Product Type: ELC baby toys
Newest Review: ... bus suitable for either a boy or a girl. There are various doors, windows and lights incorporated to fit the bus theme. The wheels ar... more
The wheels on this bus do go round and round......
ELC Shape Sorting Bus
Member Name: scooch12
ELC Shape Sorting Bus
Advantages: Lovely colours, not basic shapes, bus can be played with on it's own
Disadvantages: The shapes should be sturdier and easier to clean
We bought our daughter this shape sorting bus for Christmas and I'll be honest, I ordered it online from Boots as part of their 3 for 2 deal and hadn't seen it for real until it arrived at my house (I then sent it straight off to Father Christmas for him to wrap and deliver on Christmas Day obviously). The description and design of the bus really appealed to me and a shape sorter was one of the definite items on her Christmas list - I remember using them as a child and I think they are very educational and help massively with co-ordination, problem solving and learning to identify shapes. This bus is available in different colours, there is a red bus and a pink bus - I chose the pink one. It says on the Early Learning Centre website that it measures 28cm x 27cm x 16cm but I think it's a bit smaller than this to be honest, I don't think it's as tall as they say (although I've not got a ruler on hand to check). Either way, it isn't huge, just a nice size to store we find. The toy normally retails for around £16, although I have seen it since Christmas on offer at various times with 20% off so it's worth a look before buying. Obviously I managed to get it as part of that 3 for 2 special offer.
The bus comes in the most annoying packaging - it was one of the toys we opened to play with after Christmas so luckily it didn't take up time on the big day! I just remember it had endless ties to undo to get to the toy out to play with and by the time we'd finished the moment had gone and she'd moved onto one of the other toys she'd got for Christmas!
The bus is very cute I think, it's similar to an old double decker bus in design. It comes with moveable wheels, so it can be played with as just a moving toy on the floor, putting it's shape sorting feature to one side. It has a cute little face on it, with the eyes being it's headlights. It's mostly made of plastic, making it easy to wipe clean from dribbles and mess. Across the plastic at various points are stickers, one features the driver of the bus, there's letters 'abc' and numbers '123' too. These stickers are in my opinion, no good for babies - our baby has already started to scratch some of them off with her new teeth - she's done this on most of the toys she has with these stickers on and to me they are such a silly thing to use as I assume most babies will do the same. The windows of the bus are also cut out shapes, but these are not where the 3D shapes can be slotted, they are just for show. These are designed to be similar shapes to those of the 3D shapes. The 3D shapes are slotted through their designated slots on the roof of the bus. The bus has an opening at the back of it that will release the six shapes from it whenever you want, all it needs is to be pulled downwards and once removed, it just clicks back up into place.
The bus then comes with six 3D objects, all of a different shape. They aren't easy shapes, there is a square and a triangle which I suppose are pretty basic but there is also a flower, a heart, a hexagon and a trapezium shape which I think are quite advanced considering the recommended age for the toy is 6 months and upwards! My view is that it can never be too advanced as she will need to learn these shapes at some stage anyway, why not now? The 3D shapes are made of plastic, some parts being clear and some being coloured. The coloured part co-ordinates with the colour of the shape on the roof of the bus where the shape slots. Two are yellow, two are pink and two are light blue. Within the clear part of some of the 3D shapes, there are little balls, rings, mirrors and other plastic parts for baby to look at and shake to make rattle noises. This is where I get a little concerned - some of these bits are tiny and every time my baby uses the shape sorter at the moment, her main aim is to put these shapes directly to her mouth rather than sort them. These bits are enclosed within the plastic but I am very worried that the plastic may crack with her continuously chewing on it with her little teeth and that these tiny parts may enter her mouth. I therefore watch her like a hawk whenever it comes to playing with this toy. Direct supervision in my opinion is definitely needed.
The shapes also have a bit of a hygienic issue. Some of the shapes have little holes at the bottom where air can get into the plastic. This also means that when my baby chews on them, dribble ends up making it's way into the shape and as it's enclosed for the most part, it is impossible to clean properly.
My daughter is now 9 months old and has played with this toy quite a lot over the last 3 months although she is still limited as to what she can do with it, she certainly doesn't use it the way it is intended at the current time. It's a great toy to catch her attention, even the noise it makes with the shapes inside when you pick it up makes her immediately look up to see what's going on. I tend to sit with her on my knee and show how each shape fits into it's corresponding slot in the bus although she is still more interested in chewing away at the remaining shapes still to sort and doesn't really care that the pieces disappear into the bus. There has only been a few instances where she's peered into the bus as though she is thinking about where the shape has gone. I'm sure that in time she will learn how the shapes sort as she improves with her co-ordination and learns how the difference shapes each have their own special slot and I suppose that just means that the toy will last quite well - apart from the issues I've raised above, it isn't showing many signs of wearing. It is also good that the shapes come in pairs in terms of colour, as she will also be able to learn to sort by colours instead of the shapes themselves eg I can ask him to putt the yellow shapes in.
Overall, I rate this toy 4 stars but if there was an option for 3.5 stars, I'd have gone with that. I think it's definitely an eye catching, loving looking toy and holds her attention well, although the 3D shapes could be better designed. At 9 months, she's more interested in the shapes themselves than the bus, although I suppose they are part of the toy too. The recommend age seems fair although not really for it's intended purpose, just as a toy. We've been able to have limited use from it though at this stage and I assume as time progresses, she'll get more from it as her co-ordination develops.
Thanks for reading :o)
Summary: A good toy but does have some issues
- Plan Toys 34210 Toaster
- Plan Toys 3422 Microwave
- Thorness Traditional 5 Piece Russian Doll
- Marks and Spencer Duck Grab Rattle Toy
- VTech Toot Toot Driver Truck
- VTech Toot Toot Driver Fire Engine
- ELC HappyLand Nursing Set
- Plan Toys 34150 Breakfast Menu
- Plan Toys 34160 Assorted Fruit And Veg
- Plan Toys 34180 Tori