* Prices may differ from that shown
When I was wondering what to review next I realised that my 5 year old was playing with this and considering she has had it since she was just shy of 1 years old I think it deserves a review! We chose this toy over 4 years ago and didn't realise it would still be very much loved now. I did see it as more of a baby toy but it is definitely proving to be a toy which has lasted much longer than that.
Early Learning Centre
We bought it from The Early Learning Centre. When Millie was a baby we often went in this shop because their toys and games seem to be really good quality and quite imaginative too. Often, the prices in this shop are very reasonable and they have a good variety of toys for children without many of them being branded with characters. There are lots of Early Learning Centre shops around and we also use their website too to buy things. Most of what we have bought from here has been brilliant quality.
When Millie was coming up to her first birthday I wanted to buy her something to play with. The majority of her toys were baby toys that were rattles, soft toys, stacking blocks and other very basic toys. I wanted to buy her something which was a bit more advanced and would engage her more. I chose this shop because it looked really bright and cheerful and when we were walking past it Millie's eye lit up. We had a little play with it in the shop and she seemed to really like it and I couldn't resist it. The box said suitable from 12 months old so I thought it would be perfect for her. I didn't realise that it would still be played with when she was at school!
The shop is brightly coloured and has lots of functions. It is essentially a large till with various other bits of a shop attached to it. The till has four buttons on it which are large and in different colours with a number on each one. These buttons beep when you press them, each a different pitch. Next to these buttons is a plastic button which you push up and down and this makes a clicking noise. Underneath this button is a big red key which clicks when you turn it. Beneath the buttons is a large rectangle which you press downwards, when this is pressed a loud 'piiiing!' sounds and the till drawer beneath opens up! This drawer has some pennies in it but these pennies are stuck in so they cannot be taken out, I presume this is because they are only small so would be a choking hazard, I am glad of this as I could imagine Millie would have lost them within a day or so! On one side of the till is a little scales area which has a round ball in it that is red on one side and green on the other. We always pretend it's either a tomato or an apple. If you press down on this it makes a funny boiiingy kind of noise. Beneath this is a very tiny bead runner which has beads that spin round in different colours. On the other side of the till is a little conveyor belt. It has two spaces on it for two pieces of food and beneath these spaces are pictures of food. You can move the conveyor belt by spinning a large button next to it. This moves the pictures along. On the opposite side of the shop there is a little market section which has holes for two pieces of food and with the shop you get two food items which fit in these holes and those on the conveyor belt- a carton of milk and a tin of pineapple!. At the top of the shop is a sign which on one side reads open and on the other- the side with the till- has a mirror.
As you can tell from the description above, this little shop has lots of interactive elements and contains lots of shop features despite not being that large- it is only just bigger than a shoe box! It's brilliant to see how much thought has gone in to creating this toy.
When Millie was little she would enjoy bashing at this toy. The buttons on the till are large so she could press them herself and enjoyed hearing the noises they made. She would absolutely love pressing the button for the drawer to open, this was slightly harder to do than pressing the till buttons so it was more satisfying for her when it did open with that big loud ping! She also liked to press down on the scales and laugh at the noise. Sometimes she would catch sight of herself in the mirror and babble away to her reflection which was really sweet. She never showed much interest in the bead section but I suppose that was too boring compared to the rest of it! After a few months Millie then moved on to fitting the two food items into their correct holes and would spend ages taking them in and out and looking pleased with herself when she fitted them in. She also began to like the challenge of trying to turn the key, this was hard for her at first as it is quite stiff but she eventually got the hang of it.
Over the year she interacted with this more and more, learning all the different parts and then at some point over the last few years she saw this for what it really is and began to use it in a different way; rather than just bashing it to hear sounds and things she used her imagination and began playing shop with it. Now when she plays with this she is in shop keeper mode and asks her imaginary friends what they would like, weighs their food for them, puts it on the conveyor belt and keys in prices into the till. When her friends come round they play shop and take bits of food out of my cupboard to create a little shop and this till is the main focus of it, her friends often fall out over who will be the shop keeper! It is now a very well loved toy which is played with regularly.
I believe this toy to be very educational indeed! It isn't forced upon you that this is an educational toy but you can learn so much from every part of this toy whilst you're learning and that is what is so lovely about it. The keypad can teach so much from different colours, numbers, the sounds it creates but also a bit about money too. I explain to Millie about how the numbers add up and that then tells us how much our shopping has come too and we sometimes use it to help her adding up. The scales are funny as we don't use scales when we go to the supermarket so when Millie asked me what they are I explained about how food is weighed to see how heavy it is and somehow ended up teaching her about what weight means! As well as understanding the world around them as children can learn about the way shopping works children can also learn very basic skills which will help them. One of these skills is their hand and eye coordination, Millie learnt to put the food items into their specific holes but this took a lot of effort at first as she learnt this skill. Another skill she learnt was various hand movements, the turning of the key is a circular movement that she really struggled with at first but now she has built up the muscles to be able to turn it with ease now, closing the drawer, pressing buttons, turning the dial... all of these actions help to build up muscles in the hands which then help them when they learn to write and hold a pencil. What I love the most about this is how much it has encouraged Millie to use her imagination when she is playing shop with her friends, I think a lot can be learnt when using imagination.
This is a very robust toy. It is solid and made from good quality plastic so it will withstand your baby bashing at it and last them right up to when they are at school and they play with it in a more conventional manner. Millie has had many a sticky finger on this and we've had spilt drinks too but it's still in brilliant condition. She has played with it for a long time and I never realised it would still be entertaining her today so I am very glad that we bought it. It has many different elements to it which have instant reward for a child and they are all fun yet educational too. I think we paid about £20 for it and it was worth every penny, it shows that if you create a toy with so much thought then it will last and this definitely has, it is a very big success and I recommend it highly.
Become a shopkeeper with this fun shop from The Early Learning Centre. Babies love pressing buttons and turning dials and this shop allows them to do all these things and make noises wile they're at it.
This is basically a cash register with a conveyor belt and a weighing machine on the side too so it looks just like a till at a supermarket. The shop is quite big and chunky but that makes it perfect for very young children who like toys like this. The Early Learning Centre say it is suitable from 12 months + and I would agree with that. On the front of the register and four big buttons with a 1, 2, 3 and 4 on them. When you press these buttons they make a noise and the number flashes up on the mirrored screen above the cash register.
The little mirrored screen is great as babies can look into it and see themselves as they really like this type of facial recognition. Underneath the numbers there is a bar you can press which opens the cash register. Inside you will find some grey plastic coins but unfortunately they do not come out of the register so you cannot play with these.
On the left hand side is the conveyor belt which has pictures of groceries on it. You can move this conveyor belt with your hand and it also makes a noise when you move it. Most of the noises this toy makes are boing noises, all quite funny and they do make my little girl laugh. On this belt there is space for a carton of milk that comes with this toy.
On the right hand side of the shop are some weighing scales where you can weigh your fruit in KG. There is already a piece of fruit in the scales which does not come out so you cannot really play with this part very much, it is just more for show although you can press the scales down to hear them make a noise also. I like this shop but its not very interactive in that you can't really do too many things, its more about pressing buttons and hearing the noises they make.
The shop is very colourful and bright and will appeal to little kids. The majority of the shop is green with a purple bottom and then there are also blues, reds. oranges and yellows.
The shop costs £20 and is a nice first toy for your little one.
My daughter was bought this last Christmas and it has given her hours of fun over the last year. Like the majority of Early Learning Centre products it is ideal for little hands. Advertised for twelve months plus, I would have to agree with the recommended age since my daughter had just turned one when she received this and she loved it. It's only now that she is about to turn two that she has started to get bored with it's simplicity.
The shop has numerous buttons that your child can push, turn and roll each with their own unique noise. The till can be quite loud however there is a quieter sound setting underneath the till. When you press the number buttons the numbers also light up in the mirror. My daughter loved looking at herself in the mirror as she played.
The shop is extremely strong and sturdy and despite numerous drops and bumps over the year it still looks like brand new.
The shop comes with just two items of shopping, a carton of milk and a tin of pineapple which seems a little random. These seemed to be the favourite part of the set for my daughter so you may wish to buy some additional play food to go with it.
At £20 it may seem quite expensive, however it is good quality and the Early learning centre often have discounts or give you vouchers if you join their birthday club. This item has also been on Boots three for two offer.
The only real negative with this item is that some of the buttons were very stiff at first. At twelve months my daughter couldn't open the till drawer or turn the key.
I would recommend this toy since it is bright, colourful and fun. You can feel confident that it is safe for your little ones to enjoy and will last until they outgrow it.
My son received this as a gift for his first Christmas when he was 7 months old and even though it says 12 months + I do really think it is very suitable for a younger baby as they will get more out of it.
It costs £20 which is not exactly cheap but it does look good and is nice and bright and chunky.
It has numbers to press, a conveyor belt that moves and makes noise and the till opens. It also comes with a carton of milk and a tin that are stored at the back of it but that fit onto the conveyor belt. My son played with this a lot when he was 7-11 months old and like the noises it made. He was able to sit and play with it and it is very simple so he could press all the buttons and open the cash drawer. He is now 18 months and does sometimes still play with it but not very often and it doesn't hold his attention for long.
One good thing about it though is that it is good quality and very sturdy and even though he throws it about and is very rough with it it is still in perfect condition and looks brand new.
It's never too early to teach a girl (or boy) about shopping, and this lovely toy is a great place to start!
As you will see from the picture above, this is a big, chunky, colourful till with lots of sounds and some lights too. The main colour is blue, with yellow and green being the other main colours. The toy would be suitable for either a boy or girl.
The till has a range of activities. There is a conveyor belt with pictures of fruit and veg that can be rolled. In the middle are four numbered buttons that make a nice noise as they are pushed - and as you press them the number appears in red on the screen at the top. Next to the numbers is a key that can be turned and plays a little tune, and a oblong button that I think is supposed to resemble a credit card swiper - however this is so hard to push that I struggle, and MissD just ignores it! I'm not sure if this is just my model or if all of them are a little stiff.
There are also weighing scales with a spinning half-tomato-half-apple (must be genetically modified), which also makes quite a satisfying springy-boingy sound when it's pressed. There are three counters like you get on an abacus underneath the scales.
Finally there is a nice long, yellow button that you press to open the till drawer. Inside the drawer itself are three static coins - sadly the drawer is covered with plastic so you can only see - not touch - the coins inside. This is my main complaint about the till - it would be much nicer to have a real drawer as I am sure MissD would love to put bits in and out of it. I guess the manufacturers thought it would make this unsuitable for younger children - but I think parents should be given the option to supervise this!
Little extras include a small tin of pineapple and a milk carton, both made of plastic and just the right size for little hands. These can either stand on the conveyor belt or behind the till - however, mine have long since disappeared - they are quite small and easy to lose.
A nice touch is that the back on the till is also decorated - saying "SHOP" in large letters.
At 20 months my daughter still enjoys playing with this toy. It is quite noisy and I should mention there is no volume control or off switch! I think she will still be playing with this for a good while to come so I think it's a great buy - shame the drawer is fake though!
*** This item is from the Early Learning Centre and costs £20. It requires three AA batteries and is suitable from ages 1-3. ***
We were giving this from friends when their children had out grown it. They had, had many hours of fun with it but it still looked new. My littlest son is a bit too small for it at the moment but my 2 year old loves it. Although at 2 he does seem to get quite bored of it quickly and moves onto one of his more advanced toys.
As you always except from elc it is well made from chunky plastic and is lovely and brightly coloured. It is shaped as a blue chunky till with a conveyer belt on one side which can be moved along with a yellow wheel at the end of the belt. And scales on the other side which makes the arrow move and makes a noise. On the scales the ball is shapes as an apple on side and a tomato when spun round. The till its self has 4 numbers on it which when pressed brings the numbers up on the screen above and again makes a noise. There is a large button to press to open the till door. My littlest son loves doing this as it makes a ping noise when it opens. The set comes with a plastic shaped milk carton and a tin which can be held at the back of the till.
I think it is a reasonable price at £20 and I have bought the 'my first kitchen' for my friends little girl. I will be getting my 9 month old the work bench for his birthday. Although I would say I can't see it keeping a 3 year old entertained so I would recommend buying it earlier on.
My Little man received the ELC My First Shop for his first birthday back in August, but as he got so much we only got it out for him towards the end of the year, and it is only in the last few months he has shown any interest in it. Like all the My First Toys, it is a chunky sturdy toy, and uses the same Lime Green, Blue and Yellow shades as the Music Centre we got him for Christmas - I'm not sure if the familiar colours was what got him interested in both toys at the same time
The shop is a till shaped toy - It has 4 chunky numbered buttons on the front which each make a different sound when pressed, and lights up the corresponding number on the display panel above. When the numbers are not being pressed the display panel is a mirror, which my vain little an marvels at looking in!! There is also a key to turn which makes a clicking sound and a little ditty when turned, and a big button under the numbers which activates the till draw with a sprung sound. In the till there are coins, which are fixed under clear plastic (to prevent choking I would guess!)The only downside of this part of the till is a green button which can be moved up and down, but even I had trouble moving this part, so little man has no hope!
On one side of the till there is conveyer belt, which shows fruit and veg which moved along by the chunky wheel in front of it. There is also a plastic holder on top of the conveyer belt which you can put the plastic can of fruit and carton of milk that come with the toy on top (there is also a holder for these bits at the back of the toy) On the other side of the till there are weighing scales. On top there is a sphere which you can spin - one side makes it an apple and the other side makes a tomato. When pressed down it makes the arrow on the scales move, and the numbers and lights behind the mirror flash accompanied by a suitably apt sound effect
As I mentioned at the start, this has recently become one of my little man's top toys. Apart from ogling himself in the mirror he loves to bash the number buttons as if they were piano keys and make different tunes and make the mirror light up. He also loves to bash the draw open key to get the springy sound - and it never fails to make him laugh and giggle. Bizarrely, he also likes to move the can and milk from the holder at the back to the conveyer belt holder and back again!
My First Shop cost £20 from ELC, and is often on promotion with My First Work Bench to buy both for £30 (although this is not currently running, it seems to run every few weeks). It requires 3 x AA batteries which came with it and are still going strong . The age range on this is 1 to 3 years, and although I think the start range is good I think he will be bored of it and ready for a more advanced till well before he turns three. At the moment he is more entertained by the noises than anything else, and he can get this from plenty of the other noisy toys that we were silly enough to buy him! However it is still a great toy, and I would recommend it for the younger kids of the age range
Available from Early Learning Centre, Mothercare, and www.elc.co.uk.