Hape Colour and Shape Sorter

Hape Shape and Colour Sorter
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This puzzle is a simple but enjoyable toy for toddlers. It's appealing to look at, not annoying for parents and helps with learning of spatial concepts and colours. At around $20 it's reasonably priced, and would make a great first birthday present.

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One of the hard lessons of parenting is that there is a toy Venn diagram that looks something like this:

toys I want my kids to like toys my kids like toys i can afford venn diagram

This wooden puzzle is one of the few toys we have that fits into that tiny overlapping section in the middle. It’s pretty simple, but it has been well used and enjoyed.

Most of its charm comes from what it isn’t. It doesn’t make annoying noises; it doesn’t take up too much space. It’s bright and colourful without being garish; it doesn’t have too many pieces to get scattered around the house and trodden on (okay, it has nine puzzle pieces and they definitely do get scattered — but compared with many puzzles they’re pretty easy to corral). And it’s not breakable.

There’s a definite learning curve in working out which shapes go into which holes, but with only three different shapes it’s not too frustrating for young players — just the right amount of challenge for 1- to 2-year-olds. The different colours and heights give extra learning opportunities. Our Little Monkey, having mastered that the square block fits the square hole, now enjoys working out more specific placements, and building towers… Or demanding that a nearby adult builds a tower so that he can knock it down.

Because the pieces are reasonably chunky they’re easily grasped, and not-too-easily lost. We do have to fish them out from under the couch reasonably often but I’m not sure how to avoid that. They’re also pretty easy to wipe down, which as anyone with a toddler will know is an important feature.

I bought this toy so I’m not an impartial observer, but not all my kid-related purchases are as successful as I’d like (hence the existence of this website!). This toy has lived up to my (high) expectations, gets plenty of use, and would make a great gift.

Awesome or Average: Awesome

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