“ Brand: ELC / Age: 6-18 months „
The Blossom Farm Bounce Back Donkey is sold by the Early Learning Centre. My son was bought this as a gift so I'm not sure how much was paid for it but I have seen it retail at around £10.
My son received the Bounce Back Donkey as a present for his first Christmas, he was 6 months old at the time, which is the recommended age for this toy. The Donkey was packaged in a cardboard box and had to be inflated upon opening. My husband inflated the toy quite quickly and easily by mouth using the two points, one for the head, one for the body.
The Donkey, (to be honest it took us a while to realise it was a donkey) is mostly blue, with some green and pink detail and the ELC logo is clearly displayed on the front. It is made entirely of plastic, same as the usual inflatable toys. The plastic seems very sturdy and quite thick and the seems have held up well, my son is now 22 months old and we have never experienced a puncture with this toy, although as you will see below, the toy has not been used much.
The Donkey has a round base, which is weighed down, allowing the Donkey to bounce back when pushed. There are also bells inside the base that jingle when the Donkey wobbles. The Donkey is easy to clean with just a wipe from a damp cloth.
Although we have never had any issues with this toy my son has never seemed too impressed by it, at 6 months he was too little to be able to push it and didn't pay it much attention and as he has gotten older he has rarely played with it, it's only had the occasional push.
Due to my son's lack of interest in this toy I will only be giving it 3 stars, if he enjoyed playing with it I would have gone with 5 as there is nothing else wrong with the toy, but obviously a child's opinion counts when reviewing a toy!
I will be keeping this toy to find out if our next child pays any more attention to it!
On my last trip to the ELC they just happened to be holding a sale and had quite a few toys reduced to half price, so I took the chance to stock up on a few toys for eight month old Freddy. One of these toys was the Blossom Farm Bounce Back Dillon, an inflatable toy with a recommended age range of 6-18 months, that I bought for £4.
==Down On The Farm==
Blossom Farm appears to be ELC's signature range of baby toys, and features a large number of developmental toys. Rather than these toys being brightly coloured, they all feature pastel shades, with some of them actually looking rather washed out. As with all ELC toys, the Blossom Farm range all have features to help your baby learn and develop while have fun.
Dillon came packed in a box and needed inflating before Freddy could play with him. There are two sections to blow up, his body and his head, and it took me about 20 minutes without the aid of a pump. I was a little shocked at how big Dillon actually is, while I've not actually measured him, I'd say he's about two foot high, which is certainly much bigger than Freddy. Being an inflatable toy, Dillon is quite lightweight, but the bottom of his base is weighted with what feels like sand. Whenever Dillon is pushed over, he immediately rights himself, and jingles (as there is a bell inside him).
Dillon's arms, tail, mane and ears seem to be a lot squidgier than the rest of him, even when he's been just been blown up. I wouldn't say that Dillon is the most eye-catching of toys, rather than bright primary colours, he come in pale, pastel shades of blue and green. He does have a very simple, line-drawn smiling face though. As to whether he looks like a Donkey, well I'm in two minds. In some aspects he looks more like a rabbit, but then his facial features do have a hint of horse to them, but his mane looks more like a rooster comb. Basically, if I hadn't known he was supposed to be a donkey, then I'm not sure I would have guessed.
==Down On The Farm==
Freddy got Dillon when he was almost seven months old, and to be honest Freddy really wasn't impressed. I think he found Dillon's size slightly intimidating, and he just wasn't interested. Over the last few weeks I've been showing Freddy how much fun Dillon is to play with, by pushing Dillon over and making him jingle. The loud jingle does attract Freddy's attention, and Freddy has slowly started to take an interest and even knock Dillon. But to be honest he's more interested in trying to eat it and will only play with the donkey very occasionally. This is a real disappointment as I'd hoped Dillon would encourage Freddy to sit up a little longer and move around more. Unfortunately, Freddy finds almost everything more interesting than Dillon and very rarely finds the donkey worth the effort.
With Dillon being an inflatable toy, I was a little concerned that he might pop easily. Freddy has a habit of chewing everything, and he has some very sharp teeth. Well, Freddy has had a little try at biting Dillon, but as he can only reach the body, he's not managed to do any damage (as yet). A small repair patch was supplied, so if Dillon does get a puncture I should be able to make him all better (as long as it's not on a seam). What I have noticed, is that Dillon does seem to slowly deflate anyway, I've had to top-up the air three times in the last month. Being made of plastic, Dillon is easy to keep clean and germ free, a simple wipe with a cloth gets rid of any sticky finger marks or baby vomit.
==Learning Through Play==
As with many baby toys, the ELC claims that Dillon will help your baby develop through play. The ELC themselves state that Dillon will help your child in three different ways. Firstly it will help with hand-eye coordination, which I can agree with, I do believe that if Freddy was interested in Dillon then the action of hitting him and reward of Dillon 'bouncing back' would improve these skills. The ELC also state that Dillon will help your child develop their physical skills, such as balance, movement and strength. Again in theory, I'll agree, after all this was the reason that I bought Dillon, to encourage Freddy's physical development, but once more Dillon just doesn't motivate Freddy. The final claim for Dillon is that he will instil confidence, now I've really thought about this and I really don't have a clue how Dillon is supposed to instil confidence.
Although the recommended age range is 6-18 months, I really don't think this is particularly accurate. There are several factors that have lead me to this conclusion, first of which is Dillon's sheer size. Freddy is a large 8 month old, and Dillon is far too large for him to play with. Secondly, with the material that Dillon is made from being thin plastic and inflatable, there is a very large chance that a 6-12 month baby will chew on him and pop him. Personally, I would say that baby won't get much out of Dillon until he (or she) is about a year old, or at the very least a confident walker.
Sorry but I really can't give Bounce Back Dillon more than two stars out of three. Although a great idea, there are just too many flaws, but if ELC made a few changes it would make a great toy. As things stand Dillon is simply too large and his muted colouring is just not exciting enough. Of course Freddy might take more notice of Dillon in the future, but as things stand I'm not sure that Dillon is even worth the £4 I paid for him, and he's definitely not worth the full price of £8.