* Prices may differ from that shown
We were shopping with our 6 month kid when we decided she needed more sensory experiences and we wanted to treat her to something a bit different (there seems so few options for little children from rattles to teddies and that is really it!) that's what we loved about the elc cylinder- it was suitable for a very young child but not the usual toys if which she already had hundreds!
The cylinder is attractive to look at with bright colours
Easy to hold with the small handles attached to the side ( one of the handles also has a few rings which make a noise when they bang together and can be moved around on the handle)
There is a mirror so the child can see themselves
It has ribbons attached to the top edge which allow for yet more sensory discovery each of which Is a different bright colour
The cylinder is a decent size- about 20cms high and 15 across
It is completely soft ( the only hard piece is the plastic rings attached to the handle) so yo be honest I think this is suitable for a younger child when supervised
The toy is £12 which for what It is I feel is very reasonable, especially looking at other toys suitable for a child this age
There is an opening at the top which parts when you put any weight on it but keeps the objects inside hidden until they are pulled out
There is a see through window at the bottom
It comes with 5 different sensory objects- All a different colour and pattern (black and white patten which is meant to be very good for young children-they really seem to have thought of everything)
The different shapes have tough and smooth parts, silky parts etc
I really do like this toy!
The discovery cylinder
I find buying toys for young babies difficult. It is hard to find something that is soft and safe for little one, but can also keep them happy for longer than five minutes. When I came across this set I thought it looked lovely and so purchased it for my youngest daughter. The cylinder itself is a fair size, but not so big that a younger baby is not able to hold it. The whole drum is made out of soft material so it is kind to skin and very light to hold. On each side of the discovery cylinder is a handle so little hands have something to hold on too while they are playing. This toy is made up of bright colours so as soon as my little girl saw it she was unable to take her eyes away from it. They are loud, inviting and by using different patterns there are different things for your eyes to find. There are tassels on the side for little one to explore, a mirror and teething rings all located on the outside of the cylinder. This means even before you bring in the accessories the cylinder is the perfect toy to engage a child's interest.
There are five different soft shapes that can be hidden inside of the drum for little one to hide and then find again. They all differ in size and shape, but also in texture too so it is perfect for younger hands to explore. Each of the different shapes not only varies in texture, but they have an activity for baby to complete. The flat sheet crinkles, and the others are bells or squeak. First impressions were fantastic. The cylinder is really well made, with different materials to create a playground for a young baby. For the most, the cylinder is lovely and soft and there is nothing that a young child could hurt themselves on. There are no choking hazards, and nothing at all to cause changer to young babies.
From the first moment my little girl laid eyes on this she was amazed. At Five months she was just interested in the bold colours. She played with the drum, and when we tried showing her the treasures hiding inside she just looked at me like I was daft. Once the novelty of the cylinder had worn off we showed her the different play pieces to be used with it. Again she began studying them not interested in much else. I was amazed at how long they held her attention. As she is so young her attention span is very short and toys becoming boring very quickly. At first she would play with the toys separately but now she is beginning to learn they can do more. She is seven months now and she has began using it a lot more. As there is so much to do she never seems to get bored. She loves playing with this during tummy time, and she loves that it can roll around with her. She has discovered that if she hides the pieces inside she can pull them back out again, and the wonder never seems to disappear. The cylinder can also be rolled on the floor which can encourage little one to crawl along after it. My little girl is currently rolling rather than crawling, but she does try to get herself back towards the cylinder when it moves out of reach. At the bottom of the drum is a transparent window for little one to see what is hiding inside the drum. You can see her making the connection of the toys she can see, and the ones she is pulling out of the drum.
She is just beginning to sit unaided, and this is one of her favourites to sit and have play time with mummy. She throws the pieces around, and as they are soft they do not cause any danger. She can move it around a lot more while she is sitting up, and likes to turn the cylinder over and over to the different activities. This whole toy actually provides a wide selection of different textures for little one to explore, and I believe this is one of the reasons it has been so well loved by my little girl. The toy definitely promotes fine motor skills as little one has to both post the different pieces through the whole in the top of the toy, and then use their hands along to fish them back out. The different activities on the outside of the drum are definitely suited to younger babies as well. The teething rings are great, and my little girl is always putting them to her mouth. Wherever she moves her hands too there is a different texture to explore, so even when they are very young they can stumble across fun. Every piece is the perfect size, shape and design for its target audience of younger babies. It can be played with independently or mummy and daddy can have some play time. My eldest children love helping their baby sister by passing her the shapes when she drops them, and she does this a lot.
As you can probably tell we absolutely love this discovery cylinder. It seems this is now my daughter's favourite toy. I am not sure how long this will last, but I think it still has a good few months in it yet. My son who is two also plays with this toy, but he only sits for five minutes and then becomes bored with it. This cylinder retails at £12 and is available at ELC, mother care and boots. I purchased mine from boots for the full retail price and I think it is certainly worth that. It has already provided hours of play, and is in perfect condition. It may only last for a few months with one child but I do think that it is worth every penny with the educational values. It is perfect for letting children explore their senses and discover simple problem solving. This is a simple, non plastic toy that is perfect for a child from around four months old. I really wish I had discovered this myself with my older children as it has proved to be a hit.
Baby CrazyEgg loves things that are encased in plastic. All her feeding bottles and syringes (for feeding via nasogastric tube) come individually wrapped and she likes to have a good old scrunch before we use them. It is possible that this is the reason that she has enjoyed the ELC Discover Cylinder so much. She received it last year as a Christmas gift when she was almost 4 months (corrected age). One end of it is made of clear plastic, revealing the treasure within: five scrunchy shapes to shake and feel and throw. I suspect it is not just the scrunching that she likes: it is the mystery. HOW can these items be inside something else? WHY can you see them, but not get at them?
As far as this type of toy goes the ELC Discover Cylinder is a fairly simple affair. It is essentially a fabric drum, the base being covered with clear plastic, and the top having an opening for Baby to put their hand in. There are two squishy fabric handles one of which has three teething rings attached. Around the top are a number of silky tags to fiddle with. Inside there are five soft shapes: a sphere, a tetrahedron, a cube, a sort of 3D semi-circle thing (if you could have a 3D circle, without it being a sphere, which you can't...and yet...that's what it is) and a small square of fabric, silky on the one side, fuzzy on the other and crunchy in between. The shapes are made from a variety of different fabrics, silky, fuzzy, shiny and corduroy, helping develop baby's sensory perception in their first few months.
It is worth noting that the small square of crunchy fabric has probably had more play than the drum or the other shapes, as Baby CrazyEgg was fascinated by it and spent ages just twiddling it. It was a good one to chew and was consequently washed many times. Emboldened by my washing success I ignored the instruction that this toy was 'wipe clean only' and washed the cube after a visit from a particularly dribbly friend of Baby CrazyEgg's. It was a mistake. The cube burst at the seams and the wadding spewed forth. The frayed silky fabric that had formed part of the cube was beyond repair and I threw it away. This might be regarded as a weakness of the product, but actually it does wipe down very well and I was just being lazy. After several wipe-downs the drum remains bright and in good repair.
During the year I have seen larger, more complex toys of this type with music, lights and more contents. But sometimes simple is best. Baby CrazyEgg needed small and light toys last Christmas, and this brightly coloured toy which stands at approximately 16cm was perfect. She could lift it herself, and posting the shapes in and taking them out was a skill we had to work toward. She particularly liked playing peek-a-boo with the drum, which had the novelty factor that you could look right through it.
I put this toy on one side in the hope of a clear out before this Christmas, and so of course Baby CrazyEgg has shown fresh interest in it. Now though, rather than taking the shapes out slowly, she takes them out with gusto and waves them in the air: "Ta Da!", or as she would say, "Ging-gee-ging-gee-ging-gee!". She squashes her face against the plastic and blows raspberries on it. She looks in the mirror...closer...closer.... LICK! She wears it on her head. She uses it as a drum. She puts other toys in and out of it, and laughed fit to bust when Elmo popped out of it. Don't know how he got in there, but he says it was a bit of a tight squeeze.
To an adult the Discovery Cylinder may look a bit feeble. But Baby CrazyEgg has had a ton of fun. A great purchase for a baby of 4 months upwards, (though product says from six months).
In the preparations for baby number 3 I am still going through cupboards and having a tidy out of toys which my two year old twin boys have outgrown. I thought I had finished my sorting out of the toys that we are keeping and the ones that we are giving away however I recently found yet another bag of toys to sort through. One of the toys that were included in this collection was the ELC Discovery Cylinder.
***ELC Discovery Cylinder***
The ELC Discovery Cylinder is described on the ELC website as "Stimulate your baby's senses with The Early Learning Centre Discovery Cylinder. Includes shapes of different sizes and textures."
The Discovery Cylinder is basically a drum shaped material cylinder which is about 15cm in diameter and around 12cm in height. The body of the cylinder is made from red material with mirrored sections on the side and two soft handles for a child to pick up the cylinder. On one end of the cylinder is a clear plastic section in which you can see the contents inside of the cylinder. On the other end there is a cut out hole around 6cm in diameter so you can push objects in and out of the cylinder. The Discovery Cylinder comes with 5 different shapes each made from material and made from coloured and black and white fabric. This includes a flat material square which makes a crinkling sound, a cube which also crunches, a triangular prism which has a very slight jangle to it, a ball and a semi-circle shape. Each of the shapes vary in size and colour but all fit inside of the cylinder through the cut out hole.
ELC state that the Discovery Cylinder is suitable for children aged 6 months and over.
The ELC Discovery Cylinder is available from ELC. Mothercare and Boots stores and also online from all three retailers. The RRP is £12.00 however I purchased this in April 2010 for around £7.50 during a sale. I do not feel the toy is overpriced at £12.00 however I think it is a toy I would not pay over £10.00 in hindsight.
The ELC Discovery Cylinder comes in the usual mountain of ELC packaging. You need to remove the actual cylinder from the cardboard backing and ties and then remove the fabric shapes from cellophane. This only takes around 5 minutes but it is not a toy your child can play with immediately.
Once the toy was removed from the packaging I was reasonably impressed. The fabric cylinder is made to an excellent quality and all of the fabric parts, and various textured sections are attached securely. The cylinder itself is soft and made from fabric however is rigid enough to stand upright and retain its shape when squashed but still is light enough for a young baby to pick up and hold. Each of the five shapes is also easy for small hands to hold and pick up and the different textures and sounds stimulate babies' senses.
My boys were around 4 months old when we first started playing with the Discovery Cylinder. Although ELC state that the cylinder is suitable for children from 6 months I actually feel that the toy is suitable for children younger than this. The Discovery Cylinder has no small parts that can be a choking hazard or pieces that could come detached from the main body of the cylinder or the shapes. The cylinder size wise is large but even if a baby hits the cylinder in their face with uncoordinated movements it is so light it is not going to hurt or cause injury in the same way plastic rattles (which state suitable from birth) are.
At 4 months old my boys could not sit unaided so I would find I sat them in their Bumbo style seats or rocking chairs to play with the Discovery Cylinder or sit playing with the toy when they were sat on my knee. However they could grab hold of the soft handles at the side of the cylinder and wave the toy around. At this young age both boys took great pleasure in exploring the cylinder with their hands and feeling the different textures and listening to the sounds that the cylinder made. My boys used to like the mirrored section on the side of the cylinder but also loved to look at the clear plastic section on one end of the cylinder. They used to use this like a drum and bang their hands on this part. This cylinder did not make a proper drum sound but when it was hit it did make a hollow echo type sound which caused much delight and giggles. At 4 months my boys could hold the shapes and liked the ones that made a crunchy sound but still had not mastered how to pick the shapes up on their own in the first few weeks of playing with this toy. They also enjoyed seeing the five different shapes put inside of the cylinder and could see the shapes inside of the toy when they looked through the clear plastic end of the cylinder.
By six months old my boys got a lot more use and play out of the Discovery Cylinder because they were able to sit unaided. They still loved to bang their hands on the cylinder and use it like a drum but also loved to pick up the different shapes and explore these with their hands (and usually chew them). The shape they both liked most was the flat fabric square In all honestly to look at as a parent this just looks like a scrap of square material but for a baby provides the most entertainment as it makes the most noise and crunches when squashed in a babies hand. When sat up my boys were entertained for longer by the cylinder which is why I feel ELC state this toy is most suitable from aged 6 months. At six months my boys would put their hands into the cut out hole section in the cylinder but it was when they got to around 7-8 months when they started to lift the shapes in and out of the cylinder.
At around 7-8 months after being shown by Mr Lools and I my boys had figured out how to push the fabric shapes inside of the Discovery Cylinder and then take them back out again. This became the most entertaining game for them and they would sit for 5 minutes or so simply lifting the fabric shapes in and out of the cylinder.
However by the time my boys reached 9 months old they seemed bored by the Discovery Cylinder and because they found it very easy to push the shapes in and out of the cylinder it did not really entertain them for as long. This is quite a basic baby toy as there are no light up or electronic sound buttons to press so you may find by this age your child may outgrow the toy as they develop a preference for more complex toys.
What I particularly liked about the Discovery Cylinder was that it was a soft toy that could cause no injuries. I never really left my boys unattended at such a young age but when you have two babies and you are on your own there are times when you may be feeding one baby and need to take your eye off the other one, however give the other baby a toy to stay entertained. With the Discovery Cylinder I felt confident that even if one of my boys whacked it into their face whilst playing and waving it around there would be no tears or injuries. This was also a toy I could leave my boys playing together with and if they did throw or whack the toy onto the other baby whilst lying together on our playmat it would not cause tears.
I do feel developmentally there are a lot of benefits to the Discovery Cylinder. For young babies (especially those between 4 and 7 months) I feel that the Discovery Cylinder and shapes give them a visual stimulation with the different colours and material sections, allow them to explore different textures with their hands and experience a variety of sounds made by the Discovery Cylinder itself and the shapes that go with the toy. I feel that the toy helps develop a young babies motor skills encouraging them to pick up the cylinder and the five different shapes and then encourage hand eye coordination as they get older to place the shapes inside of the cylinder. The toy does have learning benefits and potentially you could teach older toddlers about various shapes using the five different shapes that come with this toy although because the toy is so basic and babyish a child that is ready to learn about shapes has probably outgrown or cast this toy aside. I personally feel that if the Discovery Cylinder was more like a shape sorter and had more than one slot at one end it may be more suitable for older babies and toddlers and extend the appeal of the toy a little longer however sadly this is not the case.
This is a very durable well-made toy. The Discovery Cylinder and the shapes are all made from fabric therefore the toy does pick up dirt quickly, especially the five shapes as babies tend to chew on these. You can use a cloth or a sponge to wipe off light marks however with regular play the toy does look quite dirty. I popped the toy and shapes into the washing machine on around 3 occasions then dried on a radiator and the fabric came up clean. I was also very impressed that despite being washed the cylinder retained its shape and did not look squashed which is also the case when children roll onto the cylinder.
The ELC Discovery Cylinder was a toy that I did not think was a bad purchase but also not one of the best purchases either and I would probably just describe it as a mediocre baby toy. The Discovery Cylinder is bright and colourful and entertaining for a young baby between around 5 months old and 9 months old but after 9 months the toy has very limited appeal or entertainment value because it is so basic. Young children can bash the clear plastic end which makes a sound very much like a drum and it is fun to pick out the shapes from inside the drum however because there is only one large hole to take the shapes from it does not benefit from being an educational toy like a shape sorter that would provide entertainment for older babies too.
At £12.00 I do not feel that the Discovery Cylinder is overpriced, especially as it is a durable well-made toy from ELC however due to its limited appeal in a child's life I feel the £7.50 that I paid for the toy is a much better price and represents better value
A toy that we will be keeping but not a toy I would rush out to buy again.