Most helpful positive review
117 of 120 people found the following review helpful
The perfect pre-school toy?
on November 15, 2009
**I originally posted this review under the item listing where we had bought this, which is now listed as "discontinued." But it's clear that this is the same item, so I am re-posting it here where more people are likely to see my review. I don't want this outstanding toy to be overlooked!**
I had been thinking for some time of buying "counting bears" to help my 3-year-old daughter better connect the math equations she was (totally on her own) memorizing, with real-world understanding of counting, adding and subtracting. I only finally took the leap when I noticed that these bears were available with the free Super Saver Shipping.
OH, what a wonderful purchase. 50 bears, sturdy and plastic, and they're quite cute, sitting upright and easily balanced. The bears' colors are vivid and exactly match the colors of the cups, which are a big part of what separates this toy from others.
Let's face it, kids like to grab things, move them around, arrange them as they see fit, and this is a toy that caters to those impulses. There's no aspect of "Here is how you are SUPPOSED to play with this," no rules, no narrative, nothing to interfere with good old-fashioned manipulation and experimentation.
Almost without fail now -- for several weeks -- my daughter has woken up asking to play with her counting bears. She pours them out on her table, then dutifully sorts them by color, filling in each cup with that color of bear. She hardly needs practice in color recognition or sorting, so at first I thought she might grow bored with this. But I've been so wrong, her play has only become more involved as she's repeated the routine. I haven't needed to try to deliberately use these bears to teach elementary math -- they do it themselves. Very soon we were having conversations about the total number of bears (50), and then how there were ten bears in each of five colors.
She now has me hold open the little plastic bag after each cup is filled, and she comes over and ever-so-purposefully pours each cup's bears into the bag -- first purple, then blue, then green, then yellow, then red. As she does it, she triumphantly announces the numbers. . . "Now there are ten! Now there are twenty! Now there are thirty!" This isn't drilling or work for her, it's purely delighted play. It's a way for her to organize a little world of her own.
I just can't say enough about this wonderful toy. Kudos to the makers -- they really did this one right. Simple, unpretentious, but just enough there to delight a young mind.