Sometimes you just see a toy that is so aesthetically pleasing, that you can't help but give a little gasp of joy as you remove it from the packaging. This is how I felt about Le Toy Van Noah's Ark Shape Sorter as I took it from its box. The gorgeous wooden ark is painted in subtle colours and has details such as raindrops on the roof and fishes in the waves that lap against the bow. Noah and his wife and the seven pairs of animals are sweetly and simply designed and well finished.
The story of Noah's Ark is one of the most memorable Bible stories and we all know the song about the animals going in two by two! It is a nice way to introduce the story to a new audience through play. The idea of Noah, his wife and the animals escaping the flood water is very exciting, and this toy combines re-enacting the story with the challenge of shape sorting.
Animal shaped holes in the sides of the ark are well cut and the animals fit into them making a shape sorting activity to develop hand-eye co-ordination and spatial awareness in young children. The ladder allows animals to climb up onto the ark which adds to the play value.
Freddy enjoyed making the animals fit through the holes although the shape sorting aspect of the toy isn't an exact science. They can post through horizontally into any of the holes, but I liked the fact it kept him engaged without getting too frustrated. To get them in properly is a little bit fiddly. As he gets older I'm sure the challenge of finding the correct hole for each animal will prevail. He liked making the animals walk up and down the ladder and also matching the pairs of animals. He discovered lots of different ways to play with the ark and we sang the 'Two by Two' song together too!
The roof has two removable panels and the frame doubles up as a useful carry handle with all the pieces fitting into the base of the ark, keeping it all neatly packed together when not in use. I found this feature to be really useful....there is nothing worse than toys that come apart, do not store easily and the ensuing scattering of small pieces across the floor which inevitably get lost and ruins the toy!
In an age of technology, with all singing and dancing toys and gadgets, it is refreshing to have a traditional wooden toy like this. It allows kids to make up their own rules, explore using their own imagination and enjoy a real hands on experience. The wood is so much more inviting than the cold, hard plastic that monopolizes the toy market today. It will last for years and look great up on a shelf in a nursery. I think it is important that children today get to enjoy the simple pleasure of playing with traditional wooden toys such as this one from Wooden ToyShop.
**Noah's Ark Shape Sorter is available from Wooden Toyshop for £23.86**
We received the toy for the purposes of this review.
I'll leave you with a joke...
What was the name of Noah's wife?
Joan (of Ark!)