Product Type: ELC baby toys
Newest Review: ... The main colour of the xylophone is a light green colour and there are 5 keys on the xylophone, each a different colour. The colours do ... more
I Am The Music Man
ELC My First Xylophone
Member Name: sandemp
ELC My First Xylophone
Advantages: Easy for baby to play, not too loud, durable
Disadvantages: Demos are too complicated, beaters a little too long
What Can You Play?
This battery operated xylophone is a good size at 33cm x 15cm and fits nicely on Freddy's high chair tray, meaning that he can play with it while waiting for his dinner to be cooked. The main body is a pale blue and is made of a durable plastic. There are a total of five keys each of which is a different colour and plays a different note, while the notes don't exactly sound the same as if the keys were made of metal or wood, they do actually sound pretty good.
The on/off switch is easy to operate as it simply slides from one setting to the other and there is a demo button that plays one of five different tunes. The battery compartment is secured by one of those tiny screws, and the xylophone requires three AA batteries of which a demonstration set are supplied (and these batteries are still going strong after a month of regular use). Along with the xylophone itself, there are also two beaters, that are approximately 20cm long and made of solid plastic. All in all, the xylophone gives the impression of being a durable toy that will last for many years.
I Play The Xylophone
To be brutally honest, Freddy wasn't particularly impressed with this when he first opened it on Christmas morning. But, I'm not going to hold the xylophone to blame for that so much as the fact that Freddy was an excited, slightly over-stimulated little boy that morning. Mind you that wasn't such a bad thing, as in common with many baby toys this was very firmly attached to the packaging with plastic ties, so at least we had plenty of time to release it. I'd like to leave a note to baby toy manufacturers here : please find another way of packaging toys, babies do not understand the concept of waiting, in most cases they want the toy NOW. Once the xylophone had been removed from the packaging all we needed to do was pull a out the plastic tab in the battery compartment and the xylophone was ready to play with.
Although the xylophone is sturdy, it's still quite light, certainly light enough for Freddy to lift and examine, but it's a little too bulky for him to move while crawling. I would imagine that he'll have no difficulty carrying it around once he's walking and steady on his feet. Although he does occasionally play with this on the floor, he's not the steadiest when sitting, so he normally plays with this while sitting in his highchair where he won't fall when he gets a little over-enthusiastic.
Freddy has no trouble switching the xylophone on, but he is a baby who loves to press buttons and slide switches so it would probably be a little harder for most babies to manage this. Once the xylophone is switched on, the keys are easy to press and so make wonderful music. I did have to show Freddy how to use the beaters and to be honest, although he can use them, they are a little too long for a baby his age. Not to be beaten by a toy, Freddy has worked out his own way of using them, so although they are unbalanced and hard for him to control when he holds them at the ends, he finds that they work perfectly when he holds them in the middle. (Clever little thing isn't he). What I do like about the beaters is that they clip securely into slots on the xylophone when not in use, meaning that they are less likely to be lost.
Although there are only five notes, Freddy still manages to make lots of noise with the xylophone. The notes themselves are relatively quiet, loud enough to be heard, but not so loud that they drown out everything else. What do make the noise, are the beaters, as they are made of solid plastic they do make a lot of noise as they're banged against any and every surface. In fact, there are plenty of times that the beaters manage to drown out the actual music. I would suggest that if you do purchase this for your child that you never leave your child unsupervised with the beaters as they could cause a lot of damage to any ornaments (or television screens). Oh and believe it hurts if the child accidentally hits you with one.
As well as being able to create his own tunes by pressing on the keys, Freddy can press the demo button to release one of five reasonably short tunes. Although Freddy always has a big grin on his face when he presses on this button, I personally have a couple of problems with these tunes. Firstly they are not tunes that Freddy can actually be expected to recognise, seeing as they are all classical and obscure classical at that. It would have been far better, in my opinion, for some of the tunes to have been nursery rhymes that we could have sung along to. My second problem, is that although Freddy can hit the keys and 'play along', there's not a chance of him being able to emulate the tunes. In fact there's no way anyone could as the demos include notes that are not available on the xylophone.
With there only being the five notes, your child won't be able to play anything but the simplest of tunes. I can just about manage Three Blind Mice, but that's it. I was slightly disappointed that there wasn't a simple 'song book' included, it would have been a nice addition for slightly older children, it wouldn't have needed to include anything more than the order in which colour keys should be pressed.
What Can You Learn?
The Early Learning Centre is famous for producing and selling toys that are not only fun but will also help children learn and develop new skills. The My First Xylophone is no exception to this, and will encourage your child to develop a range of different skills.
Billed as being suitable for babies from nine months of age, this will help these younger babies improve their hand-eye coordination as they learn to control where they hit with the beaters. The immediate reward of the music playing will encourage them to press more and more notes. These babies will also begin to appreciate music, Freddy loves to play (and sing) along as we listen to music on the radio.
As baby gets a little older, the xylophone can also be used to help with colour recognition. As each key is a different colour, you can talk about which colour they are pressing and then as they become more confident at naming colours you can ask them to hit the specific key.
This is yet another excellent educational and yet fun toy from the Early Learning Centre. Freddy loves sitting in his high chair, hitting the keys and making music. He finds it easy to make music by either pressing the keys with his hands or using the beaters and he really enjoys playing along to music on the radio. But that's not to say it's a perfect toy, the beaters are a little too long and could cause serious damage if the child is less than adequately supervised. I'm also not that keen on the demo tunes, and think it would have been better if they had been tunes that a young child would recognise rather than classical tunes. Oh and a simple song book wouldn't have gone amiss either. But all in all, I reckon that the xylophone is worth a pretty reasonable four stars out of five, as Freddy loves it, it is durable and the batteries last for ages.
Summary: Another great musical toy from ELC