Tuesday, October 16, 2012

(Product Review) Fun Express 2.5 inch Zoo Animals Slide Puzzles

Fun Express Zoo Animal Slide Puzzles (1 dz) - 3915220

Product Rating: 3

Community Rating: Very Helpful

Pros: Inexpensive. Challenging for kids to learn how to put them together.

Cons: Can stick or fall apart. Order extras so everyone gets a working puzzle.

Summary: Recommended as an inexpensive party favor. These are cheap filler items for goody bags, but will not hold up well.

As I have mentioned in previous reviews, I like to pick up assorted odds and ends for goody bags for the kids. One of the items I purchased was a package containing a dozen 2.5 inch Zoo Animals Slide Puzzles. I thought these would be something that the kids would enjoy, and they fit in nicely with a recent safari themed birthday party.

You can pick up a package of these puzzles for anywhere from $4 on up, depending on where you purchase them. If you are willing to purchase larger quantities, I have seen them for under $2 per dozen if you wish to purchase at least 6 dozen.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of these slide puzzles, they are a brightly colored square plastic tray which contains 15 square tiles and an empty space. Each tile contains a piece of the puzzle, in this case, assorted zoo animals such as a lion, tiger, monkey, and a giraffe. The object of the game is to slide the square tiles in various directions, trying to put the puzzle together. You can only move the tiles in limited directions because there is only one open space at a time, so you have to try to figure out how to get the pieces to end up where they need to be.

I remember really enjoying the slide puzzles as a kid, and thought that these kids would get just as much enjoyment out of them as I did, so I placed one in each of the goody bags for the kids. I had mixed reactions from the children, and soon realized that some of the puzzles didn't slide as nicely as they should have.

For younger children, you might want to only mess up one small corner so they just need a couple of moves to put the puzzle back together. Of course, it is likely that they will end up with the entire puzzle messed up, so be prepared to help them "fix" their puzzle if needed. Older kids can generally get these puzzles back together with a little patience, and usually seem to have fun doing it.

I guess the old saying holds true here, that you get what you pay for. I really didn't expect quality for the price I paid, but some of the pieces wouldn't budge at all, and a couple of the puzzles broke right away. This may have been due to a couple of impatient kids with sticking pieces, although I'm not sure about this. In any case, I ended up tossing a few of these into the trash and replacing them with a working puzzle. Once they all had working puzzles, they seemed to enjoy them much more.

These are an inexpensive party favor, which is what I was looking for, so they served their purpose. I didn't expect them to hold their attention for a long period of time, and I don't expect these cheap toys to last forever, and neither should you. I wish that all of the puzzles would have been usable, but even so, I had enough puzzles to give one to each of the kids to play with and take home with them. It worked well to fill the goody bags with inexpensive items, and the kids were all happy with the things they got.

One word of caution for these puzzles is that they do occasionally fall apart, and the tiles are rather small. This makes these a possible choking hazard for younger children. Because of this, you should always supervise their use around small children.

I will recommend these puzzles if you can find them for a low price, but with the warning that you should pick up a few more than what you will need in case some of the puzzles don't work properly. The kids did seem to enjoy them, and they always like to get a few of this type of trinkets in their goody bags.

Originally published on Epinions.

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