Product Type: ELC baby toys
Newest Review: ... and simply attaches (hangs) from a bar just below the handle. Having the basket detach so easily from the trolley is good for storage... more
Let's Go Shopping
ELC Children's Shopping Trolley
Member Name: sandemp
ELC Children's Shopping Trolley
Advantages: Durable, weather-proof, suitable for younger children
Disadvantages: Basket comes off too easily and doesn't have "proper" handle
==Let's Go Shopping - A Parent's View==
The ELC shopping trolley is supplied unassembled in a fairly compact cardboard box. Assembly is fairly simple and only takes a few minutes, it really is little more than following the easy to read instructions and clicking the pieces together. This means that it isn't particularly a toy that needs to be assembled the night before a special day, as long as the child can be kept occupied for a couple of minutes.
Once assembled the trolley looks fairly realistic and stands approximately 50cm high. The whole of the trolley is formed from durable moulded plastic, with the main frame being a pale green, the handle yellow, wheels red, axels white and basket light blue. I really wouldn't say that the trolley could be considered anything other than unisex. The basket section is removable and can be used as a shopping basket, but rather than having a handle it only has two holes to use for carrying. The basket is easy to remove from the frame and indeed replace as it simply hooks over a bar. The basket section is also pretty deep, it's near enough the size of a regular supermarket basket, it's certainly deep enough for all of Freddy's play food, with room to spare. (M&S play cans, Tesco play food and Wilko play food), although it does NOT come supplied with any play food.
I particularly like the fact that the trolley has a wide wheel base, which makes it a little more stable than some other trolleys on the market. The wheels are free-wheeling, just, they are a little stiff, which means that the trolley is less likely to run away on the child. Unlike real trolleys this trolley has fixed wheels, which removes the risk of wonky trolley syndrome, but does make it a little harder for learner trolley drivers to accurately steer.
The trolley certainly feels durable and being made of plastic (rather than metal) it is unlikely to come to any harm if left outside overnight. Being made of plastic also means that it's easy to wipe clean. The wheels look sturdy enough to survive trips to the real supermarket, but to be honest we only play with this indoors. From an adult's view point, the trolley looks well-made, more than worth the £8 paid and an essential add-on to playing shops. But it's not just my opinion that counts...
==Shop Till You Drop - A Child's View==
Freddy was twenty months old at Christmas, when he received this trolley, which is a little under the recommended age, but he is tall for his age and a reasonably confident walker. I won't say he was overly impressed with the box the trolley came in and so he gave us plenty of time to put the trolley together (there were just so many exciting new toys to play with). Once the trolley was put together, Freddy did show a lot more interest, especially when I filled it with his play food.
When pushing the trolley the handle is perhaps a touch too high for Freddy, but this means that it will last him for a while yet before becoming too small. Freddy is easily able to push the trolley in a straight line, but does struggle with steering it, which means there has been more than one occasion that my feet have been run over or the wall bashed into. I will say that the trolley is quite light, which means that it tips quite easily so it is really only suitable for children who are able to walk independently and not as a walker.
The basket is just the right depth for Freddy to reach to the bottom, but it does hook over the bar in quite a precarious manner, which means that it is prone to falling off if the front is leant on. As well as pushing the trolley along, Freddy does also attempt to carry the basket section, which is something he finds quite difficult as it doesn't have an actual handle. We've also found that the basket is easily knocked loose once it is loaded with any degree of weight, meaning that it is probably not really suitable for loading with real tins in the supermarket.
Although this trolley is in no way his favourite toy it is one that Freddy will play with daily. We use the trolley when we play shops together, and Freddy loves to load it up with play food and then remove it all again. As well as using the trolley to go pretend shopping, Freddy has already put it to some slightly less conventional uses. He's found it makes a great buggy for his baby doll, who he then takes for walks around the house. He also uses it as a convenient way to transfer his toys between rooms, loading it up with toys in his bedroom to play with in the hall. So I would say that all things considered, Freddy quite likes his shopping trolley.
==At The Checkout - Suitability And Developmental Benefits==
Although the recommended minimum age for this trolley is two years, I would say that this is being a little on the over-cautious side. There are no small parts or sharp edges that would cause a hazard to a younger child. But what age this is suitable for depends completely on the child, their height and developmental stage. This certainly isn't suitable for a child who is unable to walk unaided as it tips too easily. I would say that the child needs to be a fairly confident walker and height wise the average eighteen month will probably find the handle a little too high. But the trolley would probably be suitable sometime between eighteen months and two years of age. As to the upper age limit, again it depends on the child, I certainly wouldn't be surprised if Freddy found the trolley a little too small by the time he is four or five.
As with any toy they manufacture, the Early Learning Centre claim that this trolley will help your child develop essential skills. In my own opinion the main skills this will help your child develop are role play, imagination and understanding the world around them as they play shops. When combined with other toys such as a till, play food and play money the trolley becomes an important prop as your child learns about shopping and money. (Especially when you join in). Even if your child is too young to have developed an independent imagination, they will still enjoy putting tins in and out of the trolley as you talk about shops. As their imagination develops you'll probably find (as we have) that the trolley becomes something completely different, it could suddenly become a pram, a bus or a space ship for their toys.
Freddy and I are rather pleased with this trolley and it the price paid (£8) it was an absolute bargain. It is far studier than other brands and the fact it's made of plastic rather than metal means that it's far safer (no sharp points) and more weatherproof. We also like that this is also suitable for younger children than most other toy trolleys on the market, which means I am happy to allow Freddy to play with it unsupervised. That's not to say it's perfect though, the issues with the basket coming unhooked so easily (especially when filled with heavier items) and lack of steerable wheels means that there is no way I would recommend taking this out to the supermarket with you. I also feel that as the basket is removable it should have had an easy carry handle attached.
As to stars out of five, Freddy and I are agreed that the Early Learning Centre Shopping Trolley deserves a hearty, but not perfect four stars out of five. And we are recommending it as an addition to any toddler's play shop as it really does add a new dimension to play.
Summary: A great addition to any toddler's play shop
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