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Melissa & Doug – Bear Family Dress-Up Puzzle

Sweet Pea is 26 months old.

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From: I have been looking for some good puzzles / toys for Sweet Pea and I just loved this fun Melissa & Doug Bear Family Dress Up Puzzle that I saw at  The Learning Tree.

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Observations: There are 3 bears and 5 different puzzle pieces for each of 3 spots on a bear (faces, tops and bottoms), so there are 45 puzzle pieces total.  This was a lot of puzzle pieces for a  Sweet Pea.  She needed significant help at first.  It was pretty hard to tell which piece  went to which bear.  I ended up sorting all of the pieces according to which bear they were for and put them into 3 separate baskets.   After I had them sorted, I set 2 of the baskets aside and we were more easily able to just work on 1 bear at a time.

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Despite the complexity of the puzzle, we had a great time with it.  We talked about making the bears go to sleep and Sweet Pea searched through the puzzle pieces to find the “sleep clothes” for each bear.  I would say something like, “His pajamas are blue.  Can you find the blue pajama shirt?”   Then she could search through the basket to find the correct item.

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After we talked about the bear family going to sleep, we made up a story about them waking up  in the morning and changed the bear faces and clothes to “awake” items.  I  loved the storytelling aspect of this toy.  Sweet Pea loves teddy bears in general and making up stories about this little bear family was so much fun.  A lot of the Tot School things we do are very logic oriented, so I was really happy to have a toy that could be used in a more creative way.

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From the Trenches: 26 months is maybe a bit young for this puzzle.  Sweet Pea would occasionally get stuck putting in a puzzle piece and say “Doesn’t fit!”  even though it did.  I’d have to jiggle it for her and tell her to push it in.  Another minor problem with the puzzle is that the bottom pieces looked a lot like upside down top pieces.  Several times Sweet Pea searched in vein for any bottom even though there  were 5 options right in front of her.   However, we have played with this puzzle 3 or 4 more times since we first bought it and Sweet Pea has gotten much better at it.  She can now find the correct pieces without me separating them by bear type first.

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Rating: 2 and 1/2 Stars * (Fun, Easy,  Independent after quite a bit of initial help.)

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3 comments to Melissa & Doug – Bear Family Dress-Up Puzzle

  • I love the bears puzzle, we have the original one which was just one bear, but it’s been a favorite here.

  • Yeah free time does become a bit of the past once you have kids. Thank goodness for naps.

  • I was very tempted with this puzzle as well, but decided to get a magnetic dress-up set from Melissa an Doug instead. We haven’t tried it yet – saving for some big reason, maybe for a start of a new preschool in September. Now when I see the Bear puzzle in action, I sort of regret that I didn’t get it. By the way, the picture of meltdown in the post on washcloth made me LOL – Sweet Pea is so adorable.

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