Pros: Discovery Toys quality; A unique pattern block design activity
Cons: Only available through Discovery Toys representatives unless you find at a yard sale
Discovery Toys is a company that offers you a wide range of developmental learning toys, books and games that are great fun to use. All of the toys that Discovery Toys sells are directly through local representatives all around the world ~ they do have catalogs and brochures to look through, and you may see a representative in your area hosting an open house where you can actually look at and play with numerous items from the catalog. While Discovery Toys does have a website where you can check out all of their products, you are not able to buy directly on-line. Rather, you will be routed to a representative in your area.
Discovery Toys products are all well made and really do last for years. I have quite a collection of toys from Discovery Toys that have been well used by my children as well as all the children that I provide therapy to in their homes. Not one of the toys I have purchased has broken or chipped or failed to work. Those toys that are colored remain just as bright as when I bought them. I often "lend" out toys to children that I work with in order for them to work more on a specific cognitive or motor skill, and I know that, apart from having a piece "lost" I will get that toy back safe and sound.
I can highly recommend any toy from this company because I know they are sturdy and made with a functional purpose ~ they are all geared to developmental learning and each toy, game or book gives the recommended age that it is intended for. When I see Discovery Toy on an item I know that it is made of the highest quality materials and made to last. (Just in case you are wondering, no, I am not a representative! lol)
This specific game, Mosaic Mysteries ~ Pattern Block Design Activity is more than a whopping big mouth full to say! You get 100 bright geometric pieces that you can put together into thousands of possible design patterns. A six-sided holding tray is included that is your base for putting together your design ~ once you have completed your mosaic, you can start over with another one, or hang the holding tray up to display your work.
The mosaic pieces come in pink, green, purple, and yellow. They are all 4-sided pieces which would look like triangles except the top is flattened off. It is quite amazing to see just how many ways you can combine these pieces to make a different design!
The instruction booklet that comes with Mosaic Mysteries has only one direction in it ~ "Complete the pattern on your own." Now that may not seem like much help, but each and every pattern displayed is shown in full-color inside the holding tray. By copying the design shown you too can make the clever pattern designs. The very first page gives you a break down of how to complete one of the patterns -- follow it to completion and you will have the knowledge to work the rest of the patterns in the book or make up your own.
There are 49 completed patterns to follow and at the end of the booklet you are shown 8 patterns where only 1/4 of the design is completed ~ you will need to use your brain power to pull that same design around to complete the other 3/4's of the design. Out of the 49 patterns shown, 24 of them are in black and white causing you to rely on your cognitive skill and creative flair to come up with your own color choices. There are also 4 complete patterns shown that show only 1/4 of it in color and the other 3/4's in black and white.
As you can see this activity does allow you to grow and learn ~ first you are shown how to make a mosaic design, then you are given numerous designs to copy, then you are given black and white designs to pull on your own imagination. After that you get a design that is only partially colored to pull on your sequencing, directionality, position in space, and other complex thinking and processing skills. Then for the final "test" you are shown just a small part of the design completed for you -- you get to integrate and process and extrapolate the rest ~ Wow! When you think about it ~ this is a wonderful cognitive learning and development game, and I tell you, it challenges even me! (yes, I know you thought I was such a genius, but . . . lol, maybe I'll just leave it at that~ lol).
The age range given for Mosaic Mysteries is 8+ years old. My children were exposed to it with adult help and guidance when Michael (who is now 8) was 5 years old. Daniel who is just now 5 started "playing" around with the pieces when he was 3 years old. I do feel that adjusting the complexity will allow you to also share with game with children as young as 3 years old. By adjusting the complexity I mean, have them "match the colors," have them "count each color," try to see how you can "put two pieces or three pieces together to make different shapes," or even to have them see if they can just "fill up" the holding tray.
By letting your children use and develop their complex cognitive processing skills will pay off later on in life. I know Michael is a real math wiz where he can "see" the numbers in his head and process problems without using paper and pencil. Did this game help him in that area? Maybe it did help him develop those natural skills he already possessed by exposing him to abstract processing tasks early on. He started playing the piano early on and that cognitive skill too relates very well to the skills needed in mathematics ~ so who really knows?
All I know is I believe in exposing my kids to as big a variety of activities, games, books, and life situations ~ the young mind is so able to absorb and learn and grow, and I want my kids to have the best "chance" they can get in this complicated world! A kid's job is to play and learn ~ Discovery Toys goes a long way in making that learning fun. Discovery Toys and Mosaic Mysteries give your kids (of all ages) wonderful things to play with, to be a kid with, and to grow with.