World Piece

Hey, this puzzle looks great!  It’ll be a fun thing for the kids to do and educational to boot!

Yeah, famous last words.

When we ordered our school books last year from SonLight, they threw in a free 600 piece world map puzzle.  Tonight, Carlos got it out of the closet and we went to work.  Now, in theory, a puzzle whose pieces are shaped like the actual country is a pretty cool puzzle.  In theory.  The downside is that pieces with irregular shapes do not interlock like a regular puzzle would.  The water pieces interlock and the border pieces interlock, helping to make a frame to keep the country pieces together, but this works only if you actually do the water and border pieces first.  I, of course, went straight for the countries.

I learned several things tonight.  First, don’t pay any attention to kids who complain that the puzzle is too hard while they do the VERY easy, interlocking border pieces.  They obviously aren’t struggling with the complexities of getting Georgia, Turkey, Kazakhtsan and Russia to stay together, much less India, Pakistan and Nepal.  (And yes, I actually spelled Kazakhstan right the first time – thanks Sporcle!)

Second, keep the country pieces away from the seismic activity of a toddler’s feet.  For whatever reason, Jeremiah insisted on putting his pieces together near me.  This wouldn’t be so bad if he also didn’t insist on turning around and around, swiping his feet across Southeast Asia and the Middle East with every turn.  My poor tectonic plates couldn’t handle much more abuse.

Third, when you have a 600 piece puzzle with pieces shaped like countries, many of these pieces will be tiny.  Very tiny.  Liechtenstein tiny.  Combine that with numbers one and two above and things get a little more nerve racking.

Fourth, if you have a 600 piece puzzle with incredibly tiny pieces that when finished (ha!) is supposed to be 3 feet by 1 ½ ft, almost everything on these pieces will be printed very small.  The box picture was certainly no help.  Why?  If the printing on a puzzle that will be 3 feet by 1 ½ ft is small, imagine how small the printing is on a box that is 12 by 8 inches.  I was desperately wanting some kind of magnifying glass to read these labels.  Right about then a one world government was sounding like a good idea.  It sure would make crazy puzzles like this simpler.  It’s a good thing this puzzle was free too.  Now we can put that money towards eye exams.

Educational indeed!

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