When children build mosaic pictures out of small plastic shapes they are stimulating and reinforcing so many important skills that will help them with academic learning in the classroom. Building mosaics is primarily a fine motor skills game that requires the eyes, fingers and hands to work together to develop eye-hand co-ordination. Smart Play, from the RGS Group has two fantastic mosaic games:

  • Shape Pictures for four year olds and up
  • Magic Mosaics from 6 years and up

The major difference between the two products is the size and number of the mosaic pieces. Watch the video here or scroll down to the bottom of this blog.

About the products

There are four different colours and five different shapes in Shape Pictures, and in Magic Mosaics there are seven different colours and the shapes are much smaller. With the smaller shapes in Magic Mosaics, the tripod grip for handwriting must be used to fit the shapes into the smaller slots on the grid and a child has to be more careful and have more control as the smaller shapes provide a greater challenge.

Shape Pictures has 100 large assorted coloured shapes, and Magic Mosaics has 490 much smaller shapes. They both come with 6 double-sided copy cards making 12 different pictures.

The sturdy packaging of these Smart Play mosaic games combined with the fact that they are packed with educational value, make them a real win for me.



How to play

One of the things I love about both Shape Pictures and Magic Mosaics is that the storage box that forms part of the game.  It is topped by a plastic lid which is the playing tray on which the copy card is placed. The plastic grid is placed into the tray and play can begin.  Watch the video below to see just what I am talking about.

  • Choose a picture and set up the playing board as above
  • Sort all the shapes either into shape groups or colour groups
  • Now your child can start matching and building their shape picture

What your child will learn

  • Sorting and matching colours and shapes (this is where the storage box comes in handy as it is a perfect sorting tray)
  • Matching skills (match the correct shape to the picture)
  • Spot similarities and differences (to sort and match efficiently a child must be able to see similarities and differences, as they will one day have to be able to tell the difference between letters such as ‘p’ and ‘b’ or ‘e’ and ‘c’)
  • Part-whole relationships (the mosaic picture is made up of lots of different parts)
  • Eye-hand co-ordination and fine motor-control (the pincer grip for handwriting is being stimulated all the time)
  • Spatial planning (how to manipulate shapes to fit the right space)
  • Focus and concentration
  • Task completion (the job is not finished until the last shape is placed on the grid)
  • Problem solving skills are being strengthened in this matching exercise.
  • Planning (a child could decide to build from top to bottom, left to right, or the other way round, or they could choose to put in all the yellow pieces followed by the red pieces)
  • Counting skills (how many blue squares do I need to complete the bottom line?)
  • Shape and form constancy is reinforced because shapes are used in different positions and directions (eg. a triangle, for example, viewed from any angle, is still a triangle)
  • Creativity (by building their own pictures without using any of the copy cards supplied)

Smart Play’s Shape Pictures and Magic Mosaics were reviewed by Nikki Bush. Magic Mosaics received a Toy Talk seal of approval when it was selected for Nikki’s short list of highly recommended games and toys in 2015.

Age category:              Shape Pictures 4 years and up

                                        Magic Mosaics 6 years and up

Price:                             Approx.  R229  per set

Brand:                           Smart Play

Distributor:                  RGS Group

Retail outlets:             Westpack and Makro