I wasn't sure what to expect when I was offered the chance to review one of Jumbo Games' new range of brain-training games for children called Smart Games. The words "brain-training" instantly made me think of the Nintendo DS games that Sophie loves playing but the Castle Logix Towering Blocks set couldn't be any more different to that. This is good old-fashioned fun with not a battery, electronic noise or flashing light in sight.
You get a selection of sturdy wooden towers with various holes in, rods with turrets on in three different lengths and a booklet with different constructions to reproduce. As you can see, 6-year-old Juliette jumped straight in and started working her way through the book, puzzling over how to replicate the different designs.
As Nanny looked on, she worked through the whole book of challenges, which get harder and harder, starting off at starter level, working through junior, expert and finally master level. She had to try various combinations to succeed but she managed really well and played for absolutely ages.
As you can tell from the look on her face, she had a real sense of achievement and pride when she managed each time. And she's not the only one. 9-year-old Sophie has also been working her way through the book and even the adults are hooked, sneakily playing whenever it gets left out ! 20-month-old Pierre is too young for the brain-training aspect but he also loves putting the rods into the different holes and building towers, using the different pieces as bricks.
It's a really robust, hardwearing toy that will last for absolutely ages. I love the old-fashioned, not to mention eco-friendly, aspect of it being a wooden toy and also the fact that it really makes the kids think and use their puzzle-solving skills.
star rating : 5/5
RRP : £17.99
for more information : http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jumbo-17534-Smart-Games-Castle/dp/B004NSUMOY
Other reviews you may be interested in :