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Magicube Safari Park

(Geomag $29.99-$39.99 )

Here’s a brand-new take on classic puzzle/cubes. These plastic cubes have a rattle sound, that’s the sound of the magnets safely sealed inside. That makes them stick together without any worry of exposed magnets that could go in a mouth. For toddlers just discovering the magic of cubes that stick together will be interesting. But the 14- piece Safari Set ($39.99) and the eight-piece Polar Animal set ($29.99 ) are going to be a lot more interesting for preschoolers. The sides of the cubes have pictures that fit together to form four different safari or polar animals. This is like the old wooden cube puzzles done in a frame, in which you turn the cubes to find the images that fit together to form a whole picture. Only with Magicubes the child is building a three-dimensional puzzle that stands. The set comes with cards that show how to build the image of a giraffe, camel, parrot, and lion-ish looking creature. There is no hard and fast rule that you must do what the box shows, but for matching skills, needed by beginning readers and writers, this is a helpful skill that takes some practice. Matching pictorial patterns is a better way to build those skills rather than going directly to letters. It’s learning about putting parts together to make a whole and that indeed is what we do when we read words and write them. So, this is a toy that provides both fun and learning without being drill and practice. Although it’s marked for 1 ½ and up, we think this is a great choice for older preschoolers.

SNAP: Try these flat on the table for starters instead of doing them as a stacking puzzle. Make up other games finding all the matching sides and stack the matches together. Which kind do you have the least of? The most of?

What kind of made up animal can you put together together? Of course building the animals as pictured can be fun, but so can finding new ways to use these for counting, stacking, matching and patterns.

Ages: Toddlers, Preschoolers

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2017

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