Melissa and Dough Underwater 48-Piece Floor Puzzle {a review}

Melissa and Dough Underwater 48 Piece Floor Puzzle {a review from RoamingRosie.com}

Today I wanted to talk about the Melissa & Doug Underwater 48-Piece Floor Puzzle because it’s something that both of my girls love, and have loved for a long time.

My oldest daughter has been playing with it for nearly 2 years now, and she still gets excited about it.

As my youngest is only 2 1/2, she still needs some help to put the pieces together {the recommended age is 3+ and she gets so excited that she rushes too much to allow the pieces to fit properly}, but she loves it anyway.

My 4yo can assemble the puzzle on her own, but does ask me to do it with her.  She likes the interaction.

The puzzle is beautiful, as you can see, and large, which makes it especially fascinating for kids.  The pieces are big, which is great for little hands, and that makes the finished puzzle 2 feet by 3 feet.

Here’s what it looks like when it’s finished:

 Melissa & Doug Underwater 48-Piece Floor Puzzle

The colors are brilliant and the artwork is quite detailed.

When putting it together, I usually say things like, “here’s a piece of a dolphin,” or “I found part of a jellyfish,” or “this one has a lot of red coral in it.”

The puzzle is really a great way to facilitate conversations about sea life.  It’s nice to do the puzzle and then reminisce about animals we recently saw at a zoo or aquarium or read about in a book.

It’s also a nice addition to lessons about the ocean.  If you’re studying the sea with your Little One, this is a fun way bring the ocean into your home.

Usually I help her separate the outside pieces so that we can construct the frame first.  Next, as you can see in the photo below, she likes to walk around the puzzle, counting the pieces.

Then we fill in the rest.

And by “we,” I mean that I work very slowly, sorting pieces and musing about them while I let her fill it in mostly by herself.

Melissa and Dough Underwater 48 Piece Floor Puzzle

I definitely recommend this puzzle for any kids that love puzzles or sea life.

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Ocean Sensory Play Bath

ocean sensory play bath

This was a wonderful activity – so easy to set up and so much fun for the girls!

I incorporated this into Letter O Day.  (I know, I know:  I’m a little behind in posting all of the Alphabet Activities and their free printables, but I’m getting there…)  It’s an activity that I found on Pinterest, originally from Growing a Jeweled Rose.

The girls have always loved sensory bins where they search for small toys in a little tray or bowl, but I loved the idea of allowing them to immerse themselves in a giant sensory bin!

I made it in much the same way as my inspiration, with just a small change:  I didn’t add food coloring to the water.  I didn’t think it was necessary, and, as the bath went on, a little of the food coloring seeped from the noodles and colored the bathwater anyway.

ocean sensory play bath

As you can see, in the above photo, I started with plain bathwater.  I threw in the noodles, spread them around, tossed in a few ocean-themed toys, and let the girls climb in.

To make the noodles, I took 3 pounds of spaghetti and cooked it in two pots.  One pound went in one pot, with quite a few drops of green food coloring, to make the “seaweed,” and the other two pounds went into the other pot, with a LOT of blue food coloring, to make the “water.”  Or “blue seaweed,” or “coral” or “algae.”  Whatever.

After cooking the spaghetti, I rinsed it off in a colander in the sink to get rid of excess food coloring.  I didn’t want to turn my girls blue, after all.

ocean sensory play bath

After spreading around the spaghetti, we threw in their ocean animal squirt toys and a handful of mermaids.  It wasn’t a ton of toys, but it was enough.

They mostly played with the noodles, anyway.

ocean sensory play bath

Before climbing in, the girls stood outside the tub, feeling the spaghetti with their hands, then gently dipping in their toes.  Lots of giggles.

Then they jumped right in.

They held the spaghetti in their hands, wiggled it between their toes, “wrote” on the sides of the tub with it, and dumped handfuls on each other’s heads.

ocean sensory play bath

We made all kinds of shapes out of the spaghetti on the tub sides and on the tile wall.  My 20-month-old did a lot of swirling and slow movements with her hands and feet in the noodles.  My 3-year-old made patterns on the edge of the tub for her mermaids to sit in.  She concentrated pretty hard on her projects.  But even with all that focus, there was so much laughter and endless smiles.

They even helped me dump the spaghetti into a plastic bin before draining the tub.  They thought it was fun to use the little metal colanders with handles to help scoop it all up.

And, afterwards, the girls got a good scrub, and I made sure to dump some baking soda and white vinegar down the drain, because some noodles did escape me.

Overall, a great, great project.  So much fun!

It’s been requested multiple times, although I may do it in a little blow-up pool next time.  Kinda like our blustery day water play.  We’ll see.  :)

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