Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fractiles-7 Review and Giveaway from Toys and Games Online

When my friend Sara said she could use some extra help to write reviews for Sara's Toy Box, I jumped at the opportunity. I have been a huge fan of her blog for a few years now and my boys and I absolutely love toys. The boys are a bit less particular than I am, but that does not stop me from trying to find beautiful, useful, educational, and safe toys for them to play with.

For my family’s first review, I selected Fractiles-7 from Toys and Games Online.com. I actually selected the large Fractiles-7 set($39.95) and the Fridge Fractiles set (only an additional $10.95) since I have two little boys and I knew there would be some fighting over this toy once they figured out how cool it was.

Fractiles-7 is basically a magnetic puzzle. But it is also more than a puzzle. Fractiles consists of versatile flexible diamond shaped tiles that can be combined and recombined into an infinite number of designs. The large Fractiles set has 192 tiles and a 12”x12” textured black steel board to easily create your geometric designs. Fridge Fractiles has 48 magnetic tiles and does not come with an activity board as it is meant for your kitchen refrigerator. This is great for my family since my boys love spending time with me in the kitchen while I prepare dinner and I am always scrambling to find activities to keep them occupied so I have the time and space to properly prepare said dinner.

Toys and Games Online.com shipped my order very quickly, and I was very pleased when I found my package on the front porch. I loved the minimal packaging of my Fractiles sets. The large set is packaged in what is basically an old-fashioned album cover which makes clean-up and storage of the set very easy. There are tons of colorful examples of Fractiles designs as well as some information on symmetry and the basic geometry behind the diamond shapes that make them fit together into endless combinations.
I love the educational aspect of this information even though I feel the concept is a bit above where my boys currently are in their math comprehension. After all, one is only in kindergarten and the other is in his first year of pre-school. Even though I may not share the information with them explicitly, they really are learning the concepts by simply playing around, copying or making their own designs with this toy. I couldn’t wait to take a closer look at the new toy and decided to open it while the boys were still in school. I have to admit, once I opened it and discovered that the tiles were all stuck together in a large piece, I was a bit disappointed. I examined the pieces and it didn’t appear to me that they were pre-cut, so I pulled out the scissors and began cutting.
Luckily, it did not take me long to discover that the pieces actually do easily bend and pull apart and I was able to put away the scissors and decided to save even the taking apart of the tiles as a project to work on with the boys. Pulling the Fractiles tiles apart is a great work for developing fine motor activity in little hands and my boys happily helped me pull apart and sort the tiny magnetic tiles.
The boys were immediately engaged with the Fractiles sets. Both the large set and the fridge set come with a lot of images showing so many creations you can make with the tiles. This is a great way to build confidence in using the set for younger children who aren’t sure where to start with the Fractiles. I encouraged the boys to choose something they liked from the pictures on the sleeve and try to copy it. It wasn’t long before both my boys were trying out their own creations with the tiles and this is where the real fun began. My younger son will make something new and can’t wait to show me. Once I take a look, I get an explanation of what his creation represents and it almost always ends with the question, “Am I the coolest artist-invention ever?” (By the way, "artist-invention" was not a typo. This is his actual quote). I am especially enjoying Fridge Fractiles in this aspect. I come into the kitchen and frequently find a new design. It is fun trying to guess which of my little “artist-inventors” created the new masterpiece.
We are very happy with our newest toy! Both boys will sit and play with Fractiles with dedicated concentration for quite a while and feel a sense of pride when they have created something. I feel happy because they are subtly being education on patterns and symmetry which are two important concepts for geometry. Fractiles are also made in the U.S.A. and are lead and phthalate free. We love this toy so much, we are definitely planning on getting a few of the Travel Fractiles sets from Toys and Games Online ($24.95) to give as birthday gifts for classmates of my kindergartner.

Now, the really fun part! Sara's Toy Box is giving you an opportunity to win a $25 gift card (perfect for Travel Fractiles) from Toys and Games Online. Simply go to toysandgamesonline.com to view their great selection of educational toys and games. Then come back here to Sara's Toy Box and leave us a comment about which toy you would select along with your contact information. You can also enter by sending us the toy selection in an e-mail or a message on Facebook.

21 comments:

Zaira said...

Those look great!

I think I would go with either a solid wood block set or the castle block set, you can never have too many blocks!

Zaira - zaira@nature-nurture-online.com

:)

Amanda said...

Those look so fun!
I checked out their site and I KNOW my creative 4-year-old would love this colorful masking tape and dispenser (heck, I'd love it too):
http://www.toysandgamesonline.com/Early-Childhood-Resources-ELR-0359-NY1261.html?cv=

rightkindofme said...

I think I might go with the Learning Resources Pretend and Play Teaching Cash Register. We have kind of an obsessive relationship with money around here. :)

email: somethingdifferent at that gmail place. :)

Angelika Mitchell said...

If I won I would get a bilbo. My son has always wanted one and somehow it never made it to the top of our list.

Hallie said...

I think those fractiles look really great but I think I would get this... http://www.toysandgamesonline.com/Excalibur-Electronics-9034-EXS1058.html

My oldest is obsessed with weighing things at the grocery store and I think she would be a big kick out of this!

My Boaz's Ruth said...

I've got something very similar we picked up from Kohl's. My 3 year old is not up to copying designs yet. But he loves to play with the pieces. Sometimes he lines them up and sometimes he divides by shape and sometimes by color. (though of course, never when momma suggests it!)

Michelle said...

I can't say that I won't change my mind, but if I win I'm really wanting a doll bunk bed for my daughter for Christmas. There's too many fun things to choose from though!

Maybe a lacing alphabet...
Maybe a pocket chart...

ooh! I'd really love a set of wedgits!!! Like I said tons of fun things to choose from :)

timin525 said...

It is so hard to choose! BUT, this time I think I would like the Melissa and Doug magnifier, binoculars and bug house. The Insect Lore Spider Web Frame is cool, too!

timin525 said...

timin525@sbcglobal.net is the contact for the timin525's comment. :)
Melinda

Ms. Amy said...

I really want the fractiles that Marci reviewed (in fact I am totally putting those on Tommy's Christmas list)...but to pick something different, I think the Guidecraft Twisters look really neat as well...I know Tommy would love them and when he outgrows them, I could use them in my preschool classroom.

~Amy AmyDyer@clear.net

Tweet by Willow Baus said...

A wooden balance bike for my busy 2 year old boy;)

Venus Mandy said...

Oh good question. While I love the tree cottage the girls would love Silk Scapes. They spent most of our vacation in the hotel playing in the curtains

Mandy

venusthrow@gmail.com

Venus Mandy said...

I would get the Morgan Cycle Tot Wagon in Pink when it comes back in stock. India loves pulling stuff around and she would love her own little wagon.


Mandy

venusthrow@gmail.com

Athena said...

Love the fractiles but as I think the one year old would end up eating them while the 3 year old howls, I guess we'll have to wait a few years for that one. We would love to put the money towards something like the Pure First Fun Jumper Trampoline . We have a hard time settling down to quiet creative play in the winter when we have so much energy. I think this would be a great help to us. Thanks for another great review and always great ideas to keep us going. Contact info is afillow@yahoo.com

Meredith said...

We'd get the Fractiles....though when the first page popped up and showed the ride-on tractor Kellen yelled "WOW! That's so cool." We're not buying a tractor. :)

Meredith- meredithsolano@hotmail.com

lizliliy said...

Great review Marci. The boys look like they had so much fun! I know my toddler would love this fruit and vegetable set. He loves to help his Mama cook. http://www.toysandgamesonline.com/Plan-Toys-341600-PYS1006.html

Anonymous said...

We would get the Guidecraft Hardwood unit block set. We always need more blocks, they are played with constantly!

Jenn
diogisam@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I pick the Fractiles.Looks like a fun game. There are endless designs to make. I'm going to order a set to send to my Grandsons in Germany. I know they will have hours of fun. Bettye F.

alianora@gmail.com said...

I've been wanting to get my kiddo a Radio Flyer wagon for ages! What a great giveaway!

Anonymous said...

I think the fractiles look the most interesting. I don't know...maybe it's the review...maybe it's my favorite lego playmate.

Tesa
TAGolden@sbcglobal.net

john & catherine said...

My two would love the Bazoongi Rocket Play Tent--so many great choices. I love the fractiles, too. Thanks for sharing