Pros: Teaches how to use lock and key
Cons: Poor attention retention, lack of playability
We have tons of puzzle boards in therapy and the Melissa & Doug Locks and Keys Board is one of the puzzles.
The Melissa & Doug Locks and Keys Board has four different sections, each with different types of locks to open to reveal what is underneath. The different types of locks include: Unlocking a lock with a key, a combination padlock, a slide lock with an accompanying lock, and a combination dial lock. There are two keys that are included to open the two locks that require keys. The puzzle board measures approximately 12" x 9.25" x 0.5". The board retails for between $15 - $20 and is available online. We purchased ours through a store that sells products for therapy gear.
Contact and Miscellaneous Information
- Melissa & Doug: 1-800-284-3948
- Ages 4 & up
- Locks and Keys Board #384
- All Melissa & Doug products pass our high quality standards and meet or exceed all US toy testing standards.
- Lights, Camera, Interaction! Inc
- PO Box 590, Westport, CT 06881
- Made in China
Product information taken from product label.
I have mixed feelings about the Locks and Keys Board. While it is a good idea, its attention retention power is fairly low, especially after the kiddies open up each section to reveal what is underneath.
There are four sections to the Locks and Keys Board. Each section has a lock and, upon opening the lock, can be swung open to reveal a picture underneath. The wooden "door" that swings away is attached to the board via two hinges.
The front of the lock and key puzzle is a painting of a car complete with license plate (ABC-123). The lock "opens" the trunk of the car, which when the wooden piece is lifted, reveals the content of the trunk -- sports equipment and gear. The large key that is attached to the green ribbon opens the lock, though this is unlabeled.
The front of the combination padlock is painted to resemble a suitcase. The combination is present to "1-2-3" as the code, although this can be changed as directions are giving on a separate piece of paper. We have not changed this as we have a difficult enough time remembering 1-2-3 as the code. Once 1-2-3 is dialed in, one must slide the square button to the left, which releases the lock and the puzzle piece can be flipped down to reveal the contents of the suitcase -- a pillow, bear, book, PJs, toothbrush/paste, and a ball.
The slide lock with the accompanying lock has a picture of a white picket fence. Using another smaller key, which is also attached to the green ribbon on the board, opens the lock, which needs to be removed and the slide lock moved. Flipping the puzzle piece open reveals flowers, a rainbow, and sun painted beneath the puzzle piece.
The last puzzle piece is painted to look like a locker. There is a dial combination lock with the code being 20. The number 20 needs to be lined up with the tiny notch on the right of the lock. The code of 20 cannot be changed. What is nice is that precision is not necessary as the numbers between 20 - 30 will open the lock. Opening up the puzzle piece reveals books, a lunchbox, apple, and a drawing.
My first impression of the board was that it looked very cluttered. It is a bit visually overstimulating for me, but once I got over that, I thought it was a neat concept, particularly the different types of locks that were on the board.
I was very disappointed with the small padlock on the white picket fence section because that broke with the first opening. The lock was very flimsy and cheap and did not last more than one opening. It could not be repaired. Fortunately, we found a replacement lock and that has worked fine.
The kiddies like the board, but it does not hold their interest very long, especially once they have opened every door and seen what is underneath. They don't really have any desire to reopen what was opened only a few seconds ago. So I will usually pair the Locks and Keys Board with other puzzle boards so that way we are not scrambling for more activities to do once the Locks and Keys Board is completed. The kiddies do like to see what is underneath the board; I think that is what is most appealing.
In terms of ease of use, the lock on the car that requires the larger key on the green ribbon is the best one to use as fine motor wise it is not as difficult as the other puzzles. The combination lock on the suitcase is okay for kiddies if they have finger isolation. The padlock on the white picket fence and the combination on the locker are always the most challenging to the kiddies. Sometimes they get frustrated with the locker one and will just "dial" the combination lock until the locker opens.
Though I do like the concept of the Locks and Keys Board, I wouldn't recommend spending the money on it. My kids have more fun yanking the key on my lanyard and opening the lock to my desk to pull out stickers. They have plenty of opportunities in "the real world" to use keys if the chance is given to them to use keys.
The Melissa and Doug Locks and Keys Board is okay to play with but it doesn't have high attention retention powers nor will kiddies want to replay it once they have seen what is underneath. I wouldn't recommend purchasing it for your kiddie!
Thanks for reading.