Thursday, August 18, 2016

Flip it and Turn it and Spin it Around (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

One of the joys of being a member of the Review Crew is that we get to put on hands on some pretty
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cool items that I never would have heard of otherwise. Not everything is curriculum - some things are just for fun. Such as the case when members of the review crew got the opportunity to review various versions of the FlipStir puzzles from Enlivenze LLC.  Member got to choose from the two difficulty levels of these puzzles. Our family opted to review the Level 2 Solar System puzzle and it's been a fun and challenging opportunity for us.

FlipStir is a self contained, 10 piece 3D puzzle that uses a small stir style paddle attached to a wand that poked out of a clear plastic tube. To solve the puzzle, one must manipulate the puzzle pieces into place by using the wand to flip, stir, and move the pieces into place. But don't let the idea of only 10 pieces deceive you, it's much harder than it sounds.  The tube does not allow for much movement of the pieces which means to solve the puzzle, you have to really use some problem solving skills to figure out how to get the pieces into their proper order.

puzzle, puzzles, games, 3D, travel, family, flipstir, wandAs mentioned above, we opted to try the level 2 puzzle.  There are two different levels to try and each level had the same amount of pieces. However, level 1 puzzles use bold colors and clear, defined images as well as straight edged pieces where the level 2  pieces have more complex designs and wavy shaped pieces, making them harder to manipulate. For level 1, there is an option of a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton or pencils arranged in rainbow colors while the level 2 options are the Solar System, the Statue of Liberty or the Periodic Table.

Each FlipStir puzzle comes in a box that shows what the finished puzzle looks like. But don't expect the puzzle to be already assembled - that would be too easy.. The puzzle is already shaken and stirred and ready to go.  (You wouldn't expect it to be easy, right? Nope, you gotta work for it!!)
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So, how did our family like the FlipStir puzzle?  It's a mixed reaction.

Right out of the box, my son grabbed the puzzle and started working towards manipulating the pieces.

Garrett loves puzzles to begin with and this hands on experience was perfect for him.  It took him a bit of time, but Garrett eventually figured out the design and solved the puzzle.

Ashleigh tried for about 5 minutes, put it down and didn't bother to pick it up again.  Puzzles aren't really her thing though, she would rather play with her stuffed animals.

My oldest, Alyssa, also gave up after about 20 minutes and deemed it "impossible".  We had a really good laugh at he fact that her 9 year old brother was able to solve it but she could not.

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My husband also tried for about 30 minutes and gave up.  Again, the fact that Garrett could solve it but a 30 year old man who works on a $340 Million dollar aircraft every day couldn't figure out a simple puzzle designed for ages 7 and up provided many laughs in our household.

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Charles Trying to Work the Puzzle
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And Charles Giving Up on the Puzzle

Being that both Alyssa and Charles could not figure out how solve the puzzle and gave up on it yet did not see the humor in the fact the 9 year old could solve it, they both decided that they would shut me up by challenging ME to solve the puzzle.  I'm proud to say that I solved it several times, each time in less that 10 minutes.

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Garrett presents me with the completed puzzle
Overall, it's a fun little tinkertoy that one can easily keep on hand to challenge their friends or just to play around with.  It's plenty challenging for all ages and I love the fact it is self contained so there's no risk of losing pieces. Also, in a world where electronics and video games reign, it's nice to have something for the kids to do that requires them to actually use brain power without staring at a screen. while it helps to improve motor skills as smaller children have to use the wand to manipulate the piece.

#hsreviews #shakestirsolve

For More Information about Enlivenze LLC and the FlipStir Puzzles, be sure to visit their website or any of their various social media sites at:

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FlipStir Puzzles Reviews

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