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$12.99 at Magic Beans

It's no surprise that elephants are smart: they're humongous animals, with huge brains, and they can be trained to do all sorts of... amusing tricks and useful tasks. They also can paint realistic pictures (it's hard to say whether they do it naturally or not), mimic sounds, and use tools, and one very talented elephant named Shanthi composes coherent songs on the harmonica. The Begin Again Elephant Family Wood Puzzle introduces your child to two more clever pachyderms: this high-quality wooden puzzle depicts a baby elephant tucked in next to his protective mama. Mom's body is composed of four bright zigzags of primary colors, and the baby is one piece. Putting the Elephant Family Wood Puzzle together is a problem-solving challenge for young children, and teaches them about colors and about animal families. Read More

$32.99 at Magic Beans

Nature photographer Kjell Sandved made a curious discovery that set him on a very unusual mission: I was looking through a microsc...ope at a tropical moth, to my surprise I noticed a tiny, perfect letter F hidden on the wing. This raised the question: what other butterflies were hiding secret messages? Sandved spent 25 years traveling and compiling his famous Butterfly Alphabet, but you can find your own butterfly messages closer to home on the BeginAgain Butterfly Alphabet Wooden Puzzle . This bright and beautiful wooden puzzle for preschoolers helps kids learn letters in a fun and intuitive way, and is great fine-motor practice as well. Upper-case letters are depicted on one side of the butterfly puzzle, and lower-case on the other, extending both play and learning. Read More

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