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I am planning to buy some meaningful toys (puzzles, learning toys) to my friend's daughter. She has completed 15 months. Would it be appropriate to buy Rubik's cube. I would appreciate other toy suggestions as well

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    If you want a gift that works for a baby, and is also a puzzle for adults, consider the Towers of Hanoi. – 200_success Dec 30 '16 at 13:58
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    My 18-month-old loved to play with my Rubik's Cube. She can't use it as a puzzle, but it comes to pieces quite entertainingly and FWIW that's as good a reason as any to have it. The only reason I'd say it's not appropriate at this age is a) if you expect them to actually understand it or b) they might choke. – spraff Dec 31 '16 at 14:17
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    From personal experience, I'm unsure if it's appropriate for a 42 year old adult... – Baard Kopperud Jan 1 '17 at 0:03
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    @200_success Have to agree. This was a fairly standard toy for kids when I was young. They were typically made of soft plastic rings instead of anything hard, but the idea was the same. I'm sure I could find some of the rings if I looked hard enough. – Carcigenicate Jan 1 '17 at 0:48
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    A 15 months old child? I don't know, but never underestimate! Here is a video of a 35 months old child solving a Rubik's cube in an extremely short time. youtube.com/watch?v=Slzg2zIPVG8 – stommestack Jan 2 '17 at 17:55

14 Answers 14

81

At 15 months old, a rubik's cube would not be appropriate.

First, it's kind of a complex puzzle. Most adults can't solve it. A 15 month old is going to see it as a brightly colored cube and nothing more. She will get entertainment value out of it by probably trying throw it or eat it (the stickers aren't good to eat and the individual block pieces are choking hazards). She won't even understand the goal of a rubik's cube, much less be interested in accomplishing it.

Second, most rubik's cubes I've seen are small enough the fit comfortably in an adult's hand. Being so small, she won't have the muscle control to really handle it properly. She won't be able to precisely turn the sides of the cube, much less line it up to be able to turn another side.

Kids at that age generally need bigger toys that require less fine motor skills. Go google toddler toys. That should give you a better idea what to look for.

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    Just @Becuzz they can't solve the puzzle doesn't necessarily mean it is inappropriate. At 15 months, the color squares are good for helping their eyes develop, and the fact that they can change it helps also. – SDsolar Jan 2 '17 at 16:39
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    I'd disagree that they're complex puzzles. They're fairly simple; it just takes a lot of time to learn how to solve one. However, yes, it is too difficult for a 15 month old to hold, but can be suitable for young children with good motor control. – Muz Jan 3 '17 at 8:08
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    @SDsolar: I agree with you on saying "If they can't solve the puzzle doesn't necessarily mean it is inappropriate", However considering the motor skills (Muscle control) and Choking hazards, I also feel it may not be appropriate. – Subin_Learner Jan 3 '17 at 9:32
44

I would not recommend this as a toy, but for a different reason.

As a brightly colored geometric shape a Rubik's cube would probably be appealing to small children, and at that age they will likely try to put it in their mouths.

enter image description here

Many cubes can be dismantled into separate pieces, which could be small enough to be swallowed. Also, some cubes use colored stickers for the faces which can come off and also be swallowed. That is a strong reason to avoid these as toys in my opinion.

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    With majority of qubes I'd expect them to be dismantled pretty soon. Twisty behaviour looks interesting, but if one side is halfway turned it provides handhold to tear the corner away, and then you can tear the qube into pieces. Definitely not something a small child (small enough that choking hasard is an issue) should play alone with. I've added a pic to show size of separate pieces. – Daerdemandt Dec 31 '16 at 0:50
  • I was in my mid 20s before I discovered how to take them apart. – SDsolar Jan 2 '17 at 16:40
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    @Daerdemandt The standard Rubik's construction makes it very difficult to tear off a corner in my experience. Instead, you twist the side halfway and must then pinch (somewhat hard) on the "edge" piece and pop that out. That said, I still think there's too much of a risk for a young child who'd put such things in their mouth. – apnorton Jan 2 '17 at 17:59
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    @apnorton never underestimate the ability of a toddler to find the weakness of anything with moving parts. :D – barbecue Jan 3 '17 at 17:56
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    @barbecue sometimes not even moving parts are needed. One of our family's toddler dismantled a wooden kitchen chair in 3 minutes when no-one was looking at her. – T. Sar Jan 6 '17 at 15:11
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There are huge soft 2x2 rubik's cubes for toddlers. Like this one: Jumbo 12157 - Rubik's Baby - My first Cube, Kleinkindspielzeug They are soft and not easily breakable.

There is a youtuber called "redkb" who gave one these as a present to his nephew if I remember correctly for his 2nd birthday. So maybe that could be an alternative for you?

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    Welcome! I think even at 2, these cubes are not puzzles, but just blocks that are coloured brightly. Nothing wrong with blocks. – WRX Dec 29 '16 at 15:40
  • You are probably right, but maybe they really like it, like a stuffed animal and become more open for these cubes later? I remember my niece playing with stuffed horse toys all the time and she started horse back riding by the age of 3. Now with 7 years old it is her favorite hobby. – Pudora Dec 29 '16 at 15:42
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    It can't hurt. I think of toys, food, everything we do with children as an introduction to other experiences. It's a buffet of experiences. Your child may or may not like something, but without an opportunity, they can't choose anything they don't know about. If your kid likes trains -- it is because somehow s/he was introduced to that experience. Introduction doesn't mean they will love trains, it means that they are able to. – WRX Dec 29 '16 at 15:48
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    Looking at the video you mentioned, apparently there are two kinds of soft Rubik's cubes for small kids: the one you linked to, which is basically a plush toy made up of 8 cubes connected by elastic, and this one, which is an actual working 2x2 Rubik's cube, just with soft padding over the mechanism, and is recommended for age 3+. Confusingly, both seem to be sometimes marketed as "My First Rubik's Cube", even though the latter one actually says "Rubik's Soft Cube" on the box. – Ilmari Karonen Dec 31 '16 at 4:35
  • @Ilmari Karonen You are right! I didn't look at the link for too long and just searched for "My first Rubik's Cube" Thank you for clarifying! – Pudora Jan 2 '17 at 6:39
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No, at 15 months this doesn't make sense.

I'd recommend a book with little flaps that show pictures underneath. These are fun for kids that age. Pick a book that shows colors, numbers, animals, etc.

Activity books that ask the kid to find objects in the picture are also appropriate. That way parents can say "where is the horse?" and kids learn the words and going from language to picture.

2

I agree with Becuzz. The child at 15 months will simply ignore the toy. If you think it encourages intelligence, you'd be incorrect. It seems counter-intuitive perhaps, but truly it makes sense.

Accomplishment makes learning fun and is encouraging. There are hundreds of great learning toys available. Bright colours, safe-size pieces and basic lessons are the way to go. Manipulation, colour/shape matching, shapes into holes, patterning, sorting... all these activities are appropriate.

2

I would recommend a Rubik's Cube for a 15 month old if, and only if, the parent (or nanny or other constant companion) is able to easily solve the cube already.

This is a slightly odd answer, but I do have some experience: I can solve a Rubik's cube in under two minutes every time (under a minute if I hurry) and my three-year-old son has enjoyed playing with my Rubik's cube for the last year and a half. He doesn't play with it very often, as he has other toys that are of greater interest to him personally—but he enjoys scrambling it (and has for many many months).

Also, if I do one or two quarter turns away from the solved state and hand the cube to him, he can (if he feels like it) reverse the turns to solve the cube.

So for most 15-month-old kids, no, this would not be an appropriate gift. However, there are exceptions to that.


As for other toys, personally, I would go with almost anything from Melissa and Doug, but probably the wooden block set to start with. The set is marked ages 3+, but younger kids (yes, even down to 15 months) will enjoy picking up the smaller blocks and learning to grip (developing dexterity), and these blocks are durable and will last for years and years and years. (Actually I expect they'll last for generations, if you keep them in the family that long.)

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    I quite like this answer. Makes a lot of sense. – Bugs Jan 2 '17 at 15:53
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My two boys, 8 and 10, just received Rubiks Cubes for Christmas. They're both above average IQ ("Gifted"), but they've also quickly become frustrated with the puzzles and given up on them.

These really are not age-appropriate for young children, certainly not for a toddler of 15 months. There are plenty of meaningful puzzle toys available for younger ones, like shape and colour matching puzzles, which would be much more developmentally appropriate for a young one.

  • Hi and welcome to Parenting SE! – WRX Dec 30 '16 at 14:44
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Consider the stickers that are on them, or the paint. Maybe they don't have these stickers anymore (my old one has them) but if swallowed that wouldn't be good.

Just because something seems safe doesn't necessarily mean it is.

1

No, a Rubik's cube is not appropriate for such a young child.

Obviously, they wouldn't understand what the puzzle is and what the goal is, but that wouldn't matter if they could treat it as just a brightly coloured moving cube. However, they can't treat it as just a brightly coloured moving cube. Rubik's cubes actually have a pretty limited range of movement. The only thing you can do to one is to rotate one of the faces 90°, to make it look like a cube again. If you've partially rotated a face, the only thing you can do is either fix that face or rotate the opposite one. At fifteen months, a child can't even figure out that the square block doesn't fit through the round hole; they're not gonna figure out that the brightly coloured moving cube requires you to rotate faces by 90° at a time.

Add to that the fact that new cubes are quite stiff and are a good deal larger than a toddler's hands and I'd question whether a toddler would be able to manipulate the cube at all. Net result: it's not a brightly coloured moving cube; it's just a brightly coloured cube.

And then we get the safety problems that have been covered in plenty of other answers: peeling stickers and the cube coming apart. If all you wanted to give the child was a brightly coloured cube, you could give them one made of a single piece of plastic that isn't going to come apart. The manufacturer says that the cube is suitable for children of age 8 years and up. Partly, that's because they think that younger children won't be interested in or understand the toy but, partly, it's because it's not built in a way that's safe for much younger children.

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From my personal experience I started to be interested about puzzle and game like Rubik's Cube around 8 years old.

I found an interesting article that may help you in your research and explain what kind of games a Children Between 12 to 18 month can be interested in :

http://www.babycenter.com/0_toys-for-children-12-to-18-months-old_5688.bc

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I don't think a Rubik's cube is an appropriate gift for a 15-month old child. However, I think you could give it to the child's parents, and tell them, "Let her play with it when you think she is old enough."

That might be age 3, that might be age 6, that might be age 9. It really depends on when the child will take an interest in that sort of thing, and the parents are the best ones to make that judgement call.

You don't want to give the child too many things that will be tucked away for months or years (that becomes a storage hassle), but, unless the family lives in a small apartment, I don't think there's anything wrong with a few things being tucked away in a closet for later use.

Insofar as other meaningful learning tools go, a globe might be a good suggestion. It's not a toy per se, but I've seen several young children take an interest in geography at an early age.

However, if you're looking for an age-appropriate toy that the child will enjoy now, consider something more along the lines of a shape ball:

enter image description here

0

No, 15 months too young. I'll say above 3 years for the 2x2.

My son start playing the 2x2, and he is 4 years old. He was able to solve it in two days. There also a easier versions that are only two sided. The rest of the sides are same colors. I think that it is a good gift for a little child but not that young.

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This is completely age appropriate. Toddlers love blocks, toddlers love colors, and toddlers love moving things. Bing bing bing.

Even better toddler's parents hardly ever get a toy that they may play with.

What all of the answers on here are missing is that a toddler isn't going to understand what should be done with a Rubik's cube. They don't understand that they need to solve it. It is just a group of blocks that don't fall apart... Until the toddler figure out how to tear the thing apart and figures out the easiest way to solve a Rubik's cube.

(My opinion is biased as I got one for my second birthday and have pictures from 80s of me tugging it around from ages 2-6 and solving it at 4.)

  • I'd agree, except that I think a 15 month old would probably find the sections of a brand new Rubik's Cube difficult and frustrating to manipulate. Granted, I haven't played with one in decades, but I remember them taking a bit of pressure to move. – user420 Dec 30 '16 at 18:53
  • I agree that the child doesn't need to understand that the cube is a puzzle and that it can be treated as just a brightly coloured moving toy. But I don't think it's an appropriate brightly coloured moving toy for a 15-month-old. The cube actually only has a limited range of movement: until you return it to a cube shape, you can't move it in any other way. 15-month-olds can't even understand that the square block doesn't fit in the round hole; they're not going to understand how to manipulate a cube. And cubes do come apart, into pieces that a frustrated 15-month-old might try to swallow. – David Richerby Jan 2 '17 at 17:16
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    @DavidRicherby, It doesn't matter that the child doesn't understand how to move the parts at 15 months. At some point it will move it just right by accident and then become curious, move it this way and that and see what works. Or the child will simply figure it out (not the puzzle, but how to move the sections). At 15 months my first son was even more entertained by the packaging of the toy than the toy itself (even the age-appropriate one), so there is no doubt it would receive just as much entertainment from a colorful cube (and its packaging) - or virtually anything that's new for him. – Nikola Novak Jan 3 '17 at 7:34
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I don't belive in "age-appropriateness" as a parent. I believe what I see and if I see my child can handle something then I let him. A Rubik's cube is a colorful cube. At 15 months old the child might not be able to solve a Rubik's cube, but that doesn't mean it won't be a fun toy. I would definitely go with it and not mind what others think about it being appropriate.

My thinking is that the child will gradually discover how the cube works, how to rotate sides, how to take it apart and put it back together, etc. In time it will discover all on its own how to solve it. It's amazing what children learn when you give them free, unstructured play time.

  • If the downvoter could explain the reason for the downvote, I'd be happy to add clarifications/explanations if needed. – Nikola Novak Dec 31 '16 at 9:51
  • I didn't downvote, but according to other responses, if you want votes I'd suggest you to explain why a Rubik's cube doesn't mean a choking hazard to toddlers. – Pere Dec 31 '16 at 18:19
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    @NikolaNovak: it's not just choking hazard, if you give a stickered cube, that's colored paper and glue with who knows what it is made from. If you give stickerless cube, each corner and edge pieces can be deconstructed further into three and two pieces that's very small and also somewhat sharp. – Lie Ryan Jan 1 '17 at 9:58
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    @NikolaNovak: Also, a 3x3 Rubix cube isn't a toy where you can discover the solution through unstructured playtime. The inventor of the Rubik's cube took a month of intentional study to figure out how the pieces move together before he can do his first solve. That's not to say that you can't teach a 2 years old how to solve a Rubik's cube, because it's been done before. But if you just leave someone with a Rubik's cube to solve a cube on its own, giving just the minimal instruction so they know the goal of the game, chances are they'll just lose interest quickly. – Lie Ryan Jan 1 '17 at 10:29
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    @LieRyan, you absolutely can find the solution through unstructured play. Probably not at that age—but that's irrelevant. As this answer states, it is still a fun toy. (If you as a parent can solve it, it works much better as a fun toy, though.) – Wildcard Jan 2 '17 at 11:01

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