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I am frequently on the lookout for toys for my son, as I like to ensure that they are going to benefit him and be good value for money. I like toys that are well made and well thought out. The Melissa & Doug range have a good selection of toys that look fun and are educational, too. Both of these aspects please me, and I have been happy with the few items which I have purchased from their range of toys previously.
Picking a puzzle
Whilst browsing on Amazon, I noticed a few of their toys that I liked the look of. One such toy was the Melissa & Doug Tow Truck magnetic Puzzle Game. I like the idea of this as has more than just one element to the puzzle, plus it features cars, which my son loves. The price is reasonable at £7.99, which is about what you would expect to pay for a puzzle. I happily ordered the item and just knew my son would like it. I was eager to take delivery of the puzzle, to see the enjoyment my son would get.
The puzzle is of a high quality and is well-made, as to be expected.
It is packaged in a cellophane wrapper to keep it together in transit. I would rather have a box of some sorts to be able to keep it together and store it neatly. With that being the only niggle, I only have praise for this fun and educational toy.
Time to tow
The board is reassuringly thick, and has a nice smooth finish to it. There are 10 various brightly coloured cars which are numbers to add another educational feature to the toy. Each car is of a different colour which is good for developing colour recognition. The cars are positioned around a dirt track road with each being a little different in design. In keeping with the tow truck element though they are all depicted as having suffered some sort of crash complete with smoke coming from their engines. The puzzle is of a good quality and the colours are vibrant.
There is a metal button on the centre of each car, which is designed for ‘towing’ the cars. To do this, there is a cut out tow truck which features a line and a red stick with a magnet on one end of it to lift the cars out with. I love this igneous idea and it is not something I had seen before in a puzzle format. This adds another element of fun to the puzzle whilst boasting more educational benefits. Hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills are enhanced, as well as concentration and determination.
The idea is to ‘tow’ the cars out, and then they can be positioned back into the puzzle. This makes it great fun, and is great for developing important skills. The colours and numbers can also be incorporated into the tasks, by asking a child to find a car of a certain number or colour. This is such a fun idea that boasts many educational benefits. Each of the pieces is of a high quality, and the magnetic tow truck is durable and easy to hold.
My son was delighted by this puzzle, mainly due to the fact that it featured cars, but also because he loved the magnetic tow truck element. Towing the cars out proved to be great fun and kept his interest for a good amount of time. After towing the 10 cars out, he is more than happy to position them back onto the board, which requires some concentration.
Towing again and again
This puzzle has a longer lasting appeal due to the fact that the cars can be towed out. Older children are likely to enjoy this element, and the skills required can take some practice and precision. I must admit that my crafty little boy has worked out that he can use two hands to steady the line in order to attach a car. This is a bit sneaky, but he looks incredible happy with himself when he figures out how to do something like this. He can confidently tow them out independently with one hand, even if it requires a little bit more patience and skill.
We have had this puzzle for a few months now and it hasn't lost its appeal. It still looks just as new, and all the bits have managed to remain with the puzzle. However, I do find that I have to store the tow truck away in a drawer to ensure the pieces don't get mislaid.
This puzzle gets frequent use and is enjoyed time and time again. It is great for improving concentration, focus and patience, something which my excited little boy certainly needs to master. I think this is a brilliant toy that is durable, educational and good value for money.
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