Our Thoughts on Infantino Peek a Boo Animals Puzzles

 I was sent a set of Infantino Peek a Boo Animal Blocks to review by Ebeanstalk.  Ebeanstalk is a website dedicated to selecting great toys for 1 year olds and toys for 2 year olds. They have a team of moms and a team of child experts that help them pick out toys by age, so you can be sure your child gets toys that have been specifically matched to his or her age!  I've written before about how wonderful I think they are and I'm always excited when they decide to send me something to try out.

The Peek a Boo Animal Puzzles are labeled for "1-3 years" so I focused on seeing how Ana would do with them (since she is 20 months old).

First off... she LOVED the box the puzzles are stored in.  It's sturdy and has a string handle and a plastic lid.  She was happy to just carry that box around the house.

When we dumped out the 24 pieces the first piece she saw was the mommy gorilla which immediately caused her to start her "oo oo ee ee oo oo" routine.  (The girl loves monkeys!)  We had fun naming all of the animal mommies (gorilla, elephant, chicken, dog, cat, pig, bunny, turtle, horse, sheep, hippo, giraffe) and making animal sounds.

The 2nd piece of the puzzles was a little more frustrating and confusing for Ana.  The piece to match to the mommies has a picture of the animal's home/habitat.  It was especially confusing because certain pieces look essentially the same until you open the "magic door". An example - the gorilla, giraffe and elephant all show jungle trees and grass and savannah.  I could match the shape of the pieces... but to Ana (and even to 4 1/2 year old Zoe) they all may as well have been the same.  In order for Ana to do the matching... we had to open all of the little doors first.  For her (and I would think most 1-2 year olds) the puzzles could have skipped the whole "magic door" and just stuck with matching mommy to baby animal.  That said... once she figured out how to slide the door open and shut she was obsessed with doing just that. ("peek a boo monkey! bye bye monkey! peek a boo monkey! bye bye monkey!")  Forget about matching and puzzles... we gotta play peek a boo with EVERY SINGLE BABY.  When we did get the puzzles together... every time we slid the door the puzzle came back apart.

Finally... she LOVED the box the puzzles are stored in.  Yeah yeah yeah, I know I already said that... but when it was time to put the puzzles away the whole process became part of the playing.  I named an animal and she popped it right into the box.  She put away all 24 pieces easy as pie.  And when they were all put away... she dumped them out and put them away again.  Awesome packaging!

Some positives about the Peek a Boo Animal Puzzles:

- The pieces are thick and sturdy.

- The pictures used on the pieces are adorable and very easy to recognize.

- Because there are a dozen 2 piece puzzles you can take out all 12... or just take out a few to make it easier for a younger child to match.

- The packaging/storage box is fun.

Some negatives about the Peek a Boo Animal Puzzles:

- Some of the "magic doors" are a little snug fitting... making it difficult for a toddler to easily slide it out (especially once the pieces were together).

- The idea of the "magic doors" sounds good... but we found it a little confusing to match a mommy animal to a home or habitat instead of to the actual baby.

- I think the age label might be more appropriate for 2-3 if you really want to have them put the puzzles together.  To use it with a 1 year old was a little frustrating... and another product without the doors would have accomplished the same matching/animal identifying/animal sounds activity.