WHAT IS IT?:
FlipStir Puzzles are a highly unique hand-held puzzle where all ten of the pieces are neatly contained inside a clear tube. You simply give the cylinder a good shake before you begin, and then you manipulate the pieces using the permanently attached rod with a small tool on the end for pushing and pulling the pieces into place. No more lost pieces!
These puzzles are intended for ages 7 and up, and there are currently two levels of difficulty available. Level one includes Rainbow Pencils, which I received, and Tyrannosaurus Rex. Level two includes Solar System, Statue of Liberty, and Periodic Table. The major difference between the two levels is that the pieces in level one have flat edges, whereas the pieces in level two have wavy edges. They can be purchased for just $24.95 each.
When I received the level one Rainbow Pencils FlipStir Puzzle, I was so excited to try it out that I sat down right where I opened the box and began working on it right away. Now I have to say that I’m really into puzzles of all kinds, be they jigsaw or pencil puzzles, so this was right up my alley. I’m always looking for something new and fun to test my skills.
For me, I probably solved it in about 5 minutes or less. Once I got the hang of it, I realized there were a couple of “tricks” to making it easier to solve. One trick was to get the first couple of pieces in place at the end of the puzzle, and then store unused pieces on top of those so I could slide them off as I needed them. This kept them out of the way so I had some space to work. That got easier as I got more and and more pieces into place. Another “trick” was to use the paddle tool to hold the completed pieces in place as I tilted the cylinder to move unused pieces around. Gravity helped in this way.
After I finished it, I gave it a good shake and gave it to my 8-year old son to try next. I should mention that he has ADHD and does not have a lot of patience and concentration for things that don’t start falling into place right away. He got frustrated pretty fast and gave up. I’ll try him again another day. He’s actually the one I had in mind when I got the puzzle, because I think it will benefit him to keep trying until he solves it. It really has the potential to help him focus better. I need to catch him at a time when he is calm and undistracted by others around him.
Next up was my 11-year old daughter. I shared my best tips with her, and then she kept at it until she got the hang of it. She solved it in about 10-15 minutes. I had no doubt that she would! She’s really good at jigsaw puzzles. In fact, she has such a good eye that she can start putting together pieces in the center a puzzle without working from the outer edges inward! So it was no surprise that she got this puzzle solved pretty quickly. I think she and I would be well served to try a level two puzzle next time around!
Then my 16-year old son shook it up and took his turn with it. He also has ADHD, though he’s much calmer and better at focusing now that he is older than he was when he was my youngest son’s age. He was a bit frustrated right from the start! His reaction was similar to my younger son’s, where he thought it just seems so impossible at the beginning. I don’t know if it is a difference between the way boys’ minds work vs. girls’, or if it’s the lack of focus they both share. But I encouraged him to keep at it and shared my best tips with him, too. I left him alone for a little while, and after about 20-30 minutes, he finally had it solved. I think he kept at it because he didn’t want to be defeated by a 10-piece puzzle!
My husband wouldn’t try it. He’s not a puzzle kind of guy, and perhaps he didn’t want the shame of taking a long time to solve it like the boys! I’ll probably convince him to try it some time when we are bored and waiting in a lobby somewhere!
Actually, I think this puzzle is ideal for things like waiting rooms, car trips, and plane rides. It’s a quiet, self-contained puzzle that is easily shared and easily stored, making it a no-brainer to pack this activity for trips to anywhere. I had a lot of fun with this, and I can’t wait to pass it around at my kids’ upcoming birthday party! We’ll have guests of all ages, and it will be a cool game to pass it around and challenge each person to solve it. I hope to own more of them in the future, and I hope they keep increasing the difficulty levels and adding more puzzles to the selections in the future!
Check out what other Crew members had to say about this and other FlipStir Puzzles from Enlivenze LLC by clicking the banner below.