Bits&Pieces. This is one of the oldest and most distinguished among the mail order resellers of puzzles, beginning with jigsaw puzzles and offering a wide variety of novelty and mechanical puzzles, including showcases of some of the world's outstanding puzzle designers. Their print catalog is excellent and can be used to place on-line orders.|
Cooperative Games & Child and Nature originally was the wonderful family-operated catalog business, Animal Town. Sadly, when they sold it in 2000, the new management folded soon after. The family, Ken and Jann Kolsbun, then built a beautiful and loving website, Child and Nature, where you could still buy some of their classic cooperative games and many books that were designed to instill a love of nature and animals and friendly, happy play. Their catalogs were always anticipated in the olden days, filled with family pictures and stories as well as charming descriptions and illustrations of their dozens of games. We watched their whole family grow up over the years. We're glad we kept all those old catalogs; nostalgia is priceless. Now Jann and Ken are in semi-retirement, and the great news is that their games and philosophy have been incorporated into a new enterprise, CooperativeGames.com, by Suzanne Lyons, an educator, author and Earth scientist. With her husband, Pete, they now manage a wonderful shop of cooperative play products that incorporates Animal Town's pioneering cooperative philosophy. Be sure to read their philosophy page while you're there.
Crafty Puzzle Company is James Cole's small family-run business in Bristol, England, offering their own handcrafted wood puzzles for the whole family, shipped internationally. These puzzles, brain teasers and wooden 3D jigsaw puzzles will test your IQ and lateral thinking skills, and look beautiful besides. And James provides many links to other puzzle and game resources.
Family Pastimes is a refreshing website offering cooperative games and puzzles, and a warm and friendly philosophy that fits right well with our own. The proprietor is Jim Deacove, the creator of all their wonderful games. Family Pastimes is based in Canada, and their motto is, "Play together, not against each other." We salute them.
Hardwood Creations is David Levy's wonderful site of handcrafted wood products, including four pages of classic games like chess, go, backgammon, Chinese checkers, mancala, dominoes, solitaires, and cribbage. These are the finest, most beautiful gameboards you'll find anywhere. He even makes it's not on his website, but we've seen it at shows a magnificent, adjustable, convertible coffeetable containing all the gameboards and accessories. We're saving up for that one.
Livewire Puzzles are based in Canada and have a superbly done website of wire and disentanglement puzzles, interesting articles, a profound philosophy, and good links to other puzzle sources. The owners of this family business are Frank Gregory and Claudette Ouimet, who have been making their puzzles since 1979. You can find every level of difficulty here, for every level of skill.
Marbles, the Brain Store, had a rapidly growing chain of game shops started in Illinois, featuring beautiful, fun and challenging products to improve memory, coordination, critical thinking, visual perception, and word skills. Sadly the stores have had to close as the company went out of business. They still have an online presence, however, on their YouTube channel and on Amazon, where you can order their brainy products.
Puzzle Master, Inc., founded by Allan Stein, a puzzle collector, designer and maker, offers a huge collection of mechanical puzzles and brain teasers, like wire entanglement, puzzle rings, wooden burr puzzles, all the tricky one-solution challenges. Good news: their customers can get free downloads of solutions. They also provide many categories of links to other sites.
For many years our website offered Tangoes and other nice games from Rex Games' catalog of excellent exclusive products they manufacturedclassic concepts like tangrams, word ladders, games for lateral thinking, geometric visualization, made in good quality plastic, well packaged. Now Rex Games have been acquired by Smart Toys and Games, a Europe-based company doing exciting work with non-violent "games that teach the mind to think", with a line of fun, IQ-building, single-player puzzle games and magnetic building sets. You can shop for other SMART games online and play online, over 1400 brain-building games at last count. In 2018, Kadon presented SmartGames with our rarely given industry award, the Gamepuzzles Originality, Perseverance, and Leadership Salute, for their Penguins on Ice and their track record of 25 years of creating inspirational and educational toys. Check out their story.
Simple Pastimes offers an extensive collection of jigsaw puzzles and accessories, from makers like Ravensburger, FX Schmid, White Mountain, and others. They also have a nice resources directory of links to many game, puzzle, recreation and hobby sites.
The Spilsbury Puzzle Co. Here's a catalog that's choosy about what to include from the manufacturers of mentally absorbing games and puzzles, stylishly presented. Their online version is so extensive, and won' t process your order without setting a cookie, that you're better off ordering the printed catalog.
Stave Puzzles are Steve Richardson's magnificently created wooden jigsaw puzzles. He's been crafting them lovingly since 1974. Stylish, witty, inventive designs have made Stave a world-famous name, the best of their kind.
ThinkFun (formerly Binary Arts) are the folks who have brought the world such excellent "smart toys" as Brick by Brick, Shape by Shape, IZZI, Top Spin, Back Spin, the irresistible Rush Hour, and a great many other charming and sincerely challenging puzzles. Their website is continually improved. You may want to check in periodically to see what's new. It's worth emphasizing that ThinkFun, Inc., is not merely a seller of puzzles but the developer and manufacturer, working with the most talented inventors and designers of our time. They also collaborate with other good game and puzzle producers, and sponsor the informative, creative puzzle site, Puzzles.com. Their latest group of geometric and logic puzzles are truly "Mind Challenging Games" (this slogan is their trademark) and aimed at classroom use as well. In 2005, for their 20th anniversary, Kadon presented them with the first annual Gamepuzzles Originality, Perseverance and Leadership salute, an occasional industry award. Their unique prize had 20 parts. Ten years later, they won the 2015 award as their 30th anniversary prize.
The Zome System is a building toy, an ingenious 61-zone system of struts and connectors for modeling 3D geometry. Zome celebrates the uniqueness and beauty of nature as expressed in geometric constructions and makes child's play into profound truths. Visit their website for examples of simple and intricate models.
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