Product Type: VTech baby products
Newest Review: ... wheels, the front of the walker is a detachable panel covered in buttons/a phone/lights etc, this comes off the front of the walker so b... more
Whhhheeeeee! That was fun! Baby's off!
VTech First Steps Baby Walker Plus
Member Name: cmh4135
VTech First Steps Baby Walker Plus
Advantages: Sturdy interactive toy that will give months of fun
Since the birth of my son in 2006 V-Tech have become one of my preferred manufacturer of toys. I started the path to motherhood firmly of the opinion that toys should be traditional, require and encourage creative play and should certainly not “play with themselves”. A few gifts and conversations with other mothers and much of that was to change. V-Tech proved to me that electronic toys are not all bad and that creative play is still possible with toys that have batteries.
The V-Tech walker is a take on the traditional brick trolley designed to help and encourage young babies to find their feet and to make adventures with their new-found freedom. However, the walker goes one step further and includes an interactive front section that’s designed to teach basic movements, colours, letters and numbers.
We first acquired the walker when my son was about 7 months old. He could stand and pull himself up on furniture but had made no attempt to try and walk. Having seen how much my niece, three months older than my son, enjoyed the same walker we decided to bite the bullet and can honestly say that we have no regrets.
At first my son would just stand up with the aid of the walker but soon he discovered that it gave him a new mobility and he would travel across the room. His ability to steer was non-existent (and in fact remained this way until long after he could walk unaided) but we had great fun going backwards and forwards as far as a straight line would carry him.
Undoubtedly the walker gave my son confidence to move away from me, whether it helped him walk any earlier is impossible to say.
Nine months on, however, we’re still getting enjoyment out of this toy. My son’s been walking for 7 months but will still, occasionally take the walker for a spin round the house. He can even steer it now! The thing that keeps his attention though is the interactive front.
There are two “modes” of interactive play, a musical mode and a teaching mode. Modes are selected by a turn of the butterfly making selection of the mode easy for baby but pretty much uncontrollable for the parent. To my mind this doesn’t matter but for some it may be a problem.
Piano keys at the base of the unit will teach either letters and words (apple, ball, car, dog and elephant) or play notes. Musically the notes are tones apart and do sound quite good. Shapes (with associated numbers and colours) and twisting cog wheels add to the interest. The keys will also flash with the music adding interest for the younger child.
One of the features of the toy that I really don’t understand is the inclusion of a telephone. This seems to serve no purpose other than the fact that the unit says “well done” if you manage to put the telephone back on its cradle. This is easier said than done. For one the unit is a little too vertical. For two the cradle isn’t really deep enough to accept the phone onto it with anything less than about 95% accuracy. At 16 months my son has just learned to put it on most of the time and I am aware that other children have had similar issues. The telephone also has a tendency to fall off if the walker is knocked against walls or furniture.
A feature that is underused by us at the moment is the “puppy says” game. Along the lines of “Simon says” the puppy asks you to clap your hands, nod your head and other simple actions. At present the timing of this is too fast for my son to understand on one call and respond before the next. However, I do think that this will come into its own in time.
The unit runs on 3 AA batteries and has two volume levels. It turns itself off if not touched for a couple of minutes (politely saying “bye bye” as it does so). Battery life is good and we’ve probably had in excess of 6 months’ use out of each set (rechargeables).
The music on the unit is good. There are only 8 short tunes but they offer something a little different from the normal electronic offerings and are in more of a dancey-style. I’ll often find my son setting a tune off (by pressing one of the shaped buttons) and then dancing to the music. Very cute!
We have found the walker to be very sturdy and well constructed. It’s taken some knocks! I was worried about any walker tipping but we’ve had no accidents. I like the fact that the interactive section is detachable from the front of the walker. This means that you could buy the walker for a younger baby and they could still have enjoyment from the front part. Similarly if a child starts to show less interest in using the walker as a walker once they can walk the unit is still capable of being used independently.
The voices on the unit are English (rather than the computerised American accents that are commonplace on electronic toys) and this, for me, is a plus.
From being a walker sceptic I’m a walker convert and would thoroughly recommend this. We’ve had months and months of use from it and I’m sure it’ll continue to be a favourite for a few more to come. I’d suggest that it’s suitable from about 6 months but even younger babies might get some use, particularly if they can sit unaided. This toy has so much to offer that I think most children will find a feature that they particularly like. Motor skills, language skills and discovery skills are all taxed by this toy and months of fun will ensue.
Summary: Great value VTech offering that is sure to be a hit.
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