Hi there, Learning Expressions Readers!
I’ve recently found myself completely surrounded by puzzles. I guess there’s nothing odd about that when you intern at a place that sells toys, but it’s actually not my office that has been overrun with puzzles lately. At home, my dining room has been completely overtaken by my grandfather’s jigsaw puzzles for a couple of weeks now. There have been points at which I’ve had to place silverware and dishes on top of the puzzles, using them as makeshift placemats. You can imagine my surprise when this week’s toy review required me to write about the one thing I couldn’t stand to see any more of - a puzzle. I wish I was kidding about all of this, but I couldn’t make it up if I tried.
I just spent the better part of the last half hour assembling puzzles on my desk. Oddly enough, I really enjoyed it. In fact, I spent my time assembling more than one puzzle. When I was done, I almost felt guilty for waging war against the puzzles that have made their home on my dinner table… almost.
Wondering what it was that caused me to have this puzzle epiphany? Two words: Cool Circuits™. Cool
Circuits™ are a set of 40 different puzzle challenges. At first glance, I figured I was much too old for a toy like this—completing them was sure to be a breeze! What came next was a major surprise. The smile quickly turned into a furrowed brow as I struggled to complete a puzzle without cheating.
Inside the box, you will find an instruction manual, an electronic box (the puzzle board), eight puzzle pieces, and forty puzzle challenges. A little switch on the back lets you know whether the electronic box is on or off. When you’re ready to start, grab a puzzle; line it up with the raised guide posts; and turn on the box. The puzzle has marks where pieces must be placed and where two pieces must connect. Once the puzzle is complete, the box will flash blue and play music.
For those who haven’t used a puzzle like this before, you can start with a tutorial level challenge. These challenges start with the majority of the pieces in place and require you to guess the appropriate spots for two or three pieces. As the difficulty increases, the number of pre-placed pieces decreases. I started with a tutorial that required me to guess two pieces and moved on to an advanced challenge that required me to guess six pieces.
The tutorial puzzles are great for beginners, but these advanced level puzzles are a real challenge at any age. I had to actually look at the solution in the instruction book for hints to complete the last puzzle. After looking to see where one piece went, it still took me a solid ten minutes to put together a functioning circuit. There were moments when I just fumbled with the pieces and stared at the puzzle like a deer in the headlights. If I wasn’t already convinced, I was finally forced to admit that these puzzles are both fun and challenging.
Strangely enough, I think this toy managed to open a small spot in my heart for puzzles and puzzle games. In fact, I think I may take Cool Circuits home for my grandfather to try out tonight.
Thanks for reading!