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AS well as buying new toys for my daughter, I always keep a look out in local charity shops or car boot sales for second hand good condition toys as her attention is still limited and having a variety of toys can get us through a meal time for example!! Recently, I picked up this early learning centre tortoise in a charity shop for £2 which was very good, given that it looked in perfect working condition and when I looked up online how much it would cost at full price, I got a shock as it retails at £15, which to be totally honest I think it a little on the expensive side. There is no doubt this Toddle ALong Tortoise as it is called is extremely cute, and when my daughter first clapped eyes on it, she was mesmerised and her little face always lights up when I bring it out. Since I bought this second hand it didn't come with a box, but when I looked up about the product it is actually designed for babies 12 months plus, but at 7 months my daughter absolutely loves watching this toy. I suspect that the higher age level is due to the fact that it meant to encourage crawling and walking, as you hope that baby will want to take off after this tortoise as it moves along the floor. My daughter isn't crawling yet but she is making movements to do so with the bum raised, so it will be interesting to see if this does encourage the crawling, although she generally just loves watching it move as she sits up! To make this tortoise move, baby (or mummy!) needs to press the button at the top of the tortoise which will then light up and play some tunes (of which there are three!) as it crawls along the floor, slowly! It does struggle to move on our thicker rug, but has no problem on either our carpet or wooden floors. The only disappointing thing is that you need to press it quite frequently to get it to keep moving, as it stops quickly. THere is a further setting on the tortoise where rather than it moving, the tortoise can remain still but wil still play the music and light up. This is of less interest to my daughter, so after an initial try I haven't put it on this mode, but kept it on the moving mode! Given that my daughter likes to drop things at the moment, plus that I got this second hand, I am pretty impressed with how durable it is. My daughter has dropped it on hard floors and it has shown no signs of damage at all, so I do feel, like other ELC products, that it is very well made, I just do not think that it is worth the £15 price tag for a limited use product. It is certainly a favourite with my 7 month old daughter at present, and I hope it will be for some time, but I am glad I didn't pay full price as it is pretty basic, though well made!
My son was bought the ELC Toddle Along Tortoise for his first birthday. The tortoise is made from bright coloured plastic with four coloured lights around the shell, and on top is a press button. There are two different settings and an off switch underneath which is great becuase it means you can save the batteries when it is not in use. The idea of the tortoise is that the child (or baby) presses the button on the top and the tortoise plays a tune and moves along the floor. I think the idea is to encourage the child to learn to crawl by following it. However the toy is aimed at children who ware 12 months plus who I presume would already know how to crawl. Once my son was crawling he really had no interest in this toy because when it did move across the floor (which it didn't very often as we have carpets and the feet don't grip very well) it moved slowly and my son just lost interest. The toy is very robust - my daughter now has it in her toy box so it is over two years old and has taken its fair share of knocks and bumps, not that you would know to look at it, so with a bit of care I think it would last for subseaquent children. However with the variety of toys on the market this isn't one I would rush out to buy for other children or as a present and I wouldn't really recommend it. Sorry!
For Christmas my boys seemed to get a mountain of toys and most of the toys in the ELC catalogue. This included the ELC Toddle Along Tortoise. ***What is it*** The ELC Toddle Along Tortoise is a tortoise shaped toy which is made from brightly coloured green plastic with a bright blue shell. The bright blue shell has 5 coloured panels in which light up when the top of the tortoise is pressed. When the shell is pressed the tortoise also moves along forwards and plays 3 different tunes. The tortoise requires 4 x size AA batteries which are included with the toy. ***Suitability*** ELC states that the Toddle Along Tortoise is suitable for children from 12 months to 3 years old. I purchased this toy for my boys when they were 11 months and they had no problems playing with the toy. The toy is not overly complex to operate or has any dangerous parts so is suitable for younger children in my opinion. The sounds and lights make this an attractive toy for younger babies so I think from around 6 months when a child can sit unaided this would be suitable. There are two settings one which allows the toy to simply play sounds and light up when the top button is pressed, developing a child's motor skills. There is also a setting which allows the toy to move along the floor when the top button is pressed, which encourages physical mobility and for children to crawl or walk after the tortoise. For older toddler those nearer 3 years old I do feel that this is quite basic toy and probably more suited to younger ones. Once children have worked out that you press the button on top to make the tortoise move, because it only plays about 3 different melodies older children seem to get bored with it quite quickly. ***Availability*** The Toddle Along Tortoise is available from ELC stores and ELC online at www.elc.co.uk. The usual selling price is £13.00 however around Christmas time this toy was in the sale and we purchased it for £10.50. ***Using It*** Removing the Toddle Along Tortoise from the packaging was very easy. The toy was held in by 2 ties and once undone; it was a case of pulling the tab from the battery tab and switching the toy on. The toy is operated by two switches. The first is set to forward mode which allows the toy to move forwards, light up and play sounds. Or static mode which allows the toy to light up and play sounds but not move forwards. The other switch sets the volume to full volume which is very loud. Or half volume which is more desirably meaning the music is loud enough for a child to hear but does not cause annoyance to others in the room. For young children turning the toy on using these switches is very difficult and definitely requires a parent to decide on what mode to play with and what volume. To play with the toy you have to press down on the tortoises shell for the lights, sounds and movement to be activated. This is very simple to do and does not require much accuracy so a simply whack from little hands seems to work. On static mode the tortoise simply lights up and plays the melodies. This is most suitable for younger children who are less active and can only sit unaided. This does help a child with motor skills and hand eye coordination. There are only 3 different melodies played so the sounds do get quite repetitive. On the movement mode, in addition to helping with hand eye coordination, it also encourages children to move and crawl chasing after the tortoise. When activated the tortoise moves forward in a straight line for about 10 seconds. To encourage walking this is quite a useful toy as it does not move too quickly. However for older toddlers I do feel this is a very basic toy and they may only have limited interested as there are not many features on the toy. On movement mode the tortoise moves very easily on laminate flooring. On carpet the tortoise moves but this is a lot slower and its movement may be limited on longer pile carpet. This like many ELC toys is a very durable toy. The plastic is hard wearing and it has survived being dropped and whacked on many occasions by my boys. It is very easy to wipe over with a cloth too. Batteries wise I do feel that the tortoise does go through batteries quite quickly. My boys have been using this toy since Christmas and although played with most days I do not feel that it has been used excessively but required new batteries after only one month of play. ***Overall*** My boys currently really like this toy and enjoy watching the flashing lights, listening to the tunes played and crawling around following the tortoise as it moves. As a parent a toy that entertains my children and is well made like this one gets a thumbs up. However the toy is very basic and I feel as my boys get older, their interest in this toy will be very limited. There are very little educational benefits to this toy and development wise once your child has grasped they touch or whack the top of the tortoise to make it move. Not my favourite ELC toy but not a bad purchase.