“ Brand: Early Learning Centre / Type: Light sound and musical mobile phone „
Like most babies, my twins are obsessed with mobile phones and have been since they started to become mobile. My partner and I are unable to leave our phone unattended as they usually fall into the hands of one or both of my boys and I do not really feel comfortable giving them £500 worth of iPhone to chew and drool over! So for Christmas Santa stopped by ELC and bought them a "My First Mobile" each.
***ELC My First Mobile***
The ELC My First Mobile is a small flip style mobile phone, a style of mobile phone which was very popular prior to the touchscreen revolution! The mobile phone is about the same size as an actual mobile phone about 10cm by 5cm. The phone is made from durable green plastic and a blue plastic on the flip top section of the phone. There is a mirrored screen on the top of the phone. When you open the phone there is another screen on the inside of the phone. This is a clear plastic screen with a wobbly teddy inside.
There are four buttons on the phone which are large and easy for small hands to press. The phone makes phone sounds.
The toy requires 2 x size AAA batteries which are supplied with the toy.
ELC state this is suitable for children from 1 year old to 3 years old. My boys were 11 months old when they received this. I personally feel that this could be given to a younger baby from around 9 months as there are no small parts that could be a danger and it is a very easy and basic toy for a baby to play with.
For older children this is a toy which will help encourage imaginative play but it is a very basic looking mobile therefore for older children they may want a mobile that looks a little more "real".
The ELC My First Mobile is available from ELC and Mothercare stores and online. The toy is priced at £8 however there are often 20% offers on this toy pricing it at £6.40.
***Playing with it***
Although only a small toy do not be fooled that this is an easy toy to get out of the packaging. It is held into the box with two ties which require some pulling to remove. Because we bought two of these toys I had to go through this struggle twice, with two eager children hanging off my arms!
The batteries are supplied with the toy and are in place in the battery pack at the back of the toy. To activate the toy you simply pull the tab out of the battery pack. To change the batteries you will need a small screwdriver to get into the battery pack.
The mobile phone is the size of an average mobile phone albeit slightly chunky to make it durable and also easy for small hands to hold. What I like about it was the bright colourful plastic which it is made from so immediately my boys were drawn to the toys. Opening the flip top section of the mobile phone is very easy and my boys had no problem doing this themselves at 11 months, in fact younger babies will be able to do so. As you open the lid it makes a clicking noise.
The phone inside has a clear screen with a wobbly teddy behind this screen. My boys are very amused when shaking the mobile in their hands and watching the teddy move. The buttons on the phone are also very easy to press as they are large and little sounds are made like "hello", "goodbye" and ringing sounds. There is no way of adjusting the sound level and quite surprisingly this is VERY quiet. I usually moan that toys are too noisy but this is barely existent sounds. I understand that because children will put this close to their ears so this can't be really noisy but even put right up to your ear it is still a very low noise!
This is not a toy which has lot of "learning features" but will help with fine motor skills for younger children allowing them to hold the mobile and press the mobile phone buttons. This is however a fun imaginative toy and my boys take great pleasure in holding the phone up to their ears and talking into the phone in their own little language. This is very cute to watch and always results in lots of giggles from them therefore I think this equates to a thumbs up from them.
The mobile phone has a short strap attached to it with a Velcro fastening. This means that you can attach it to the side of a buggy when you are on the go and save it being thrown onto the ground. I think the strap is very ineffective as the strap is very short and means it's difficult for a child to actually play with the mobile when it is attached to the side of the buggy. Secondly the Velcro is not very strong and both my boys can pull this off the side of the buggy. I find it is easier just to keep the mobiles in the changing bag when I am out and about as they are compact in size and give to the boys when necessary.
The toy is very durable. The boys have both dropped their mobiles from their highchairs onto our tiled kitchen floor, dropped them out of their pushchairs and chewed on them aggressively when teething and the toys are still in working order (i.e. sounds work) and there is no visible damage to the toy. Cleaning the toy is also very easy and can be done with a damp cloth. You do need to clean in the buttons as food can get tuck in between here.
Although my boys both recognise that this is not a "proper" mobile phone and still would rather steal mummy or daddy's mobile this is a very fun little toy. It does not boast lots of "learning features" it is more of a fun and imaginative toy so for £8 may seem slightly expensive. On the flip side of this it is a durable high quality toy and because it is compact it is great to pop in a changing bag and take out with you to keep your little one entertained.
A great looking fun mobile phone for babies, just not for those hard of hearing!
Over the last month ten month old Freddy has started to become fascinated with Mummy and Daddy's mobile phone, to the point the if he's on our knee when we get a call, he'll actually try to grab the phone out of our hands. Much as I love Freddy, I'm really not that keen on the idea of him playing with £200 of technology, so on our latest visit to the ELC, I decided to see if I could find him a mobile of his very own. What we ended up buying him was this, the ELC My First Mobile, an electronic mobile billed as suitable for children from one to three years of age.
Although billed as being suitable for children over a year, the My First Mobile is a chunky toy with no small parts that I was quite happy to give to ten month old Freddy. Measuring 10cm by 6cm when closed, Freddy has no trouble holding onto the phone to play with it. This is a very posh mobile, with not one but two screens on the flip lid. The outer screen is actually a baby safe mirror that gives a very clear reflection, while the inner screen features a wobbly teddy bear chatting on the phone. The blue flip lid opens easily with a satisfying click to reveal a very basic keypad.
There's a total of four buttons each of which will produce different sounds when pressed along with causing the antenna to flash a groovy red. There's a directional pad that produces two different noises that sound just like a call is being dialled and then connected. The 'call' button plays one of two different ringtones, while the message button plays two message tones. When the final button is pressed, the phone will either say 'hello', 'goodbye' or play a little tune. Each of the buttons are easy to press, requiring minimal pressure and while the volume is non-adjustable it is at a very low level. In fact when we first bought this, I thought that there was something wrong with it, as unless the phone is close to your ear it's barely audible. Of course this is a very good thing, as this is a toy that is designed to be played with next to very sensitive little ears.
Being an electronic toy, the mobile does require batteries but the first, demonstration set of 2 AAA batteries were supplied and these are still going strong after two weeks of regular use. As should be the norm with battery operated children's toys, the battery compartment is very securely sealed with a tiny screw, so little fingers, mouths and batteries can't mix. To make the phone truly mobile, it even comes with a strap with Velcro fastening so that it can be attached to buggy straps which reduces the chances of it being lost.
As I was able to attach this to his buggy, I gave this to Freddy as soon as we got out of the shop, only having a slight struggle to get it out of the packaging. Although it was easy to attach the mobile to his buggy strap, I must say that the strap was a little short, meaning that it was quite difficult for Freddy to actually play with the mobile. That's not to say he didn't try and play with it, because he did. It's just that while he could look in the mirror, press the buttons and watch the light flash, he couldn't actually get the phone to his ear, which was a shame.
Once we got home I removed the strap and then let Freddy go wild phoning Mummy, Daddy, Nanny, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all. Freddy finds it easy to open the flip lid and loves the clicking sound it makes so much that he'll often spend a good few minutes just opening and closing the lid. He also likes talking to and smiling at the baby in the mirror or simply reflecting light off the mirror onto the walls and ceiling.
Freddy also finds it easy to press the buttons to make the different sounds and get the light to flash, although he does seem to prefer the ring tones to all the other sounds. The phone is light enough for him to hold in front of him, just like Mummy does when she's texting, or to his ear when making a call. I must say that Freddy is not quite old enough for role play yet, but he certainly realises how Mummy and Daddy hold the phone and he does babble into his almost as if he was making a call.
Being on the verge of toddler-hood Freddy can be quite rough with his toys, banging them against surfaces, throwing them and of course chewing on them. This phone has coped admirably with all of this rough play, showing absolutely no sign of wear and tear, even surviving a serious chew when one of Freddy's teeth was coming through. The phone has also survived being thrown across the room on various occasions and even hitting the wall. I must say it's far more durable than 'real' phones and has probably saved my phone from being damaged. Being made of durable plastic, the mobile is easy to wipe clean, but being electronic it can't be immersed in water. As to whether it was successful in diverting Freddy's attention from my phone, well in a way it has as long as I remember to give it to him before I answer my phone.
Bring, Bring, Teacher Calling
As with any toy, as well as having fun, Freddy is learning as he plays with this. The ELC themselves state that this will encourage your child to enjoy using their senses and imagination along with inspiring them to explore and enjoy the world around them. Now I'm not exactly sure what they mean by the last statement, but entirely agree with the first.
The phone definitely provides plenty of opportunity for your child to use their senses, with the different sounds, flashing light, mirror and wobbly teddy. The phone also encourages your child to practise their fine motor skills by giving him instant rewards as he opens the phone and presses the buttons. Although Freddy is just a little too young to fully appreciate the role playing opportunities, this phone will also help to encourage his budding imagination. He's already trying to copy Mummy and Daddy with the phone, even if he does prefer just pressing the buttons.
Although this mobile phone is relatively expensive at £8, it is so well made and has given Freddy so much enjoyment, that I must say it is worth every penny. Yes there are other toy mobile phones available at a lower price, but many of these are only suitable for children over the age of three, meaning that I would not be happy allowing Freddy to play with them. As far as I'm concerned this mobile phone is perfectly safe for babies from about nine months upwards, although this would obviously depend on your child. As to the upper limit, well this is quite chunky and a little babyish so I wouldn't really imagine that Freddy will appreciate it quite as much once he gets to about two.
As to whether I would recommend this toy, well the answer is a resounding yes. This is a durable, well thought out toy that is perfect for babies and young children that have a fascination with phones. But at the same time it's not perfect, the strap to attach the phone to buggies should have been a nice bonus, but to be honest it doesn't really work as well as it could. And so I'm giving the ELC My First Mobile a healthy four stars out of five and I'm sure Freddy agrees with me.