Sweet Pea is 47 months old.
From: I kept seeing the Mighty Mind product pop up on my Amazon recommendations and decided to try it. (Apparently Amazon thinks I am a 4 year-old child. All my recommendations are decidedly geared towards the preschool set. You think I might enjoy reading the new Jean Auel’s book? No, no. Amazon thinks I might need some work on my uppercase letters.)
Procedure: The set comes with a variety of small colorful plastic shapes and a stack of numbered cards. The idea is for your tot to use the small plastic shapes to create a larger picture on the card. The cards are supposed to be presented in order, as they get increasingly more complicated.
Shown below is one of the easiest cards. It has a red and green triangle at the top and a light gray diamond shape at the bottom. First, your tot selects the triangles and places them on the card.
Next your tot uses the plastic triangles to create the diamond shape that is printed on the bottom of the card.
The cards get more complicated until eventually they just show an outline of a large shape with no hints for how to build it.
Observations: Sweet Pea enjoyed playing with Mighty Mind.
The first few cards were too easy for Sweet Pea, but the next several were just the right level of challenge. About halfway through the deck, Sweet Pea ran into a card that was too difficult for her to complete on her own.
The progressive difficulty was a refreshing change for a puzzle game. I have often noticed that the playable life of a puzzle is very short in our house. A puzzle will sit on the shelf for months because it is too difficult. One day Sweet Pea will suddenly be able to put it together and she will work on it a couple of times. By the next week, the puzzle is too easy and she never touches it again. I have a feeling that Sweet Pea will be able to keep returning to this activity.
I did not need to give Sweet Pea much help, although she did want me to sit by her the entire time. I think many preschoolers would be able to use this game independently, but Sweet Pea and I had fun picking out the pieces together and talking about the picture we were creating.
Sweet Pea did about 10 cards before she decided to move on to something else. The box’s claim that this product will “keep them busy for hours!” was a bit of an exaggeration, but Sweet Pea has gone back and worked on more cards several times.
I would have preferred wooden pieces to the cheap plastic ones that were included, but overall I liked the concept behind the product. An industrious parent might be able to create something similar, but for the price ($18.95 as I write this post), I didn’t think it would be worth my time to come up with 30 cards.
Mighty Mind kept Sweet Pea engaged and she has chosen to work on it several times. I would recommend this product for preschoolers.
Notes from the Trenches: The set comes with a weird flimsy plastic tray for storing the pieces. Your tot is supposed to keep the pieces in the tray while they work, but it was almost impossible for Sweet Pea to pry them out each time she needed one.
One one hand, the tray was nice because it kept the pieces neat and Sweet Pea could view them all at the same time. On the other hand, it was just too awkward to use. Unfortunately, since we started out using the tray, Sweet Pea refused to do it any other way. If I had it to do over, I would just spread the pieces out in the lid of the set and let her select them from there.
Rating: 3 Stars * (Fun, Easy, Independent)