Monday, April 9, 2012

Guidecraft's Manipulative Puzzles Review & Giveaway Link

Each month, the Guidecraft Educators will share our honest feelings about a Guidecraft product(s) and how these products would fare in an early childhood classroom. This month's selection features three items from the Manipulative Line - the See Saw Sorter, the Hide 'n Seek Shape Sorter, and the Primary Puzzle Board! This product would make a wonderful addition to any child’s playroom (or multiple pieces would make for great use in an early childhood classroom).

In reviewing this month's items, I determined that they were too "young" for my 4-year olds. I opted to pass them along to our Early Head Start crew (babies through late 2's/early 3's). Unfortunately, I have not yet received the pictures of the little ones exploring with the toys or the EHS teacher's thoughts on the products, so I've opted to post solely my thoughts. Keep in mind, 4's are the youngest I've taught, so my thoughts may differ from others who have more experience with the younger children (and the way they may explore with the products).

Thoughts on the See Saw Sorter

The bright (basic) colors and big, chunky pieces will likely make the See Saw Sorter appeal to very young children. The puzzle is perfect for introducing children to the concept of eye-hand coordination - six pieces doesn't seem like to many for the little ones to handle. It would be hard to use this as a "shape" activity, as the shapes are 3-dimensional and not typically what you would teach a 1-3 year old about what a triangle, circle, etc. are. These shapes are cylinder, cube, etc. This product is probably the most likely of the 3 that I could have used with my 4-year olds, as an introduction/discussion about the concept of a "see saw" and "balancing" objects. Overall, I think children would enjoy exploring with this toy. I'm sure this will be put to good use in the Early Head Start classroom and I'm looking forward to hear feedback from the teacher that received this!

Thoughts on the Hide 'n Seek Shape Sorter:

Geometric recognition and sorting are introduced at a very basic level with the Hide 'n Seek Shape Sorter. Almost all of the basic shapes I "teach" are touched upon... my only suggestion would be to introduce a hear or oval in place of the cross! It's definitely an activity that the youngest of children will enjoy, as there's a noise component, as the pieces will clink when dropped when correctly sorted. You could introduce a great amount of vocabulary with children aged 1-3 by simple repetition while sorting the pieces - discussing colors, curves, lines, points, etc. I think this will be a welcome addition to the Early Head Start classroom.

Thoughts on the Primary Puzzle Board:

My initial thought when I opened this product was the awesome way that fine motor skills are incorporated, as children will use the "pegs" to grasp the puzzle pieces while sorting and matching the shapes. The matching colors on the puzzle board will help children who haven't quite mastered the concept of matching shape to shape, but who clearly can sort/match colors. Again, I would have liked to see the cross replaced with a heart or oval, but other than that, this is probably the simplest of the 3 manipulative puzzles and will enhance color/shape vocabulary usage in young children!

What do other 'Guidecraft Educators' have to say about theses puzzle manipulatives?

Maureen at Simply Stacie
Andrea at MommyPR
Deborah at Teach Preschool
Carrie from Huppie Mama
Jody from Mommy Moment
Candace at Mamanista!
Lisa from Planet Weidknecht
Vanessa from Pre-K Pages

The Giveaway

Guidecraft is generously offering ONE of each of the three manipulative puzzles to one of the readers of the Guidecraft Educators group!!! To enter, head on over and check out Carrie's post at Huppie Mama. You have until April 20th to enter in the giveaway!

Want it NOW?
If you can’t wait to win, all three products are available for purchase at and also through the Guidecraft website:

See Saw Sorter from or
Hide 'n Seek Shape Sorter from or
Primary Puzzle Board from or

If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to I am an Amazon Affiliate, so any purchases you make after clicking these images will result in my receiving a small percentage of the sale price!


style='clear: both;' izza said...

Preschool activities could somehow help our child sharpen their brains more. Hope all preschools also gave more attention on Preschool Arts and Crafts as you do.