If you have a preschool age child like I do, you probably do everything you can to expand their horizons while they're at home with you. Way before I became a mom, I knew that I wanted be to be a hands-on parent. I remember my mom planning lots of special projects and activities for me and my sister, when we were little. My mom worked hard, running her own business, which also allowed her to stay at home and raise her daughters. I shared that same desire (and still do)- to want to be home with my children when they're little, because I believe that it has a hugely positive impact on a child's life.
I just found out that B is actually going to be too young to enroll in the pre-school program we were hoping to start him in for the 2014-15 school year. The cut-off dates keep moving up, and since he has an October birthday, he barely missed the cut off for the four year old Jr. K class. I am doing everything I can to prep him for preschool, so that when he does start, he'll be ready, and possibly even advanced.
Part of getting my son ready for Pre-K, is making sure that we have all of the right learning tools and educational products in our home. Even when it's playtime, B often doesn't realize that his mommy carefully hand selects most of his toys and games to further his learning experience at home. When I was given the opportunity to team up with The Learning Journey International, I jumped for joy, especially after learning that it may be another year before B is truly enrolled in a pre-school program, which I wasn't exactly banking on.
The Learning Journey is well known for their award-winning educational products for children. Products made by The Learning Journey have a purpose- encouraging learning and developing confidence, as they enhance a child's potential. All of these wonderful products are designed to build on the necessary skills children need to be prepared for school and the years beyond.The Learning Journey opened their doors in 1995 with a simple mission: to provide quality educational toys for children that their parents could afford. Every parent should be able to have access to affordable educational tools and materials for their children, to give them the head start that they deserve.
B loves to learn, and couldn't wait to see his special surprises from our new friends at The Learning Journey!
'Wow! What are these, mommy?'
I was so excited, as I watched B remove these products from their shipping box. He has really been into putting puzzles together, lately and I wanted to encourage him. I also knew that he was in need of a challenge. Many of the puzzles that we have are now too easy for B. He received a jumbo floor puzzle for Christmas, and put it together with no problem in less than five minutes, and I knew he was really developing a knack for puzzles and problem solving.
I selected two puzzle sets for B, appropriate for his age level: Jumbo Floor Puzzle Fire Engine Rescue, and Match It- Who Am I?
'Come on, mommy- let's try these out!'
I knew that B would want to work on the Fire Engine Rescue Jumbo Floor Puzzle first. This big, beautiful puzzle features 50 jumbo pieces, brightly colored, and depicts a busy rescue scene! The puzzle is appropriate for ages 3+.
The Jumbo Fire Engine Rescue Floor Puzzle comes in a brightly colored box, with a carry handle, for easy storage and toting around!
The back of the puzzle box shows a large photo of the finished puzzle, information about the product, and the developmental skill the puzzles helps to build and encourage.
Take a look at the actual size of the puzzle pieces- they're pretty large, which is great for little hands!
B couldn't wait to start working on the puzzle with me, so we put all of the jumbo puzzle pieces on the floor, and began talking about the puzzle. I made sure that the box was close by, so we could refer to the picture on it while we worked. The pieces of the puzzle are carefully cut, so that they won't fit together if the pieces aren't matched up correctly. This isn't meant to frustrate the child, yet encourages them to keep trying, until they find the right fit. With B, I found that he was happy to try the pieces in different places until he found the correct match. It actually helped him to look at the photo, and figure out where the pieces were supposed to go by matching up the photos on the puzzle pieces, to create the large picture.
B, checking out the puzzle pieces...
...and filling in the empty spaces by matching up the pieces.
Almost done! What a great scene this puzzle is creating!
The puzzle pieces in the Jumbo Fire Engine Rescue Floor Puzzle actually have a lot of detail. There are several pieces that are just parts of the building, the arches of windows, or pieces of the fire engine, which I thought would be a bit difficult for B to match up on his own. I was really surprised that he needed very little help from me to complete this puzzle. As with any puzzle, we worked from the outside in, making the outline, and then filling in the middle. B only encountered a couple of tricky spots, and he pretty much did the rest of this puzzle on his own, and had it completed in about fifteen minutes on his very first try!
The completed photo of the Jumbo Fire Engine Rescue Floor Puzzle.
We had such a wonderful time putting this puzzle together! I loved that we were able to incorporate it into our daily lesson for our Pre-K homeschool curriculum. B had no idea that it was part of our lesson plan for the day- he was just having a blast working on this puzzle, and I couldn't have been happier that he loved it so much! In fact, we have only had this puzzle for about one week, and we have worked on this puzzle at least seven or eight times already! I have a feeling that this puzzle is probably B's favorite, and that we'll be using it quite a lot in our everyday play and learning activities at home!
Details of the Jumbo Fire Engine Rescue Floor Puzzle
The Jumbo Puzzle series are large floor puzzles that introduce children to basic concepts in a fun way. Each Jumbo Puzzle features very bright and colorful illustrations that encourage parent-child discussion about the pictured objects. Each Jumbo Puzzle has 50 puzzle pieces and measures 3’ X 2’! Ages 3+ years.
The second learning product we received from The Learning Journey, was a Match It puzzle game. The Learning Journey has a whole collection of Match It Puzzles, which help kids with reading, counting, simple math, rhyming, matching and recognition. We have actually been working on career and community people recognition over the past two or three weeks, and I felt that the Who Am I? set, would be a great learning tool for us!
'Look mommy, a doctor, fireman, and superhero!'
The Who Am I? Match It Puzzle Set features 20 three-piece sets of people, dressed in their occupational gear or costumes.
The Match It- Who Am I? Puzzle comes in a brightly colored box, easy for kids to open up themselves. It has a sturdy plastic carry handle, for easy transporting. B really gets into exploring different occupations, and loves to play pretend, so this puzzle game was going to be a lot of fun for him!
Dumping the pieces out of the box was the first step, and lots of fun!
This set also features very large puzzle pieces, which are brightly colored, and just beautifully made! B was captivated by the different pieces, and was ready to match them up and then line up all of the career people. To play this game, you have to match the corresponding pieces. Each career person has a head, a middle and a bottom piece. Of course, we had a lot of fun determining which pieces went with which heads, which middles, which shoes, etc. We tried some very silly combinations, like a ballerina with the boots of a cowboy, etc.
Just like the Jumbo Floor Puzzle, the pieces if this set are made not to fit together, unless they are the correct corresponding pieces. This way, wrong pieces won't get jammed together, and the kiddos will know right away that they need to take another look, and try again.
Here's an action shot of B fitting some of the pieces together to create some of his favorite people in the community!
In fifteen or so minutes, B had completed all of the people sets- twenty in all!
This Match It- Who Am I? Puzzle Game features fun, familiar faces, like a doctor, police officer, astronaut, pirate, baker, princess, fairy, clown, etc. We had a lot of fun continuing our discussion about these people, and where we might find them... like seeing a scuba diver out in the ocean, a cowboy on a ranch, a clown at the circus, a baker in a bakery, and so forth.
B's handiwork on display- all twenty of his match-ups!
B was definitely proud of himself after matching up all of these people, and so was I! I think the Match It puzzle sets are really neat, and I would love to purchase some more sets for B. I can work on reading and writing with B all day long with no problem, but math just isn't my thing- so some of the math Match It puzzles would really help me teach him early math. It's not that I can't put a bunch of objects out on the table with him and work on simple addition or subtraction, but he's smarter than I even realize sometimes, and I need the proper tools to teach him, so I know that he's receiving an excellent lesson, each and every time we sit down to work on something together. No one wants to wind up tired and frustrated after a simple at home math lesson!
Details of the Match It- Who Am I? Puzzle Set
This set of three-piece puzzle pairs features familiar characters and professionals. Children will learn to recognize many different people, such as a police officer, ballerina, and wizard. The colorful puzzle sets are self-correcting-only cards that belong together will fit together. Recommended for ages three and up.
Our experience with the products we received from The Learning Journey has been so wonderful! I know that B is taking something away from our play time, each time we sit down with either one of these puzzles. My parents have worked on these puzzles with B, as well, and they love the big pieces, and bright, bold colors. They've commented on how well B works on these, without becoming frustrated, and how well he pays attention to their details.
Check out some of these other great products available from The Learning Journey...
Count and Learn ATM Machine
Magnetic Make a Shape Board
ABC Doubles Find It Puzzle
Adventure Series Techno Gears Marble Mania Mindshaft
My First Match It- At the Ocean
I wish that I'd known about The Learning Journey when B was a toddler, because I would have loved to have started working on these wonderful puzzles and games at an even earlier age! The Learning Journey makes it so convenient for parents and educators to quickly find what they need. The Learning Journey website is extremely user-friendly, and you can shop by price, age, category, best sellers, or you can even purchase gift certificates, which would make an awesome gift for a new parent, for a birthday, for teachers, etc! The Learning Journey offers learning toys, games, puzzles, etc for ages 0-3, 3-5, and 6+ or school age.
I can't wait to add even more wonderful learning tools to my personal collection. B and I have been having so much fun learning together, and I know that this is something that I will continue at home with him, even after he's old enough to enroll in preschool and beyond!
Want It? Buy It!
Head on over to The Learning Journey to browse all of their educational products for children! Don't forget that you can shop by age, price or category! Can't find something you're looking for? Shop the best sellers section, and read customer reviews! You can also request a catalog, a replacement part, etc! The Learning Journey is social and would love to connect with you via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest! You can also find out about the latest and greatest from The Learning Journey Blog!
Want It? Win It!
One lucky MBP reader will win both the Jumbo Fire Engine Rescue Floor Puzzle and Match It- Who Am I? Sets! Just use the handy Rafflecopter entry form below to enter for your chance to win! Giveaway is open to US residents, 18 and older.
Special thanks to our friends at The Learning Journey for allowing us to continue our education at home with B, through these awesome educational puzzle sets, and for offering this wonderful giveaway to our readers!