Toy Test #4: Todder Toys
By: Lauren Keith
"Come on guys, let's take a look!" says Karen Drury, director of Trinity Lutheran Early Learning Center.
We'd better look quick because this is the only time we'll see this new Bounce 'n' Spin Zebra at rest. Immediately, little Jack spots it. He hops on and immediately figured out how to ride the toy zebra. In fact, forget the cowboy hat. This guy might need a helmet!
Fisher Price says children up to 40 pounds can ride the zebra. It bounces, of course, but it also spins, and lights up. While jack's riding away, we check in on the other toy for this age group: the Fisher Price Baby Grand Piano.
This piano teaches numbers by lighting up the keyboard. There's also pages of music to learn from. The really fun part... the piano itself moves!
Meantime, the other toddlers get a chance to ride the zebra. At first, Bly isn't so sure. Ian gets on--and off, but then the two team up and even teach each other what to do! It's clear both of these toys are a hit, but the kids seems to always gravitate towards the zebra first. They'll play, while we check on the three year olds.
Fisher Price sent us two toys for this group, as well. This is the "Llittle People Time to Learn" preschool set. The mat actually has a voice inside that announces the numbers, as your child presses them. It also counts as the kids move the rings. The kids like it, but they're really interested in the other toy.
The My First Dollhouse comes with a mommy, a daddy, a baby, and some furniture. There's also plenty of room inside for little people. In fact, some of the kids brought the "Little People" figures from the first toy over to the dollhouse!
"While we as parents want them to like the educational stuff, at this age, they really tend to like the fun stuff. They look for things that move, not things that tell them what to do. The more popular toys are always the things that move," says Drury.
Speaking of moving-- let's move on, and assign some grades. One week later, director Karen Drury said the kids played with all of the toys, with the zebra and dollhouse as most popular in each age group. So, the $45 Baby Grand Piano plays to the tune of a "B+".
The $30 Little People Time to Learn Preschool set probably works better between a parent and child, rather in this daycare setting. It also gets a "B+".
Your child's imagination can certainly run wild in the $30 My First Dollhouse. It gets an "A-". The minus because there's one empty room inside. It doesn't come with bedroom furniture. In fact, additional furniture and dolls are available but you have to pay about ten bucks each for them. The clear winner that both age groups liked. This new $45 Bounce 'n' Spin Zebra. It's easy to assemble, and it's certainly different from other toddler toys on the market, and the kids love it!
The zebra bounces off with an "A+" on this toy test.