A good looking robust colourful product. The interactive sounds and questions really made this toy a delight. You switch it on and the tractor engine fires up and runs for a while before conking out. The the child is asked to fix the tractor with a key. The question is set by key colur or shape and the key is directed at the battery, engine or... etc. Before we discovered an issue we loved the toy. The toy has eight different questions for the child to solve. I noticed during play that one of the eight questions is 'wrong'. The one that goes 'Check the battery with the BLUE key'. It is the Green key that is required and the only key that will get the correct response. I thought I must have heard wrong so I recorded it on the office dictaphone so I could replay (it takes many minutes to hear all eight unique questions!). Sure enough it is asking for the wrong key. I asked my wife and friends to confirm as I though I was going mad. They agreed - BLUE asked when GREEN required to check the Battery. I emailed Early Learning. They asked to have the Tractor sent to them. After a week they refunded my £20 (and kept the tractor) plus £5 for my trouble! However, they say that 'the word green can be misheard as blue due to the slight American accent'. The accent we hear is an underlying Chinese/Japanese accented person who probably learned English in an American setting, but BLUE and GREEN confusion - I don't think so. We feel fobbed off. If you have one of these tractors please could you tell me if you Tractor has the same problem? Thanks in advance. Regards Paul Long (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Did you know tractors go chug chug chug? Did you know that tractors can be blue or red or yellow or green? Did you know that they can have ploughs or balers or seed drills or crop sprayers? In the two years and one and a half months since Thomas was born I have learnt more about tractors and assorted farm machinery than anything else. Which is why, for a tractor obsessed toddler, the Early Learning Centre's 'Fixing Fun Tractor' makes an ideal birthday present. I happened to see the tractor in question when I was visiting my mum in Chester, and immediately knew that I would be asking someone to buy it for Thomas for his birthday. Happily, Nanny and Grandad obliged! This toy is made of very sturdy plastic and is immediately recognisable as a tractor. (We know that it is sturdy because Thomas' friend tried to sit on it, luckily it survived!) It is about 20 cm long, with chunky black wheels, and bright blue, red and yellow bodywork. There is a steering wheel and an easily accessible seat, so that any toy of your (or your child's!) choice can drive. The on/off button is situated near the seat and is very easy for a child to press. This can be either an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on your mood! On either side of the tractor there are some shaped and coloured holes - more about those later - and on the back are four keys. These are cylindrical pieces of plastic about 5 cm long, in colours to match the holes and each with a different shape on the end. These keys are all held together on a piece of string, and clip easily onto the back of the tractor. I am impressed by this, as it makes the child's job of losing the most essential part of a toy more difficult! Right. Now you have a picture in your mind, here's what the tractor actually does? When you press the 'on' button, you are greeted with a child's voice saying "Hello Mr Farmer." (Okay, so perhaps they're assuming only
boys will want to play with this toy, and that's wrong, but let's face it, two-year-olds don't much care for political correctness.) Then the tractor revs its engine. Wow! But! Oh no! It stalls! It chokes! It struggles to get going again! Whatever is a farmer to do? Here comes the voice again?"Check the battery with the blue key." Aha! That's what them there keys is for! After unclipping the keys and finding the blue one, you have to find the corresponding hole, fit the shaped end of the key in, turn it ever so slightly, and hey presto! "Good." And off the tractor chugs again. (It doesn't move on its own, by the way - only by hand power!) Hurrah! I've fixed the tractor. But what is this? It splutters! It coughs! "Tune the engine with the triangle shaped key." I think you get the picture? This toy is fab. With four colours and four shapes (red (although this looks pink to me), yellow, blue and green; triangle, square, cross and semicircle) there are eight different instructions to listen out for. Also, when the tractor is turned off, if you put a key into the right hole and turn it, it tells you the shape and the colour. As well as doing all this, if it's been turned on and not played with for a while, it turns itself off, with a "Bye bye. See you soon." How cool is that?! On top of all that, it makes a great toy to play with when it's turned off. Despite the couple of little niggles I mentioned in the 'disadvantages' at the beginning of this op, this is an excellent toy. It is recommended for ages 18 months upwards, although I think two years is nearer the mark, as the level of concentration needed is quite high, as is the manual dexterity. I can see Thomas playing with it for many years to come, so at £20 I think it's priced quite reasonably, although you do then have the cost of the batteries to add to that. (It takes 2XAA, by the way.) You can
buy this toy from ELC shops (even our small one stocks it), on the internet (www.elc.co.uk) or from the catalogue (Order No. 48860). Tractortastic!
Age from 18 months, teaches shape and colour recognition and listening skills in a fun way.