“ Brand: Playskool / Type: Activity Gyms „
There are only so many minutes in a day, and so many things to be doing. Sometimes you need to keep your dearest offspring occupied for just 15 minutes whilst you do one of the following: run the hoover round the house, make lunch, have a quick shower (own up, you've not had time all morning), quickly call one of those pesky 0845 numbers to pay a bill or complain at someone, panic about the lack of time, or read this review.
With me so far? As lovely as it is spending precious time with your ikkle baby, eventually you will tire of singing the same song over and over, with the same perma-grin face and waving hands, and feel the need to recharge. It's also important for your little one to learn and develop some skills on their own.
For the very small baby, co-ordination and vision are early developers, and any toy that helps them with this is really useful. The Playskool Kick Start Fold n Go Gym (hereafter called the Gym) is a relatively inexpensive and innovative method of achieving both skill development and child occupation. With musical tones, colourful plastic designs and a rugged and stable design, this is a sure hit in the competitive world of baby entertaining devices. (This covers anything you can get your hands on for when the grandparents aren't available!)
What you basically get is a free standing activity centre, that cantilevers on two legs (held together by a spiffily decorated footplate, and also features a board of flashing lights and hanging plastic birds that hover over your baby's legs, connected to the footplate by two arms. The legs fold up against the arms to store away as a compact unit (handy for travel), and the battery compartment (3x AA) is screw protected. Assembly took no more than 5 minutes - with only some mild swearing at the plastic mouldings and screw alignments required. I should warn you now that 20 minutes of musical activity a day will see the batteries drained in a month or two, and you will soon tire of hearing the music fade into low-powered warbling before switching it off in annoyance. Avoid this calamitous situation by stocking up on AA batteries - you'll need thousands of them over the next few years, for whilst you children are not so cheaply powered, be assured that all of their toys are. (Ironic that your delightful children will often display Duracell-like powers of endurance).
Once up and running, simply place your baby on their back (on a playmat for extra comfort) and encourage them to kick the footplate or reach for the birds. There are two settings for the musical tones. Setting one gives constant operation, whilst setting two will activate when either the footplate or the birds are flipped, slapped or kicked by your baby. The loop of music is much longer on the continuous setting (obviously in an effort to stave off parental insanity), and includes such nursery rhyme classics as 'Pop goes the Weasel', 'Bingo' and some classical tunes you'll recognise from those interminable Classic FM hours on your Parents radio. The interrupted setting uses fewer of the tunes, interspersed with bird tweets and frog croaks when the tune restarts by footplate or birdy contact.
Initially your child may just stare up at the lights and birds without the foggiest of what to do or why they are there, and where is my milk mother for I am hungry....Don't be tempted to add it to the pile of other toys bought for your baby that end up in the nursery settled under the bags of too small clothing, too soon forgotten.
Persevere though, and encourage them by lifting their feet to the footplate or flapping the birds yourself, and they will soon get the hang of the game. The music is not too bad after a while, and of considerably better musical quality than most of the tripe in the charts thesedays, and there will come a time when your baby has played happily with the Gym for half an hour whilst you are oh so busy watching Loose Women or gossiping to your other new mum friends, and you will suddenly wonder why the music has stopped. And lo, you find your beloved offspring fast asleep on their playmate, limbs flung to all corners and the Gym chirping at you every minute to remind you to play with it. That's money well spent!
Ideal for babies from 3-9 months, it will fill in the period between newborn inactivity and crawling monster phase - when they progress through gurgles, flapping, laughing and eventually shuffling - at which point the toy will be far less interesting than re-arranging your DVD collection lurking perilously within reach on the TV stand.
I had planned to write far more about this - but it's actually quite hard to pen endless prose about a fairly basic musical play item, no matter how much enjoyment your baby gets from it!
You can get this Gym from the usual outlets - I think I got this one from Toy's R Us (large money pit sited on retail parks) - for the discounted price of £9.99. It claimed to sell regularly for £20, which considering how much some of the entertainment contrivances can cost, is a fair bargain.
Playskool have developed a very intelligent toy for infants. It is called the Kick Start Gym. When shopping for toys for babies under 3 months, there were very few quality toys available. I was looking for something which was interactive and would make my daughter react. We were given this toy when she a month old as a gift. Basically what it does is as follows: You lie your baby on the floor and put the toy in front of your baby. It is shaped like a toy gym but also has an area which when you lie your child close to it they will be able to kick. When your child kicks this tube it makes music play and also makes other noises. Now that my baby is two months old she kicks even more when she hears the noises and she gets excited. She really enjoys playing with it. The good thing is that it keeps her active. I would say that it is worth the price which is £30.
Playskool Kick Start Gym By Hasbro has 3 play stages. A kick- activated floor gym for young babies; batting activities as hand/eye coordination develops; and a toddler sit-and play centre. Baby's kicks activate 10 tunes, lots of silly sounds and spinning