We went to a children's museum a couple of months ago and it had a roman arch puzzle. If you assembled all the wood pieces together correctly, it could support itself with out any help (like from nails). My kids spent quite a while on it. It was really amazing when it was completed. So when I saw this Roman Arch wooden puzzle available from Edmund Scientific, I thought what a great puzzle for my kids.
The Roman Arch wooden puzzle kit contains 23 precision-cut hardwood blocks in 6 unique shapes; pre-drilled wooden buttress in three sections. It includes instructions and a template. After it is built, it should be able to actually support your weight.
Since my kids love puzzles, I was pretty excited about it (I mean as excited as you get with a puzzle). My kids and I assembled it following the instructions and the template. The instructions stated to assemble the puzzle on a flat surface and then raise it into a vertical position. So when all the pieces were together (it looked exactly like the template), we were ready move it to an upright position (and to be awed by the fact that it could support itself without help). We carefully lifted the puzzle to an upright position.
Were we awed? More like confused. A couple of pieces fell out. I thought we did something wrong, so I tried putting everything together again... by myself this time. After I assembled it, I tried to put it upright again. Again, a few of the pieces fell out. It was disappointing and frustrating (especially because I kept trying to get all the pieces to stay in). It looked like some of the pieces were a little too small for the puzzle. All the pieces should have fit together so smoothly. It didn't.
Bottom line on this puzzle is that its a great concept but could have been better made. They should have cut out all the 23 pieces from one block. That way they could have ensured all the pieces fitting perfectly together.
It could have just been the puzzle that we received, so if you had a different experience with this product, let me know.
Click here if you are interested in the Roman Arch Puzzle. (Update: This item is no longer available. But this building block set may be another good option.)