Friday, August 19, 2016

FlipStir Puzzle

Today's review from Enlivenze LLC is another fun one!

My oldest (10 yr) loves mind games and puzzles. He's really good at finding solutions and figuring things out. I always say that his engineer's mind is very much like his father's. He learned to solve the Rubik's Cube a year ago and has a record of 41 seconds. He has since learned to solve other cube-type puzzles, as well. The boy loves a challenge. So, when I had the opportunity to choose a FlipStir Puzzle, I picked the Solar System, specifically because it's a level 2 difficulty.

What is a FlipStir Puzzle? It is a self-contained 3D puzzle. The only instructions are Shake, Stir, Solve! Each puzzle has 10 pieces in a tube along with a maneuvering wand. The object is to jumble all the pieces and assemble the puzzle. Easy, right?

Not so much.

All the kids were thrilled once the puzzle arrived. Within seconds, the younger kids declared it "too hard." That was ok; I chose it for the oldest. But when the oldest fiddle with it for a few minutes and lost interest, I was shocked. There it sat, on the counter, all alone.

My husband came home from work and completed the puzzle after just a few minutes (show off, ha). I teased him the next day when I noticed that the entire solar system was upside down though. Therefore, he didn't truly solve it. Obviously. So, of course, he came home, shook the tube all up, and reassembled the puzzle--right side up this time.

The FlipStir puzzle has sat on our kitchen counter for the last month or so. Sometimes, someone would pick it up and jiggle the pieces around, and then set it back down looking like the same jumbled mess. Every now and then I'd ask my son if he was going to try it again. And every time he'd show no interest.

One day last week, I left the room for 5 minutes or so while I went to swap the laundry. I walked back up the stairs and into the kitchen. There my son stood with hand outstretched, holding the completed puzzle.

"What? How did . . . Did you . . . You did it?"

The boy who wouldn't touch the puzzle for weeks, assembled the whole thing in less than 5 minutes.

Shortly after he did it, his 8-year-old sister completed the puzzle, too.

At this point, 4 of us can finish the puzzle. None of the little boys (all younger than the puzzle's suggested age of 7) have done it or have really even tried much for that matter. And I can see why. This game can be frustrating! You use the wand to move a piece, get it almost in place . . . and it falls. Or it won't flip. Or everything else is just in your way. My daughter said, "I wish you could open it up so you can get to the pieces." You know what needs to be done, but getting it to do it isn't as easy. It can be frustrating. In a good way.

Of course, my 2 smarty pants have no trouble at all with it. My son has assembled it many times since last week. We timed him only once, while we videoed. It took about 3 1/2 minutes. My husband can do it faster than that. It takes me . . . much longer, ha.

 Here he is assembling it in super speed, even with a little brother jumping all around. 

The tube itself is sturdy. It's strong enough that I've felt comfortable letting even the toddler play with it. The pieces and wand moving around can be a bit noisy and can also leave marks on the clear plastic tube. But if you're not worried about waking a sleeping baby or getting clear pictures for a review, those things probably don't matter anyway, ha. 

Since the Solar System is a level 2 puzzle, the pieces have wavy edges. There are also the options of the Statue of Liberty and the Periodic Table. The level 1 puzzles have straight edges and include Rainbow Colored Pencil and a Tyrannosaurus Rex puzzles.

We've enjoyed our FlipStir puzzle. Not only is it challenging, but it's self-contained, meaning no lost pieces around the house! It's small enough that you could take it in the car for trips or while waiting for an appointment. It would make a great present for Christmas, birthday, or just because. The puzzles encourage focusing, patience, and hand-eye coordination. My kids have already been asking for a level 1 puzzle. With all the benefits of a FlipStir puzzle, I see our family enjoying many of these over the years.

You can connect with the company through the following social media links:

FlipStir Puzzle on Facebook and Twitter
Enlivenze LLC on Facebook and Twitter

You can see the other fun FlipStir Puzzles by reading the reviews on the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

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