Galison/Mudpuppy is a company based in Midtown Manhattan offering hundreds of original, beautifully-designed products for children and adults. Galison was founded in in 1979 and sells boxed note cards and stylish stationery for personal correspondence or gifts. Mudpuppy Press launched in 1992 and specializes in children's toys such as puzzles, magnetic figures and educational games.
The company draws product inspiration from many sources including museum imagery, the work of famous artists, children's literature and world geography. Budding artists can also submit their own, unique artwork to be considered for future projects - how cool is that?
I was lucky enough to win a Forest Friends Block Puzzle from Mudpuppy via a recent blog giveaway. My prize arrived along with a thoughtful, hand-written note from Shannon, one of the company's customer service representatives, so I decided to email her back with a thank you note and proposal for a product review & giveaway here at Manager to Mom. She not only agreed, but generously allowed me to pick a product from their catalogue that I felt would be a good fit for my readers. Thanks Shannon!
I had fun browsing through all the great Mudpuppy products and eventually selected one of their floor puzzles to review. Why? Because I love the idea of a huuuuge puzzle that can be put together by li'l kiddos, with pieces that are extremely difficult to lose. ;)
Here are some specs:
- Measures 2 x 3 feet (completed)
- 24 jumbo pieces
- Sturdy box with a colourful rope handle
- Printed with non-toxic soy-based inks
- Puzzle greyboard contains 90% recycled paper; package 70% recycled paper
- CE and ASTM tested for safety
- For ages 3+
The puzzle comes in seven creative & colourful designs.
I chose the Our World Floor Puzzle as I thought it would provide the perfect blend of fun & learning. Each continent on the map is shaded a different colour and features illustrations of characteristic animals, structures and activities from that part of the world - kangaroos and koalas in Australia, hockey in Canada, etc. It also doesn't hurt that it won the 2005 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Toy Gold Award; quite the honour!
My puzzle arrived very quickly:
The pieces truly are jumbo! Nice and sturdy too.
As you can see, the completed puzzle takes up its fair share of space!
When I made the puzzle at home, my 9-month-old daughter S liked to crawl all over it and swipe at the images...
....which was amusing and all, but not quite the intended use of the product! :) As such, I recruited my good friend's 3-year-old daughter Leena to try her hand at it. She initially had fun rummaging through the big pieces, but then started making matches with a little bit of guidance. I did see her match up a beluga whale all by herself - good job, Leena!
We didn't have much time during my visit, so I left the puzzle with Leena to play with. The next day, my friend sent me the following:
Leena loves the puzzle...she is getting a little better at it too. She doesn't understand the yellow border or the different colours of the continents for some reason but she matches pieces up by the animals. I think it is a perfect game for her age actually, because it is just a little above her skill level. At this point it is definitely a parent participation activity - which is nice for us.
She included a footnote: Not appropriate for 8 month olds :) Evidently Leena's little brother Sam wanted to take part in the "testing" too! Thank goodness for that soy-based ink!
All in all, these puzzles are awesome. Colourful, sturdy, non-toxic and lots of fun! My guess is that they'd hold a child's interest for a few years as well - from age 3 as a parent participation activity, to age 5-6+ as more of a solo task. I also like how the puzzles have different cues to help make matches (such as the border around the outside and the colour-coding of the continents, in the case of the Our World puzzle) which should cater nicely to different learning styles. I really can't think of any improvement suggestions, aside from offering even MORE designs since these puzzles are so great! ;)
You can purchase your own floor puzzle directly from the Mudpuppy website! While you're there, take a look at the other items in their catalogue as well! You can shop by theme, theme, collection, age and other methods. Mudpuppy has generously offered my readers 15% off any website order. Simply enter coupon code ZZZ2 at checkout for your discount!
Note that shipping is available to the United States and Canada (via UPS), and different rates apply depending on location and order total.
One lucky Manager to Mom reader will receive a Mudpuppy floor puzzle of their own!
To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Comments do not count as entries, however feel free to add a comment to remind yourself that you entered!
Disclosure: The prize is being provided and shipped to the winner by Galison/Mudpuppy. I received no financial compensation for writing my review or offering this giveaway, although I did receive the sample item free of charge. This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours.