One of the things I really love about being a stay-at-home mom is having the chance to just watch my children play. Kids are so amazing; not only can they can take any experience and turn it into a game, but they also learn important life skills from almost every game they play! No matter what toy my oldest son has in his hand, I know that he’ll have an interesting dialogue taking place and that listening to him play will give me a glimpse into his mind and the way it works.
SmartLab Toys specializes in the types of toys, puzzles and books that really get a child’s mind working. From modelling clay kits that let kids create their own animal models to robot constructing kits to bug habitats, the company has toys and activities for children from four to twelve that parents will be sure to love as much as their children. I was thrilled when I got a chance to review one of their amazing products for myself.
I chose the Mega Dinosaurs 3-D Puzzles set to review. Kids can learn something new with almost any toy, but to really develop skills like fine motor control and problem solving, there is nothing better than a puzzle. And when that puzzle is three-dimensional and results in a large dinosaur model…well, what more could any child ask for? I had no idea what to expect when the puzzle arrived. I have seen some three-dimensional puzzles in the past and not a single one I had ever come across would be suitable for a four-year-old. But as soon as Zackary pulled out the pieces, I knew that the age recommendation of four to six years was exactly right.
The set contains pieces to make three large dinosaur models, so the first thing that we did was sort the pieces into three piles depending on their colour. The top of the box showed us which dinosaurs we were constructing and Zackary decided to get to work on the Barosaurus right away. This puzzle is designed just perfectly for a four-year-old. It gets its three-dimensional shape by combining vertical body pieces that comprise most of the visual appeal of the puzzle with horizontal pieces that act as connectors and help give the puzzles a more rounded appearance. The pieces have slots cut into them so that they can be slid together and we had a great time studying the difference pieces and figuring out which pieces went where. Zackary especially liked putting the four legs into place, and when he had, the dinosaur actually stood up and held together wonderfully so that he could continue the fun by playing with his new model on the floor!
As if the puzzle wasn’t fun and educational enough, the set also included three fact cards full of fun information about the three dinosaurs in the puzzle collection. Zackary and his dad got to work putting together the Triceratops and the Tyrannosaurus Rex and when they were done, I read Zackary some of the fun facts about the different dinosaurs as he played with them on the floor. These dinosaurs are called “Mega” for a reason; the largest was about two feet long and one foot high! But thanks to the clever design, when Zackary was done playing with the dinosaurs we simply took the puzzles apart and stored the pieces in the box for next time!
In addition to the kit I received, there is also a Mega Sharks 3-D Puzzles set and a Mega Wild Animals 3-D Puzzles set. Zackary has so much fun with his dinosaurs that he is already talking about getting the Mega Wild Animals kit as well. He loves the way that he can turn the pile of puzzle pieces into a big, realistic model that he can play with!
SmartLab Toys has so many amazing toys for children and I can’t wait until Zackary is a little older so I can get him some of the other incredible-sounding products the company offers. What boy wouldn’t want a You-Build-It Robo-Bug of his very own? For toys, science kits and puzzles that know how to make learning fun, SmartLab Toys is a great choice. And as an added bonus, the site even has free downloadable activities for kids in the SmartLab Toys Free Zone! Check out their amazing products for yourself!
Buy It: SmartLab Toys is very generously offering Mommy Kat and Kids readers 25% off their entire purchase! Use coupon code BLOGDEAL311. Code expires May 31, 2011
Win It: One lucky reader is going to win their choice of either the Mega Dinosaurs, Mega Sharks or Mega Wild Animals 3-D Puzzles from SmartLab Toys
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Giveaway ends 11:59 pm CST on May 7, 2011. Open to US and Canada