Cian, 2 years and 5 months, has been obsessed with this crocodile jigsaw since his second birthday. He will put it together, take it apart, then put it back together on loop.


  • Orange Tree Toys crocodile jigsaw


Cian recognises some of the letter sounds, when he sees the letters, but needs help with the others. Luckily he knows enough that he’s ready to correct me, when I’m sleep deprived and get my sounds mixed up!

He doesn’t need to know the letter sounds at this age, but hears his big brothers sounding them out when reading and writing. Being very determined to be the same as them, he wants a go too, “My turn, I do it!”

The snapping crocodile mouth always gets up to lots of mischief, so the other body parts had to run away and hide behind the teepee.

Cian rebuilt his crocodile, but each time he went to touch it, he had to jump back to avoid the snapping jaws.

He tried stroking along the top of the crocodile’s nose, to try and calm it down, but the crocodile bit his thumb, to cries of, “Not again!”

Finally, he decided to teach the crocodile how to fall asleep. Once he was happy that the crocodile was calm and dozing, he pulled him over for a snuggle.

DfES Early Years Outcomes (2013)

Communication and language

Listening and attention (30 to 50 months)

  • Listens to others one to one or in small groups, when conversation interests them.
  • Is able to follow directions (if not intently focused on own choice of activity).

Speaking (22 to 36 months)

  • Learns new words very rapidly and is able to use them in communicating.
  • Uses gestures, sometimes with limited talk, e.g. reaches towards toy, saying ‘I have it’.

Personal, social and emotional development

Self-confidence and self-awareness (16 to 26 months)

  • Gradually able to engage in pretend play with toys (supports children to understand their own thinking may be different from others).

Making relationships (30 to 50 months)

  • Can play with others, extending and elaborating play ideas, e.g. building up a role-play activity with other children.
  • Initiates play, offering cues to peers to join them.
  • Keeps play going by responding to what others are saying or doing.
  • Demonstrates friendly behaviour, initiating conversations and forming good relationships with peers and familiar adults.


Reading – 30 to 50 months

  • Knows information can be relayed in the form of print.
  • Knows that print carries meaning and, in English, is read from left to right and top to bottom.

Writing – 40 to 60+ months

  • Links sounds to letters, naming and sounding the letters of the alphabet.


Shape, space and measures – 16 to 26 months

  • Attempts, sometimes successfully, to fit shapes into spaces on inset boards or jigsaw puzzles.
  • Uses blocks to create their own simple structures and arrangements.