Monkey has been a bit pre-occupied with puzzles this year. By pre-occupied, I mean completely obsessed. It’s not uncommon to see several puzzles in various stages of completion throughout our house. So, when we had the opportunity to review Dr. Livingston’s Anatomy Puzzle: The Human Head, we were beyond excited. Even though this 538 piece puzzle has an age recommendation of 14+ and is included as part of Timberdoodle’s 6th Grade Curriculum Kit, we knew it would be perfect for our 7-year-old self-proclaimed human body expert. Knowing your child is an important part of choosing curriculum and activities. While I think the age recommendation is generally fairly accurate, I also knew my son was confident in doing 500 piece puzzles, so this wouldn’t be too far off for him. He loved it! Monkey is still asking when we can get the other 6 puzzles in the set to finish the entire body.
What we loved about it…
*The pieces fit together in an obvious way and there was no confusion ‘Does this fit here, does it not?’ that we have seen in other puzzles.
*The box is great, as well. It is simply beautiful. It is made to look like a book which is gorgeous to display when the puzzle is being stored. It shows wonderful details of the human head and labels each part.
*I love the matte finish of this puzzle. There is zero glare when working on it, which is great!
What wasn’t great…
*Some of the edges were lifting right out of the box and will require a dab of glue to keep from tearing. This is a bit disappointing.
*Due to the nature of the edge shape, not all of the outside edge interlocks immediately. This causes some movement and sliding before these parts are anchored in and this was very frustrating for Monkey. He needed some help keeping everything line up. Once enough of the inside of the puzzle was completed to attach it all, he was fine.
We loved this puzzle and found the benefits far outweighed the few negatives. Especially, the lack of glare. Why aren’t all puzzles like this?! Hearing my 7-year-old tell me all the parts of the eye and point out the cerebellum (He even told us what it controls- no idea were he got that from…and yes, Mama had to look it up!) was priceless. We definitely can’t wait to get the other Dr. Livingston Puzzles.
Disclaimer: Timberdoodle provided me with a free copy of Dr. Livingston’s Anatomy Puzzle in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and received no further compensation.
A big thank you to Timberdoodle for giving us the opportunity to review Clumsy Thief Junior. The fast paced card game perfect for children learning their tens facts. Clumsy Thief Junior is currently a part of Timberdoodle’s Kindergarten Curriculum Kit.
This card game consists of two phases. In the first phase, players match pairs of numbers from their hands to make sets of ten, which they then place face up in their playing field. Cards that make tens (9s and 1s, 8s and 2s, etc.) have matching fruit or vegetable pictures on them. The pictures help children who have not yet mastered the tens family and the repetition of seeing the numbers together will help them memorize these facts. During phase two, the rest of the number cards a player has in his/her hands can be placed on piles in the playing field, continuing to make tens. For example, if a 9 and 1 are played with the 9 on top, you may add a 1 to steal the pile. But watch out! Someone else can then add a 9 to steal the pile again. There are also raccoon cards that can be used to steal any pile and trap cards which can be played on raccoons to freeze the pile and stop any further stealing of that pile. Phase two is fast paced because everyone plays at the same time. You have to be quick. Play rotates between phases one and two several times over the coarse of the game. The player with the most number cards in front of them when the cards run out is the winner.
What the Beans thought:
Both Monkey and Mr. Man know their tens facts well, so we didn’t play the game in an attempt to teach this skill. However, they both still really enjoyed the game. Mr. Man was a pro at being ready to steal back any pile someone tried to take from him. He struggled a bit to remember which phase we were on and required some reminders in that regard. But, the more he played, the easier this became. Due to his processing delays, fast paced games are more challenging for him, but he did very well with this one. Monkey is currently struggling with competitive fast paced games as he’s at an emotional stage where he becomes very upset with any game he doesn’t win. Because brother is able to match wits with him on this game, he currently “hates it”. On the plus side, this creates the perfect scenario to help him work through these emotions, build his coping skills and practice proper social and emotional responses. Clumsy Thief Junior will make a perfect addition to the games we can use during therapy. It has definitely been one of the top choices in the house lately.
Something to note…
*When playing Clumsy Thief Junior, it is important to be mindful of table size. We have a large gaming table and found reaching across the table to steal piles of cards difficult. It would be much better played on a smaller table or closer together.
Disclaimer: Timberdoodle provided me with a free copy of Clumsy Thief Junior in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and received no further compensation.
If you know our family very well, you know we are big board gamers. Board games are an excellent way to learn a variety of skills, both academic and social. Mr. Bean has had his hand in the creation of a couple games and has a sizable collection himself. So, we were very excited when Timberdoodle gave us the opportunity to review Battle Sheep.
Battle Sheep is a fun strategy game found at Timberdoodle and is part of their 3rd Grade Curriculum Kit. My husband and I were immediately struck by the quality of the game components- very important to Mr. Bean (The Eclectic Bean) The board pieces are made of thick, durable cardboard and the sheep discs are a nice quality plastic chip. The idea of the game is to move your sheep across the board to claim pasture space. The player with the most pasture when everyone is out of moves (either because their sheep have been blocked in or because they are out of sheep) is the winner.
It was interesting to see the different responses we got when we played with Mr. Man (9) and Monkey (7). Mr. Man struggled at first to move his sheep in a straight line and needed a little guidance. He is also not a strategy game player. He struggles with processing and executive function, so he’s typically a reactive player. I was surprised to watch his persistence and perseverance shine through when playing Battle Sheep. He really enjoyed it and beat both Mr. Bean and myself! He has asked to play again, several times. Monkey is our thinker and planner. However, the game takes a few plays to figure out a strategy. Monkey did not win his first game (score: 12 to 14) and became upset, refusing to try again. I would have definitely thought this game would be more appealing to Monkey than Mr. Man, so i was surprised to find the opposite to be true. Hopefully, in time, Monkey will give it another try. Mr. Bean and I have also played a few times by ourselves and both found it to be a game we would continue to play.
Overall, 3 out of 4 Beans give Battle Sheep a big thumbs up. Because the board is different every game, Battle Sheep has high replayability. Also, any game that can be played with the kids but also enjoyed by adults alone is a great addition to any game collection. Be sure to check out Battle Sheep. Happy Gaming!
Disclaimer: Timberdoodle provided me with a free copy of Battle Sheep in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and received no further compensation.