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Clarkrange Park Clean Up - Clarkrange, TN

Community Service is definitely a big deal for us, and over the years we have volunteered countless hours helping with causes related to senior citizens, young children, foster children, economically disadvantaged folks, animals, literacy, and catastrophic weather events, just to name a few.

As of lately, we haven't participated in as many "Service Projects" as we normally would attempt to do, but I'm hoping over the next year we can refocus our efforts on making a difference in and around the communities where we spend most of our time.

On this particular day, we were cleaning and repairing the Clarkrange Park in Clarkrange, TN. We play and exercise here often, so this was just a small way of showing our appreciation.

Janod Wooden Number Hedgehog Playset

We absolutely adore this little hedgehog! He's so cute and made of excellent, high quality materials. The puzzle pieces here are so very unique and I think it is a excellent addition to our toy collection!

This puzzle is made of the same thick, sanded wood as the other Janod puzzles we purchased at the same time. He's painted in bold, bright colors. The soft, lightweight wood is perfect for little hands.

Ribby really enjoys playing with the cone-shaped pieces. She loves the beautiful colors as she puts the shapes into their spots and removes them again. At 14 months, she obviously has limited number sense and isn't putting them in any sort of proper order, but that just means we'll get many years of use out of this toy as she grows and her skills expand. Each recessed spot where the pieces fit are painted with domino-style dots to match the corresponding number order. There are countless opportunities for fun games and cool learning activities.

Janod toys are super-awesome, and this little hedgie is no exception. If you are looking for high quality educational puzzles for your little ones, be sure to check out the Janod brand! This hedgehog in particular would make an awesome addition to your collection!

Janod Wood Fish Puzzle

This rainbow fish is another adorable Janod product our family has really enjoyed! He's so cute, and clearly made of higher quality materials than most other toys with which I am familiar. These are definitely the kinds of toys I'd like to hang on to for the grandkids some day...

The thick, sanded wood of the puzzle is made of solid construction, yet it is soft and lightweight in a young child's hand. The beautifully painted pieces are so unique to hold in your hand. Even as an adult, I adore the design of this puzzle.

I was worried that this would be too simple a puzzle and might not be worth the money. Even though some of the other puzzles on the market do require more advanced cognitive skills, this one is still a gorgeous toy that I consider well worth the investment. My 14 month old loves the bright colors and enjoys putting the shapes in their spots and removing them again. We will get a lot of use out of this!

As I've mentioned in a few other reviews, I ordered several Janod products at the same time, and this is definitely a new favorite toy brand that I will HIGHLY recommend to anyone looking for educational toys for young children. This brand may be a bit pricier than more commonly found toy brands, but the quality is massively superior, and they are indeed an heirloom-quality investment worth every penny. You will not regret adding Janod products to your playroom or classroom.

Janod Wood Butterfly Shape Sorter

Janod Wood Butterfly Shape Sorter

Yet another amazing product from Janod! My new favorite toymaker!

This butterfly is gorgeous! The wood, the paint, everything is of the highest quality, and you can see and feel the difference. This brand is generally more expensive than comparable toy brands; but once you hold this puzzle, you'll understand why, and you'll be super glad you made the investment. These are the kinds of toys worth hanging on to for the grandkids some day...

The thick, sanded wood of the puzzle feels solid in your hand, yet it is soft enough for young children. The painted pieces are just so unique and so beautiful to hold, even as an adult, I find the whole thing mesmerizing.

I will admit that this puzzle was a little too advanced for my 14 month old when it was originally purchased. At first, she enjoyed removing the pieces, stacking them randomly, and just playing around with them. Now that she is 17 months old, she places the proper shape cut-outs on their corresponding posts with ease.  As she gets older, she will continue to engage her brain by calculating the orientation of each shape (it's trickier than you'd think!) as well as the color gradient of each stack. We will certainly get years of use out of this toy!

I ordered several Janod products at the same time, and this is definitely a new favorite brand that I will HIGHLY recommend to anyone looking for educational toys for young children. The quality of this brand is massively superior to the Melissa & Doug products we own. Janod may cost more, but it's an heirloom-quality investment worth every penny. If you are considering this toy, you won't be disappointed!

Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Clock

Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Clock
Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Clock

I bought this clock primarily for the shape-sorting aspect of it. There are 12 different shapes in 6 colors to be fitted into their respective holes on the board. I feel it is a good value for the money in providing my 14 month old a broad range of shapes and colors with which to enhance her spatial ability and fine motor skills. As she grows, she will also be able to engage her brain in number sense, and eventually telling time.

My only criticism of the Melissa & Doug brand, is that once you become accustomed to the higher quality brands, like Janod, Hape, or Haba, you can clearly tell the craftsmanship is not on the same level. This product is much thinner, and not finished to the same softness as the other brands.

Dollar for dollar, with all the skills this particular toy offers, I still feel it is a strong value for the investment, and I do recommend it as a 5 star purchase. Brand for brand, though, I don't feel that Melissa & Doug toys will stand the test of time quite as well as some of the other manufacturers on the market.

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Enjoy your new toys!