I don't think I've ever been sent anything to review by Bigjigs Toys that I haven't liked, but when I unwrapped our latest Play Patrol parcel I have to admit that I gave out a little squeal of excitement when I saw the Lacing Animals that they had sent.
As anyone who reads this blog regularly will know I love to craft – especially sewing and knitting. Without wanting to wish away time I'm already looking forward to being able to teach Little Miss C how to sew and knit, although I'm also being careful not to try too early so I don't put her off by it being too difficult.
I have tried to introduce her to the idea of threading or lacing though and a year or so ago bought the Bigjigs Lacing Beads to help encourage her hand eye coordination and also her fine motor skills. The Lacing Animals are the perfect extension from the lacing beads.
The set comes with four wooden cards, easch with an animal printed on it. Also included are four cut out animal parts which fit on to the animal cards to complete the picture. In each there are holes drilled which line up and the set contains eight short laces which can be used to thread through the holes and attach the bodies to the animals.
The laces have tapered ends so that they are easy for little fingers to thread through and the thickness of the body of the laces is such that it provides friction when threaded, meaning that you don't need to put knots in the end of the laces. The fact that the laces are nice and short also means that they don't get tangled up, reducing frustration for children.
Bigjigs have asked us to specifically write about the developmental factors and play value from the toys that we are reviewing at the moment and there's quite a lot to say about these Lacing Animals. One of the most obvious things is the opportunity for children to develop their fine motor skills that they use when threading the laces through the holes. A degree of patience is also required. In addition to that though the animals on the card can be used to prompt discussions about the animals depicted, where they live, how they live and there's the opportunity to continue with songs and stories about them too.
The laces and animals also feature some nice bright colours so I can see several art and craft activities being inspired by them. We've also experiemented by drawing round the body parts and then trying to add on the rest of the animal too.
She may not be ready for a proper needle and thread yet, but these Lacing Animals really are perfect for LMC to pracice her "sewing" and me being allowed to do some at the same time too.