Our youngest beta-tester explores:   ChooChooLoops

 At Daniel's and his mom's request for something like train tracks, in 2008 we designed a brand new set of curvy puzzle pieces (polybends). Until its release in August 2009, we engaged Daniel for some hands-on beta testing, and mommy came up with seriously good solutions of her own. December 2008:   Daniel at 21 months was exploring his jumbo set of ChooChooLoops while we still had it in development. He even recognized some pieces as letters. His favorites are the ones he called S, C and O.   This handsome symmetrical free-form pattern was contributed by Daniel's mom. There's a whole new world of possibilities... January 2009: "Daniel has enjoyed labeling the pieces as letters and separating the colors into piles. I know it is too early for Daniel, but there are some fraction lessons in those pieces as well. We have also had some luck with matching the pieces by color and shape." May 2009: His mom reports: "According to Daniel the best pieces of ChooChooLoops are still the O, C's and S's, but he did try some of the larger 'squiggles.' Daniel spent a good bit of play time taking out pieces he had already placed and moving them to other parts of the board. He puts such concentration into doing that, so it must be important to him. He is definitely making progress on placing the bigger pieces." And having pure fun: October 2009:   Building free-form and tracing the tracks. Mom reports: "A fun new idea we are investigating are mazes/labyrinths, so we spent time setting up continuous loops and having Daniel trace them with his finger. We compare lengths of loops and try to connect the same colors to follow paths (off board). Fun!" With some help, even the longer squiggles can fit... One piece makes a fine mustache...   June 2020:   Growing up, age 13, and ChooChooLoops are still one of Daniel's favorites: Sister Caroline, age 10, adds her share of solving prowess. She is also interested in being a ventriloquist.