Sunday, November 24, 2013

United States History Over Time Puzzle

On a recent trip to Barnes and Noble to scout books we saw this puzzle.  And then brought it home.  I do the same thing with lost puppies!

4D Cityscape's USA History Over Time Puzzle

The puzzle certainly required some feeding and care over the next four days.  We are now adding the 3D elements to the finished layers; up until this point it's been an enjoyable experience.

Overall the concept is good.  Assembling the first layer is helpful in visualizing how the US grew westward from 1783 to the 1900's.  You can start by separating the puzzle pieces by color and then build each section (the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the Gadsen Purchase, the Texas Annexation in 1845, the Alaska Purchase, etc.)  It's interesting to build those sections in relation to one another and imagine our growing pains over time.

In the second layer you add the states according to historical order of statehood.  On top of some of the western states goes a little dollop of foam Rocky Mountains to add some dimension.  Finally, you get to place the tiny 3D plastic historical buildings and monuments all over the map.  The Empire State Building is pretty easy to spot, as is the Statue of Liberty.  However, the Thomas A. Greene Memorial Museum is not that easy to distinguish without following the numbering system; I'm not even sure that landmark actually has a representative tiny plastic building that we are supposed to ferret out.  These historical buildings and monuments are placed according to their dates of birth, too.

You can visit to learn more about each building or monument.  There are many puzzles to pick from.  Putting together the New York City puzzle would be a great activity before a trip to NYC!  We picked this up because it seemed interesting and fun to build.  It has been a satisfying family activity over the week.  There is something very pleasing about snapping a puzzle piece into its spot, do you agree?  It is addicting.  My husband is a whiz at recognizing shapes (he generally doesn't look at the box cover); I glance at the box cover every five seconds to try and find those pieces.  The teenager has paid quite a bit of attention to the puzzle because he's a puzzle person and enjoys all types of them.  Please excuse me - I have an urge to go put 3D plastic pieces into their spots.  Because I am addicted!

I also find it interesting that near the end of puzzle completion, you are absolutely certain there aren't enough pieces to finish the darn thing.  Maybe it's an optical allusion, but I always feel it and I'm almost always wrong.

Isn't the mini arch in St. Louis cute?  And there's the Willis Tower, too.

The easiest piece to recognize!

Makes climbing them seem easy :)


  1. Vicki, I am so happy to see you continue homeschooling Max! Thanks for the blog updates and especially this puzzle review. We are puzzle enthusiasts and I will have to check out this website, the 4D features look amazing! Currently we have a regular "1D" 1500 piece puzzle under construction with a scene from my kid's favorite comic, Asterix and Obelix ...

    I am looking very much forward to read more about your experiences in the unschooling territory and I'd be thrilled if you decide to post details about your plant-based diet one day - all subjects I am very interested in!

  2. Hi Julia! Yes, I will certainly put together a few posts about plant-based diet resources. Am happy to do that. Glad you guys enjoy puzzles, too! They are fun things to lose yourself in, aren't they? Thanks for your thoughts - I sure appreciated hearing from you!


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