Spencer just loves this toy:
He could play with it for...minutes on end (i.e. forever, in toddler time). With my background in early childhood ed I can sit there for as many minutes as he does doing my parallel play and self talk (or whatever those things were called. No longer comfortable with the ECE lingo).
This toy is excellent for teaching. You've got colors, shapes, matching, fine motor, filling and dumping; what more does a toddler need?
Well, this toddler's mother needs something more. Take a look at those shapes. We have a triangle, square, circle, star and a... a... well, I have no idea what that other one is. Is that an x? A cross? A t? What on earth do I teach my child that is!?!
Why THAT? When did the rectangle cease to be one of the Very Basic Shapes. Even one of the slightly more obscure shapes would have been better, like an oval or a crescent (less sophisticated parents would be free to call it a moon) or an OCTAGON, for pete's sake. With an octagon at least you can find something else with the same shape and show for comparison, "Octagon--octagon!!" With THAT thing you can't even figure out what it is, much less find anything to compare it to.
I could go on and on, but I don't want anyone to think that my frustration lies in the fact that one of the few subjects in life that I feel fairly confident and comfortable with, shapes, has become yet another subject about which I cannot converse intelligently. Even with my toddler.