Product Type: ELC baby toys
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ELC Racing Car Trio
Member Name: sandemp
ELC Racing Car Trio
Date: 08/02/11, updated on 08/02/11 (65 review reads)
Advantages: Great first cars, just the right size for little hands, chunky and durable, wobbly eyes
Disadvantages: A little too babyish for upper end of recommended age
Santa brought lots and lots of presents for Freddy at Christmas, and among the smaller stocking fillers was this set of racing cars from the ELC. Although the minimum recommended age is 12 months, Santa knew that Mummy and Daddy would supervise Freddy while he played with these and that the cars were well made with no small pieces. Although he was only nine months old when he got these, Freddy's been playing with these regularly and they've survived being thrown around the room and chewed on.
Santa paid a very reasonable £5 for these three rather cartoon-like cars, all of which were very securely attached to the packaging. I've said this before and I'll no doubt say it again, but when will toy manufacturers realise that babies and small children don't understand the concept of waiting while the countless plastic ties are untwisted? Each of the cars is a good size for young children to hold at about 10cm in length (not including the magnets) and made of durable hard plastic. As I said the cars are very cartoon-like, but they are also recognisably racing cars, with that appears to be a formula one car, another being a rally car and the final car is a drag racer. Each of the cars has a pair of eyes that wobble as the car zooms around along with magnetic buffers that allow your child to link them together. The wheels are firmly attached to enclosed axels and spin freely, so even the gentlest of pushes will send them across the floor.
==On Your Marks...==
Before I go any further, I must that although he's only 10 months old, Freddy loves cars, whether real or toy, they just fascinate him. So as soon as he unwrapped these cars, he wanted to play with them, which was a shame seeing as it took me about ten minutes to unwrap the plastic ties from around the wheels. Once he finally got his (not so) grubby, little hands on the cars, Freddy spent ages just examining them, spinning the wheels and then chewing on the magnetic buffers. Freddy is a little delayed as far as sitting and moving round the room goes, so to begin with he was just playing with them while on his back, but just recently he's started trying to crawl and these are a great incentive for him to start moving.
Freddy finds it easy to push these along the carpet while blowing raspberries (which I think his attempt at saying 'vroom'), they travel fairly easily on carpet but not so far that he can't manage to get to them. On tiles or laminate, it's another matter as these do speed across smooth surfaces, meaning they'll be ideal for racing in a few months time. Freddy's only just discovered that he can use the magnetic bumpers to connect the cars together, and today he spent a good ten minutes simply connecting and disconnecting them. I must say though that he does this more by trial and error than precision as the bumpers are quite small. But while the magnets are strong enough to hold the cars together, they're not so strong that Freddy can't separate them. Let's put it this way, the magnets won't stop a car from flying across the room if a couple of cars are swung about.
As well as being able to be played with as simply this set, there are a number of other vehicle sets that utilise the magnetic bumper bars, including a trio of emergency vehicles, construction vehicles and even a car transporter. These cars are completely compatable with these sets and Freddy will often play with them together. These cars are also pretty similar in size to Happyland cars, and won't look out of place in your child's Happyland town.
==Learning To Drive==
Coming from the ELC I had no doubt that these cars were going to be well made, and have some sort of educational value. I must say that the actual educational opportunities are a little limited with these cars, but sometimes I like Freddy to just have fun. The ELC website states that these cars will help your child use their imagination and discover the world around them. I guess I'd agree with this statement for children of about eighteen months or older as they are just starting to develop their imaginations at this point. For younger children, such as Freddy, they are still learning a little about cause and effect and the cars are encouraging him to move, but more than anything these are just about fun at his age.
As to the recommended age range, Freddy is a couple of months off of a year and loves playing with his cars. There are no small pieces and the cars are extremely well made, so I would say that he could have safely played with them even younger, perhaps from eight months or so as long as they are adequately supervised. The upper age range of three is perhaps a little over-optimistic though, yes the cars are perfectly capable of withstanding the rather rough play from this age group, but they also look a little babyish. I would imagine that once Freddy starts pre-school, he'll start to want to play with somewhat more realistic cars.
==The Chequered Flag==
This a great little set of first cars, they're just the right size for little hands and are extremely well made, being able to withstand being thrown across the room. They are also easy for young children to push across the floor, meaning there's no frustration. Freddy loves playing with his racing car trio, and Daddy can't wait until Freddy is old enough to start racing the cars with him. (Daddy does still enjoy holding a sneaky race while Freddy is watching, but it's just not the same). All in all, this is a great little trio that I would recommend for all little boys and girls from about eight months up to the age of two. And so I'm giving the ELC Racing Car Trio a hearty five stars out of five and I'm pretty sure that Freddy agrees with me.
Summary: Let's have a race
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