Product Type: ELC baby toys
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ELC Shape Sorting Bus
Member Name: kat1234
ELC Shape Sorting Bus
Advantages: lovely shape pieces, good bus to push around
Disadvantages: back door too fragile
The Early Learning Centre Shape Sorting Bus is suitable for babies from 6 months of age and my son has had it from 8 months. It is priced at £16 and is available in red or pink versions.
The bus itself is quite large and made of a sturdy plastic. The dimensions are Length 27cm x Width 28.7cm x Depth 16cm. The wheels of the bus revolve freely, so it can be pushed along the floor and used as a bus by baby and, being so large, it is easy to grip hold of. The movement can also be used to encourage crawling and, later walking.
My son has the red variety and this is a lovely bold red, like a London bus. There are six different holes on the roof of the bus, each a different shape and outlined in plastic of a different colour - two green, two blue and two yellow. The shapes are triangle, heart, hexagon, square, star (or, rather a flower) and a four sided shape that I am unsure of the name of (and thus not something a baby can learn!!). There are six windows too, three on each side of the bus. These are blue in colour and have shapes cut out of too - hearts and flowers.
The shapes for posting into the slots are really lovely and well made and thought out. These are, for me, the best feature of the toy and what sets it apart from other shape sorting toys. Each shape is made of clear plastic apart from one end which is made from coloured plastic that is the same colour as the plastic outlining the corresponding hole on the roof of the bus. Inside each shape there is a different thing to explore - rattles, mirrors, even a miniature bus! My son loves to explore these with his hands and mouth. This helps with his manipulation skills as well as co-ordination as he shakes them to make them rattle.
My son lacks the co-ordination and precision at 9 months to actually match the shapes to the correct slots and post them, but he enjoys to watch me do this - especially the noise that they make as they hit the bottom of the bus. The major flaw in this toy is, for me, how you remove the shapes from inside the bus. This is by a hinged door at the back of the bus. This is very flimsy and stiff to open - not a good combination. I can see this getting pulled off the bus very easily once my son figures out how this works and this will detract greatly from the toy. At £16, I would expect this to be of greater quality.
Whilst it's nice to have some baby toys that don't make a noise, this toy does feel very simple and like it could be a little more entertaining for the child. Simple toys can be fun and entertaining but my son loves his shape sorter that is a cookie jar and plays tunes - it may be that is more to do with his age and that once he uses the shape sorter function he will be more amused with this toy. Even just the inclusion of a bell sound would add to this toy.
Overall, this is a nice toy and the shape pieces are well made and stimulating to baby. The bus could be better made and, I think £16 is a little bit pricey given the very frail door at the back that is almost certainly going to be broken by rough little hands.
Summary: Nice Toy, let down by the quality
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