Finding the perfect gift for young kids can be a challenge, though educational toys that help with fine motor skills are always a safe bet.
With 4.9 stars and over 1,000 positive reviews, Amazon customers seemed to have found a hidden gem in the Kidzlane Color Matching Egg Set — and right now it's 44% off.
The colorful set features 12 eggs in a bright yellow carton. When the eggs are opened, toddlers will find bright, numbered interiors, and have plenty of fun counting, sorting and matching.
Director of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development and the author of "How Toddlers Thrive," Tovah Klein, Ph.D., spoke favorably about the toy, saying that she would even consider purchasing it for her classroom.
"It's something that is very real to [toddlers], because they see [eggs] in their kitchen, it's a part of their family life and adult work," she explained. "Adults break open eggs, and these break open, so there's a pretend aspect of it. The fun aspect of it is that they can match colors if they want, or match the pegs in holes. It's a fun fine motor activity for them."
In addition to helping learn basic skills like sorting and counting, the toy is also meant to help toddlers master color recognition, improve their hand dexterity, and work on fine motor skills. The toy is recommended for kids eighteen months and up.
Klein also said that the hands-on toy gives toddlers a multitude of ways to play.
"It's a very open-ended toy, even though it's something that looks very real," she said. "It really allows them to touch things and be hands-on, which they love. They can play with them as if they're pretend, or take them apart and put them together and learn."
Those who have reviewed the toy shared similar sentiments on Amazon.
"I bought these for my almost 2-year old grandson for Christmas. I was reluctant to get them (a carton of plastic eggs!) but decided to because of the good reviews," wrote one grandparent. "He absolutely loved them! This was the second present he opened and he did not want to open anything else!"
Not everyone loves the toy, though — one parent pointed out that the numbers on the egg interiors were hard to make out, and Marie Conti, a Montessori educator and the head of the Wetherhill School in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, worries that the eggs are too complicated to really help toddlers learn.
"The more streamlined and simplistic the toy is, the easier it is for the child to focus and complete the task," explained Conti, who said that she had seen preschoolers struggle with the eggs. "Isolating concepts, e.g. just color-matching or just quantity-matching, allows the child to hone in on a specific effort or thought, rather than trying to handle all the stimuli at once."
Conti acknowledged that the toy could help children learn things like counting and matching, but worried that since the pegs were small, it would end up being more of a "trial-and-error matching process."
Klein said that she thought that the toy was inviting in every way, and thought that the various play options made it more interesting to children.
"It's inviting," Klein said. "The colors are inviting. The texture of the pegs and the holes are inviting. The idea that you can put them in the box is inviting. Children like to put things in and out, there's a feeling of confidence in doing that, and pretending to do what mommy and daddy do in the kitchen is really inviting for them as well."
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