Product Type: ELC baby toys
Newest Review: ... she already had hundreds! The cylinder is attractive to look at with bright colours Easy to hold with the small handles attached to th... more
Drum and discover
ELC Discovery Cylinder
Member Name: Lools_24
ELC Discovery Cylinder
Advantages: Colourful and attractive, entertaining for young babies
Disadvantages: Very basic, most suitable for children under 9 months old
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.
Summary: A bright baby toy with textures, shapes and sounds to explore from ELC