figure it out…
Allow me to save you the trouble we had: essentially, the term ‘puzzle’ is misleading.
This game is not a puzzle in the traditional sense, in that there is no picture to complete. It’s actually cleverer than that (unless, like me, you’re a bit OCD).
The concept of the game is to play freely.
The size of each piece represents its value, so a 2 is half the size of a 4, and a 4 is half the size of an 8.
This is perfect for helping children to learn and – crucially – to understand numbers and mathematics. It is not perfect for somebody who is determined to complete a puzzle which does not exist – but luckily that’s not the object of the jigsaw. (Henceforth the FunComet HappyCalc Elementary Maths Puzzle shall be referred to as a jigsaw – because it means I can type without my OCD tendencies causing me to grit my teeth.)
I made peace with the idea of the jigsaw’s design being for free play rather than a structured ‘build this; complete this’ style game, and I began to appreciate its value: it really will grow with Pixie. For the time being, she can simply piece together the fun graphics, which will help to develop her imagination (perfect for her current age); as she develops, the numbers element can be brought in to help her learn a whole new skill.
My final thought on the
puzzlejigsaw is that while the maths aspect will, in time, be perfectly within Pixie’s grasp, fitting the pieces back into the box requires a PhD in the subject: I highly recommend using a larger container in which to store the game.
This is a great product for kids, my only caveat is that it’s description is slightly misleading. However, so long as you know what you’re getting, then it’s actually a brilliant tool and a fun way to waste a couple of hours. (Just don’t expect to finish up with a pretty picture at the end and no pieces left over.)
Head over to my hub round-up post for more breastfeeding, baby, and toddler reviews.