Although we don’t use these during “school time,” nevertheless Geopuzzles are a large part of the reason Hans and Jaeger are familiar with countries and continents. My dad gave them a couple two or three years ago for Christmas, and since then I’ve bought one or two when buying school materials, and as of last month, we now own them all.
Although the puzzles are a traditional straight-edged rectangle, the pieces that make up the middle are not traditional puzzle shapes. Instead, each piece is shaped like the country it is. It is as if you cut up a map of a continent, following the lines of the country outlines, each country making a piece of the continent puzzle. Then the ocean pieces provide the straight-edged outline (islands are pictured in ocean pieces – the pieces don’t get that tiny!).
They are fun puzzles to put together. It’s satisfying to hear a first grader looking at his pieces and the box and saying, “I need to find Niger to go next to Mali.”
And, it turns out, familiarity with the shapes of states and countries makes it all the more likely that the children will eat their sandwiches and crackers into shapes of states and countries, or say of the preschooler’s abstract drawing, “Well, you almost made the shape of Peru,” making the preschooler feel very accomplished.
Playing recordings of our memory work while having the boys put together Geopuzzles, then making sure they read 2 hours and do some math, makes a solid “schoolish” day when Mom can’t muster herself for a “real” school day. And now that both Hans and Jaeger are comfortably familiar with the countries on all the continents, I am completely pleased with the time spent on that Plan B – even if they do drive me crazy with geography guessing games during breakfast and lunch.
Note: When I was grabbing the link and photo for this review from Amazon, I noticed that the Europe version of the puzzle is currently $5.99, normally these sell for around $13 on Amazon. I don’t know how long that price will last, but it’s a great deal!