Product Type: ELC baby toys
Newest Review: ... phone screen helps develop the finer motor skills! I would highly recommenced the ELC My First Gadget Set to anyone! Whether you child ... more
Much More Fun Than Mummy's
ELC My First Gadget Set
Member Name: sandemp
ELC My First Gadget Set
Advantages: Don't look babyish, more fun than Mummy's, batteries last ages, not too loud
Disadvantages: The stickers
==Just Like Mummy's - A Parent's View==
The ELC My First Gadget Set comprises of three toys in one, all of which were easy to remove from the packaging, with a minimum number of those horrid plastic ties. Within the set your child gets a TV remote control, set of keys and touch screen phone, all of which require a pair of AAA batteries, of which the first set are supplied.
While many of these first gadget sets look very babyish, this set looks a lot more like their grown-up counterparts. The remote control looks very similar to a Sky+ remote, albeit a bright red one. There are lots of buttons to press which will not only make the "infrared" light work at the top of the control, but will also set off a number of different sounds. While the function buttons make lots of different crazy sounds, the numerical keypad while produce the relevant number. But that's not all, there are buttons at the bottom that change the language these numbers are said in, from English, to Spanish or French. A final button changes all the sounds to crazy noises, that almost sound like snippets from a TV.
At approximately six inches in length, this is actually slightly larger than many real remotes and being made of hard plastic it does hurt if it's thrown at you (or a certain someone decides to hit you over the head with it). The noise level that this emits is perfectly reasonable, loud enough to be heard but not so loud that it drives you crazy when the same button is pressed continuously. The buttons are all raised, well spaced and easy for little (and not so little) fingers to press. While the remote is made of durable plastic and the battery compartment is well secured (via a tiny screw) the actual decoration is formed from a sticker. So far this sticker has stood up to all attempts to peel it off (along with the occasional chew), but as far as I'm concerned it would have been better if the detail had been printed on.
The pale blue mobile phone looks very much like an iPhone, only slightly bigger. At approximately four inches by two inches it fits nicely in my hand, but is a little too large for the younger end of the recommended age group. Just like a real touch screen phone there are no raised buttons, instead there is a menu on the screen with a total of fifteen different flush buttons. Among the different options is a camera that makes a noise just like a shutter, a taxi that beeps, a ringer that rings and says "hello" and hang up that says "bye, bye". As this is designed to be held against the ear, the sounds on the phone are very quiet, they can be heard but are easily drowned out by other background noise. As with the remote the phone is well constructed and durable, all except for the fact that a sticker has once more been used for the detail.
The final gadget in the set is a key fob complete with a set of three keys. At about three inches in length, the fob is quite large and as it contains a set of batteries it's fairly heavy. All three of the keys are different and it's easy to pretend that one is the car key, while another is the front door and the third is for the garage. Just like most modern car key fobs this has buttons on it that make noises and light lights. There is a red button that makes the sound of a motorbike revving, the orange light sets off the horn, the green button makes that noise that central locking makes and the yellow button plays a door bell. Each of the buttons has a picture that corresponds to the sound it makes and has a light next to it that lights up as the button is pressed. Again the sounds are loud enough to hear, but not so loud that they become annoying and the set is well made (this time without stickers).
What I as an adult particularly like about this gadget set is how, while they are still very obviously a toy, they are very realistic and look almost exactly like the real thing. These don't look in the least bit babyish and I'm sure that they will be played with for many years to come. They are also very durable, they have been thrown across the room on several occasions without being damaged. Although they take batteries, I've not had to replace the original, demonstration set and that's with a couple of months of fairly extensive use. The only thing that I, as a parent, can really complain about is the use of stickers for detail.
==Not Mummy's, Mine - A Child's View==
This gadget set was specifically bought to try and protect our own more expensive gadgets from Freddy's inquisitive little hands and were bought for Freddy just before his first birthday. At that point he had developed a rather healthy interest in both the remote control and my mobile phone, to the point where he was constantly trying to get hold of them and then hiding them when he did. To begin with I just gave him the remote, which he absolutely loved, in fact out of the three gadgets the remote is still his favourite. Although he started by just pressing the buttons, recently he's started showing a little more imagination while he plays with it. He'll now sit in front of the TV and point the remote while pressing the buttons, pretending to turn it on/over. Lucky for us, he far prefers this remote to the real things, meaning that our remotes are safe as long as the toy is available. The only thing is that he now can't work out why other remotes don't make the noises, but the fact they don't means he'll soon lose interest.
Freddy's not so keen on the phone, when he first got it he couldn't work out how it made noises as there are no actual buttons to press. But he seems to have been watching me use my touch screen phone and in the last few weeks has been more successful at pressing the screen. He also has a much more babyish mobile (The ELC My First Mobile) and where he used to use that to phone Daddy, in the last couple of weeks this phone has replaced that. I still wouldn't say that it was a toy that he plays with regularly or makes a bee-line for, but he will use it to talk to Daddy at work a couple of times a day.
Of the three gadgets, the key fob comes in the middle in Freddy estimations. He will play with it several times a day for short periods, mostly just pressing the buttons (Freddy does like pressing buttons). Unlike his baby keys (teethers), he doesn't actually chew on these keys, I'm not sure why, perhaps they just don't feel as nice in the mouth. As with the remote and phone, Freddy is slowing starting to use these keys in role play, and he does like being just like Mummy and Daddy and having his own set of keys.
As well as being played with by Freddy these gadgets are also played with by his little friends when they come to visit. Some of these little friends are older than Freddy, and his two year little friend loves to play with these. She'll show a lot more imagination when she plays with them, using the keys to start toy cars and open doors and playing "games" on the phone. For some reason she's not as keen on the remote as Freddy, but that's probably because it doesn't actually put the cartoons on TV.
==Learning Is All About Fun==
As with any toy (even a toilet roll tube) this gadget set will help your child develop and improve all important skills. The ELC themselves state that these toys will encourage your child to enjoy using their imagination and inspire them to explore and enjoy the world around them. I guess this is just about right as children learn by copying and what better way to encourage them to copy than to give them toy versions of everyday objects that Mummy or Daddy use daily. I have actually watched Freddy go from simply pressing the buttons on these to start actually pretending that they're the real thing. I also think the fact that these do look far more realistic than many equivalent toys, further encourages role play. But as well as encouraging the already stated skills, these also reward improving hand-coordination with the sounds and lights as buttons are pressed. The remote also introduces numbers in English, French and Spanish, although I must say that I'm yet to be convinced that this will turn Freddy into a linguistic marvel.
As to the recommended age range, well I do think that the lower limit of a year is about right. Freddy was just under a year when he received these and found the phone a little too large. In fact I would say that all three pieces are a little heavy for younger children. I would think that the upper age limit is perhaps a little on the over-cautious side, as I could certainly see a child much older than three playing with the phone, especially as it looks far more realistic than many mobiles intended for their age group.
Although at £20 this is a relatively expensive outlay, the ELC My First Gadget Set is ultimately a well made set of toys that Freddy has enjoyed playing with. The very fact that he prefers playing with these to the real thing means that they are more than worth the initial cost. I'm therefore recommending this set for inquisitive toddlers who want to be just like Mummy and Daddy and are constantly trying to play with the real thing. As to stars out of five, I've just had a little talk with Freddy and we both agree that this gadget set deserves four out of five.
Summary: For gadget mad toddlers everywhere
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