Pick of the Day: Thomas & Friends Jumbo Floor Puzzles

If you have a Thomas & Friends fan at home, chances are they will love the new jumbo floor puzzles from Briarpatch.  Working on a puzzle with your preschooler is a great way to build their problem solving skills and ability to stick with a task. Click here to read our complete review.

Pick of the Day: I Spy Little Wheels and Little Animal Puzzles

Looking for a great way to build your child’s patience and ability to stick with a task?  Puzzles are a wonderful way to connect and talk about problem solving skills.  Give your child some strategies–”can we find all the flats?” “all the pieces that are green?”

The idea is to find puzzles that will build confidence. Save the 1,000 piece puzzles for you!  Some kids take to puzzles very easily–for others they are just pure frustrating…that usually means the puzzle is too hard.  This set from Briarpatch comes with four puzzles.  Our suggestion — take on the pieces out for one puzzle at a time and leave the rest in the box!  Read our complete review and shopping info on our site.

Also be sure to visit  Jean Marzollo’s website  (the author of the I Spy series). It’s chock full of activities for kids that are fun (and not a waste of their time or minds!).

In honor of the day…13 Great Games (all under $20!)

Rec_ABCBeautyWhile we usually like lists of five or a dozen, we realized today’s list of 13 Top Games Under $20 was meant to be!  Happy Friday the 13th.  Read our reviews at www.toyportfolio.com.

The games included are:

Richard Scarry’s Busytown Eye Found It Game (I Can Do That Games)

Rainbow Race (International Playthings)

Scrabble Slam Card Game (Parker Brothers)

Appletters (Bananagrams)

Yamslam (Blue Orange Games)

Pairs in Pears (Bananagrams)

eeBoo Fairytale Game (eeBoo)

Ring-0 Flamingo (Gamewright)

Uno Moo! (Mattel)

Too Many Monkeys (Gamewright)

I Spy Flip 5 Games (Briarpatch)

Dr. Seuss Super Stretch ABC Game (I Can Do That Games)

Curious George Discovery Beach Game (I Can Do That Games)

Pick of the Day: I Spy Flip 5

If you’re fans of the I SPY series, you’ll want to take a look at Briarpatch’s new I SPY Flip 5.  The idea is to match similar images that appear on the play pieces (disks that have images on both sides).  The picture can be a photo or a silhouette of that image (a star fish, a horse, a panda, a ballerina, etc.)…At each turn, players take turns saying “1, 2, 3, 4, flip 5″—that player then flips five disks.  Players then look for matches –call them and collect them. The player with the greatest number of matches wins that round. The player to win five rounds wins. Our game players liked looking for the matching images–and the pace of the game. This is one you won’t mind playing again and again.  It’s a step above straight matching games–calling for a more developed sense of visual discrimination.  You can introduce the game to a younger child by using fewer disks–making it a bit less overwhelming. At $12.95, it’s a good price for a game that you can easily take along if you’re traveling–all of the pieces will fit easily in a big zip lock bag. There’s also a Dino Flip 5 that we’ve sent out for additional testing–we think dino-fans will love it…same idea but with images of dinosaurs.  Both games are marked 4 & up and will work with 2-4 players.

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Pick of the Day: Briarpatch's Simms Taback Puzzles

One of the best parts of my job…checking out puzzles with my mother.

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Today we were both very quiet as we were working on this new Simms Taback 7 foot long Animal Puzzle.  We were so hard at work and enjoying putting the puzzle together before we just started laughing (another nice aspect of our work).

Briarpatch has really stepped back into the puzzle market with great flair!  We love the entire collection of Simms Taback puzzles. There’s the 7′ foot long Animal Parade with 48 pieces, the 4 Safari Puzzles (four safari animals with varying numbers of pieces for each making them increasingly challenging), and also great, Jumbo Floor Puzzle, that features farm animals.  My young friend Simon, fan of all things farm related, would love this one!   328_jumbo_floor_puzzle