Wooden puzzles are one of the most classic toddler toys, and one of our favourites! They have so many opportunities for learning and development. N (2 years old) has been trying out some beautiful new puzzles from Hape, each of which has something unique and different to offer.
Wild Animal Puzzle & Play, £12.99 from Amazon.
This is a clever twist on the classic wild animal puzzle, with a 2 in 1 format. One side has spaces to match up the animal shapes into the puzzle, while the other has a play scene printed to extend play with the animal figures. We loved this idea, and it definitely kept N’s interest in the puzzle for longer as she had both the structured puzzle activity, and the free play to keep her busy and develop her imagination.
All of the animal pieces are nice and chunky, with a really solid quality feel, and there are shadow images inside the puzzle to help out with finding the correct place for each one. N enjoyed naming all of the animals and talking together about their sounds, where they live, and how they move around.
The play scene on the back is a similar style to the background of the puzzle, showing the animals habitats in the water, trees, grass and plains.
Ocean Lens Puzzle, £11.99 from Amazon.
This is a simple chunky puzzle with four shaped pieces. It is easy for toddlers to complete, but each shape offers something new to discover – with a red coloured lens, a magnifying glass and two more textured glass lenses that give different effects when you look through them.
It has a cute ocean theme and is beautifully made. Some parts of the puzzle only show up once you place the correct piece into the section, like the face at the base of the star fish shape is hidden until the red lens filter magically reveals it, which is a cool effect!
Chunky Numbers Puzzle, £15.82 from Amazon.
This is a great way to familiarise little ones with numbers 1-20 in a playful and hands on way. The puzzle is brightly rainbow coloured which instantly drew N in, and like both of the other Hape puzzles it is lovely quality.
The puzzle comes with all of the numbers, and some mathematical symbols too meaning you can use it to make simple sums once your child is ready. N is not quite at the stage of doing sums yet, but she still managed to quickly pick up the names of the plus, minus and equals symbols which all helps to build the foundation for when the time comes!
I really like that this puzzle goes all the way up to 20, and the way the double digit double numbers are done with both digits joined together works great. Playing with this just a few times made such a quick difference in how confident N became in recognising and becoming more familiar with the numbers 11-20, in addition to the smaller numbers.
There are lots of ways to play with number puzzles like these, you can even hide all of the numbers in a sensory bin and have your child hunt them out before putting them back into the puzzle spaces. N loves playing feeding animals, so her favourite game with the numbers puzzle is to bring any small animal figure and make them eat up the numbers. She will play like this for such a long time, and it’s a great way for her to reinforce her number recognition in a very playful hands on way. Hape also have chunky alphabet puzzles very similar to this, in both upper and lower case formats.
These are all great puzzles, and a lovely addition to N’s toy collection with plenty of opportunities for playful learning! These puzzles are ideal for toddlers of around her age, of 2 years old.
We were sent these toy samples from Hape in order to review.