According to Melissa and Doug this shape sorter to is meant for the ages of 2 and up. If you don't know what they are, you either have (a) No kids , (b) No grandkids, (c) No nephews and nieces or (d) Never babysat any kid in your entire life. I think that covers it. Realistically, being 2 isn't that difficult except anytime you cry or whine, someone tags on the fact that you are going thru the terrible 2's. That age is stuck with that label. Kind of like a man going thru a mid-life crisis. Anytime a man around 35-45 rebels in any way, they are going thru a mid-life crisis. Why is it that women never go thru a mid-life crisis? Perhaps because they are involved in that process their entire life (I have been married a few times so am a bit jaded here in this aspect of it all). ......
Anyhow....this shape sorter isn't that difficult for most adults although I have seen older kids (near 10) in third world countries who couldn't do this shape sorter. But for the most part here in America, or at least with my own kids and grandkids, I feel that 2 is an age where it might be a challenge, ...they might cry a bit, but eventually they will succeed. Sometimes guidance is needed and additional encouragement. By the time they are three, they master this. Their cognitive ability has kicked in.
Cognitive ability is funny. Being an educator for 35 years, I know a few things about this skill. Cognitive ability can be defined anywhere from 'shape sorting' to geometry and beyond, but it really depends on the concept and age. Obviously there is a difference between a shape sorter and geometry but the same concept of cognitve thinking applies, but the age level differs.
So.....given that extensive background information, let's move to birds. In my backyard I have this box nest which we purchased for birds. I think this is going on 3 years for this nest and in all cases 'wrens' have occupied the nest. They like it. They are not particularly good at paying their rent, but they do provide intrinsic rewards such as watching them, listening to their song...observing the young grow thru the month etc....
Yet, here I was today thinking of the nest and that dang shape sorter. As I watched a wren bring in a twig, it was obvious that the twig was a bit larger then the hole. But that 'larger' aspect only applied if the twig was attempted to be added to the nest, from 'long way into small circle. It ain't fitting little bird. Turn it...no, the other way....okay, close but too much of a turn. Now see if you can get the tip of the twig into the hole first and just walk on it with it. All right...you did it. Now, go out and find another.
This continued for 3-4 twigs as I just observed. I find myself keen at observing. I love observing people in parking lots, animals or birds etc... For they offer a comedic relief to life at times. Heavens...we all need that given Trump.
But each time the twig was brought to the nest, it was 'wiiiddddeeee'.... Real wide. Wider than the hole. Each time though, the wren used some cognitive skill to maneuver the twig so the tip went in first. It essentially placed the round peg in the round hole, as opposed to square end into the round hole. How does it know how to do this cognitive function?
I know from my own kids...and my four grandkids....that this shape sorter is not easy. I can attest that yes, it is around the age of 2 that this occurs. So by my own observance I can see that this wren....a wren of all things....has equal or more cognitive ability at this tender age of 2-3 than a human creature has. I googled breeding/mating of house wrens and while I found not a lot of information, I did find that the Bluebird reaches maturity to breed at around 9 months. Given that a wren has a life span of at most....at most...7 years, it makes sense that they would be breeding around the same time of the Bluebird (9 Months).
But you see, this is where the problem is. If a bird can breed and I am thinking they can create a nest before they are even one year old, they are beyond the capacity of a human to solve the 'shape sorter'. A human,...which has the capacity to use a 'thumb'...to think and ponder and reflect ahead, can plan....can can can can can....etc.. and more can's.... Yet at a young age the tiny bird that some poet must have written about, is actually cognitively superior to that of the human.
Amazing.....animals of all species and kinds amaze me. We naturally think of ourselves as being the king of the jungle and yet the shape sorter puzzle proves we are 'king' only because we live longer.
It makes me wonder, if a wren had a life span of human, where would we be as a civilization? Well, it is obvious that the idiot we have for president, wouldn't have been elected.