Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Review: Pepe & Friends Toys for Toddlers

If you have read Little’s last monthly update I shared that I think she is getting a bit bored so her behaviour is getting more challenging. She is good at playing with toys on her own and she makes up her own games, but sometimes she needs some inspiration and toys that are well matched for her current learning stage like the Hape PEPE & Friends toys we have been sent to review. They are recommended from 2 years old and I love watching Little discover how to use them.

Putting the magic wand away in it's special storage space


We were sent A-mazing PEPE (a magnetic maze) and Friendship Puzzle Blocks (9 wooden blocks which make 6 different pictures). A lot of Little’s toys are designed for younger children or are suitable for a wide age range as they can be used in many different ways for imaginative play. One of the things I love about the two toys we were sent is that they are just right for her current developmental level. She currently can’t make the pictures on her own or move the magnetic balls around, but playing with her she is starting to understand how to use them. In a couple of years time she might have grown out of them (although her 6 year old big sister did insist she had to play with them last night), but they are perfect for helping to develop her problem solving and fine motor skills.

A little person playing with colourful blocks with pictures on


PEPE & Friends Friendship Puzzle Blocks


There are 9 wooden blocks painted with water based paints. When pushed together in a square they can make 6 different pictures. This early introduction to jigsaws works well because the background of each picture is a different colour and most of the pictures have one main animal picture on. The cute, bold images of PEPE and his friends appeal to young children and they make the images easy to assemble. 

One of the 6 puzzles assembled showing a ginger cat called Dante

I am currently working with Little to encourage her to turn all the blocks the same side up e.g. all the ones with the blue background. I then put a couple of the blocks together and ask Little to give me the pieces to complete the image e.g. ‘please give me the piece with the tail on it?’ or ‘please give me the block with the legs on?’. This is helping her to practice colour recognition, matching skills and recognising body parts of different animals. As she gets more familiar with the concepts she will be able to do more on her own.

The toys are painted wood so while they are fairly durable the paint can get scratched and a few of the block corners are bashed from being dropped on hard tile floors, but this doesn't affect the enjoyment of the puzzle blocks.

Close up picture of the friendship blocks, a little hand and little toes


A-mazing PEPE Maze Puzzle


This magnetic game has a large image of PEPE (the puppy) jumping up on a ball. On top of the image there is a clear plastic labyrinth and magnetic balls covered and secured by clear plastic. By using the magnetic "magic wand" (pen) you can move the balls around the maze.

At 22 months this toy is just slightly too hard for Little, but with practise she is starting to understand how to use it. The current challenges are being able to hold the pen at the right angle for it to stay connected to a ball and to be able to see and understand the maze. As she gets more familiar with it she will need to learn to work out where she wants to take the balls and identify the correct path. 

A close up of a little hand holding the magic wand and trying to move a ball

For more advanced play you can move all the balls into the same area or separate the 4 different colour balls into the 4 different coloured wells they have around the maze (there is a red one on his ear, a pink one in the middle of the ball, a blue one next to the ball and a green one on PEPE’s back).  Once the skill of moving all the balls around has been mastered the box suggests timing yourself to see how quickly you can do it.

I think A-mazing PEPE would work really well to take on car journeys or to keep small children entertained at the table because there are no pieces to lose and it even has a handy carry handle. I love the attention to detail that there is even a place to keep the pen (which is on string) and a magnet to hold it in place while being easy for small hands to get out.

All 9 blocks balanced on top of each other and a little person with her hand on the top block


I am a big fan of these toys: the bright colours with adorable animals make them appealing to small children, the mixture of plastic and wood (all wood for the puzzle blocks) make them feel lovely and the toys help children learn new skills that are perfectly matched to a 2 years development.

***Disclosure: We were sent these products for honest review, but all thoughts are my own. The Amazon links below are affiliate links which means if you click though and buy something I will get a small commission at no additional cost to you***

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3 comments

  1. Ooh these look like wonderful toys, Violet has the Pepe stacking toy and loves it so I might have to get her the rest of the collection :)

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  2. I’ll have to have a look at these for Christmas - I’ve never heard of Pepe, but the stacking toy looks like something my little one would LOVE!

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  3. I love that maze toy, that would be brilliant for my son's motor skills. I will have to add that to my wish list x

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