My son is in preschool, and each week is devoted to a certain letter. He is thrilled to be learning letter recognition, and to be able to start understanding how the letters come together to form words. This is where this puzzle fits in perfectly!
I found this puzzle at a local teaching supply store, and thought it was really great. It is made out of wood, and it comes in a wooden box with a clear plastic lid that slides on. The left compartment holds all the letter cutouts, and the main compartment holds 10 wooden rectangular boards that have a word carved into them, where the letters match up into. There is a picture of the word on the board, and each board is printed on both sides, for a total of 20 words. Some examples of words are sun, dog, frog and fish.
This puzzle is made for ages 4 and up, and I would agree with this. My son loves being able to find the letters that correspond to each word, and is very proud of himself when he can sound out the word he makes. I think older kids that can already read may find this puzzle boring. I like that the colors on the letters and the pictures are very vibrant, making it more fun.
The down side to the puzzle is because it is made out of wood, it is rather heavy, especially for a child; I usually have to carry it for my son, and it isn't easy to travel with because of its weight. I do think that the wood pieces will last a long time though, so I guess that is a trade off I am willing to make. Also, the plastic cover is hard to get on sometimes- it slides into little grooves in the box, but my son has trouble putting it on by himself.
All in all, I think this is a great learning tool for the preschool age group; it is an attractive toy, and not too hard on the budget. I would recommend it.