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My Mother-in-Law bought this quirky little toy for my little girl when she was 6 months old. Now the packaging for this toy states that it is for ages nine months to three years but my daughter still enjoyed playing with her new handbag. It has a number of great features that are both entertaining and educational, and it keeps my little princess good for a while which is definitely a bonus. I'm sure it is playing with this toy that has taught my daughter how to answer the phone. It has a little green mobile phone that has it's own little pocket containing a little button that makes a ringing sound when the phone is removed. I used to pick it up and pretend to answer it and then pass it to my daughter, and now, whenever our house phone rings she picks it up and answers it which is both funny and a bit annoying when she hangs up on people. There is also a little button near the top and when pressed a little MP3 player pops out and plays a choice of two songs. This prompts my daughter to have a little dance every time and she will sometimes sit there for a good half an hour pressing it over and over again. Another feature that plays another couple of songs is a little compact mirror that baby can flip open and closed. Now my daughter isn't so interested in the music that the mirror prompts as she is too busy giggling away at her reflection, as do most babies so this is another great feature. There is also a spin around feature that clicks as it goes around. There is a little plastic key and teddy bear attached to the handle but my daughter isn't really interested in these, she just likes the noisy bits. A couple of other things I should mention is that the handle lights up when the songs are playing and there are four blocks on the front that can be spun around to make sounds and changes to different pictures. It also has two sound settings but be warned, the louder one is very loud! If you are looking for a toy that can educate your child, then this is definitely a good one because it teaches hand-eye co-ordination, action and consequence, sounds and sight. The fact that it is suitable for nine moths to three years means that it is definitely a good investment as it will last them for a good couple of years as they find more and more new ways to play with it. It is also made from plastic so if it gets a bit dirty it is easy enough to wipe down with a cloth. It is maybe not something I would have thought to buy her myself but I am really glad someone else did as it really is brilliant. My daughter loves it and it very quickly became one of her favourite toys. Just be careful if, like my daughter, your child likes to throw things because with it being made from hard plastic, trust me, it hurts A LOT if it lands on your toe.
At my daughter's first Christmas she was just two months old and so most of the gifts that she received were either clothes or soft toys. My parents however did buy a selection of things that could be enjoyed during her following year, one of which was the Chicco Fun and Music Bag. This is essentially a toy in the form of a handbag. It does not open like a handbag, but is packed with features to keep young children entertained. Beginning at the top, the chunky grip of the handle is made from white plastic. Housed inside this are yellow and red lights. When the toy is activated or when a tune is played, these lights flash intermittently in time with the music. Attached to the side of the handle is a keyring and from that hangs a large green plastic key and a teddy bear of around the same size. At the very top of the handbag is a pop up section which is revealed when pressing the centre of a pink flower just below it. Inside the pop up section is a plastic Mp3 player and headphones, housed in transparent plastic. When this section is revealed, a tune is activated and the lights on the handle flash in time to the music. On the left hand side of the main body of the handbag is puzzle where four pieces can be rotated to create three different images; a butterfly, a little girl and a cat. Next to the puzzle is a circular mirror, with a plastic flap to cover it. When the flap is opened, again a tune is activated and the lights on the handle flash. Next to this is a plastic coin purse shape which has a little window at the bottom. When twisting it around it emits a clicking sound and visible though the window are images with the number 1, then '1, 2' and then '1, 2, 3'. There is also a button to the front which enables the user to switch off the toy or choose from two different volume settings. Ours is usually set to the highest level as I generally let noisy toys be noisy toys. Finally on the right hand side of the handbag is a little pocket which holds a removable chunky toy mobile phone. When the phone is inserted into the pocket, it presses on a button which activates a ringing sound. This also activates the lights in the handle. The Chicco Fun and Music Bag is available at the following prices: Toys R Us £19.99 Amazon £18.83 Argos £17.67 Tesco £16.97 It is suitable for children of 9 months onward. When my daughter first received this I did introduce her to it, despite the fact that she was still a very young baby. I would lie her on her activity mat and activate the sounds myself. It always caught her attention and she seemed to very much enjoy the flashing lights. As she has grown older, she has gained more interest in it and is of course now at 17 months able to carry it around herself and operate the features. This toy tends to get put away in the toy box for a few weeks before re-surfacing and being played with again for a while. My daughter is able to operate the button which reveals the Mp3 player. She can also flip the puzzle pieces (though not solve the puzzle), open the mirror and rotate the coin purse shape. She can also remove the mobile phone and place it back in again with ease. She is very intrigued by the lights in the handle but most of all loves the music. My little girl has always loved music and will dance away merrily at any tune she hears. This product is not too heavy and so she can carry it around with ease. My three year old son has also played with this toy, as have a few of my children's little friends who are boys. He is able to complete the puzzle as well as use all of the features. He will usually activate a sound and pass it to his sister saying "Here you go Perdy" before moving on to one of his own toys. Chicco also make this toy is a backpack shape with blue colours for anyone looking to buy it for a little boy who does not fancy the feminine colours of this one. The Chicco Fun and Music Bag aids hand eye co-ordination and sensory awareness. The puzzle teaches problem solving skills and the twisting coin purse teaches numbers to slightly older infants. This toy could also be used to encourage young babies to crawl when the light and sound is activated and it is placed just out of reach. There are many benefits of such a feature-packed toy, though above all it is lots of fun and this is what has drawn both my children and my friends' children to it.
The musical bag is plastic and pink and has a white handle on it that lights up in different colours when it is switched on. On the front of the bag it is interactive and has a button that you can press and the Ipod pops up and plays another tune. It has a mirror on the front that you can open and close also has squares that you turn around like a Rubik's cube and they make up different pictures of a cat, a girl, a butterfly or a flower. The bag has a purse on the front of the bag as well that you can turn around and has pictures of numbers 1-3 in pictures of coins. On the side of the bag it has a compartment for a small toy mobile phone that has numbers 1-4 on the front and they squeak when they are pressed we lost the mobile very quickly and is probably at the bottom of a box of toys somewhere. On the handle of the toy it has a large key and a teddy bear key ring. I think this toy is very good for role play because they can pretend to go shopping with it. It holds a child's interest for a long time because it has lots of different things to explore on the front and is great to carry around with them. The toy isn't that heavy and is strong if it is dropped it doesn't matter it still works. It has to volume controls a quieter and a louder setting I find the quieter setting good and don't normally need the louder one only if the background was very loud you would need it. The batteries last for a long time. This toy is my niece's toy and she loves it but I don't like the fact that it is very girl orientated not that my son cares at his age he plays with anything. The squares for making a picture are fiddly and difficult to turn you would need brilliant co-ordination to turn them even for a 3 year old. We got ours a hand me down so the price I'm not sure what it would be to buy it brand new you would have to look around to see were it is available.
I have to say that this toy is something that i never would have bought my daughter as i'm really not a girly type of person so to buy my little girl a toy handbag is probably the furthest thing from my mind!! However, my mum bought this without me knowing (imagine my shock on Christmas morning when my daughter opened it!!!) and i am surprised to say that it is actually quite a sweet toy. The fun musical bag (also known as fun and music illuminating toy) is made by Chicco, and this is one of the only toys we have ever had by this supplier. It is made of quite hard wearing plastic and is bright pink with a pale pink handle, and on the side is a little mobile phone holder. When turned on, the handle lights up and a jingle is played, and until the child actually does something with it, thats all it does. The top of the handbag looks like a normal bag, with the effect that it would open and a flower like clasp, but it doesn't open, instead there is a little button in the middle of the flower and when pressed up pops the "ipod". When the ipod pops up it plays a really catchy little tune and the child can have a real good little boogie! At the left side of the bag there is a four piece rotating puzzle in which a butterfly, cat or little girl picture can be made. As the pieces spin round a "boing" noise plays, this is great for them to learn how to make faces but my little girl likes to make them not match as she thinks its hilarious when they are all mixed up! At the bottom there is a little compact mirror which is covered by a little plastic flower cover - great for little posers like my daughter! At the right hand side is what looks like a coin purse and this spins round to show three sets of coins - either one coin, two coins or three coins - great for counting! The mobile phone holder at the side is home to a mini mobile which squeaks when the numbers are pressed, and when it is taken out of the holder it makes a ringing sound. Finally, attached to the handle (which can be moved to either side of the bag) is a key and teddy which gives the effect that it is a proper little handbag. I have only one negative with this bag and that is the mobile itself, with everything else on the bag it makes the mobile seem very babyish as it is just a squeaker and doesn't actually do anything else. That said i think it is possibly my daughters favourite thing about the toy! At £19.99 i would say this is a little on the expensive side but it hasn't been a bad buy as my daughter has enjoyed various long spurts of playing with it and it is lasting very well - after two years it still looks as new and the batteries have so far yet not had to be changed. The recommended age for this toy is 9 months - 3 years but i think at the age of 3 the child is a little too old as there isn't enough interest in it in my opinion for a child of that age.