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This is a wooden post box from the Early Learning Centre which is approximately 25cm high. It is painted a lovely red colour and comes with 5 wooden letters to post (green, yellow, pink, red and blue).
While this seems like a simple toy which a child would get bored of pretty quickly, it was a big hit with all three of my children. My eldest was given this on his first birthday and loved it immediately. There was no limit to the number of times he could post the letters in the slot and still be happy to find them inside when he opened the door! The letters also fit nicely on the top of the box and he enjoyed stacking them up there. I would say that 12 months is the ideal age to get this toy.
The post box is great for encouraging coordination and for learning colours and counting the letters. My daughter also finds many other uses for the letters such as using them for pretend bus tickets. My youngest son has just turned one and he loves to chew on the letters for teething relief!
Having been played with extensively by 3 children, it remains in fairly good condition. I would therefore say that this is a well-made, durable toy. I would have expected the door, which is attached with nylon strings, to have fallen off by now but it remains attached. The only real signs of wear are some paint chips.
The post box costs around £15 and can be bought from many online retailers. It is a little expensive for what you get but given the amount of play time it gets, it was well worth the money for me. I also like the fact that you don't need to buy any batteries for it which keeps the cost down.
I must say I am a bit of a sucker for traditional looking wooden toys, so when I first saw the ELC Wooden Post Box I loved it. It looks just like a real post box, painted in traditional pillar box red, with a black base and yellow accents. It comes with 5 wooden letters painted in pastel colours, to be posted through the small slot at the top, and it has a hinged door in the middle to get them out again.
The age range recommended for the Wooden Post box is 6 months to 3 years, and this was bought for my little man when he was just over a year old. I think this was the right age for him to receive this toy as the action of posting the letters has to be quite precise as there is not a lot of leeway with the posting slot. This was another big draw of this toy as Xander loves shape sorters, but was getting bored with posting the same shapes and was looking for other things that would fit through the holes, whereas this toy has really helped hone his hand eye co-ordination skills. The other thing that would put me off buying this for a child too young is the string hinged door for removing the letters from the post box - it does not stay open and is designed to snap shut! Although it doesn't really hurt, it could be hazardous to tiny fingers and makes quite a snapping sound which made my little man jump the first time he heard it. However, he now likes to open the door and let it go to make it bang!
Another great thing about the Wooden Post Box is it is really robust. Ours has really been through the mill in the last couple of months. It has been thrown as part of temper tantrums, used to climb on and still only has a few light dinks to the paint work that can only been seen close up. The letters are often chewed but have stayed in really good condition. The post box itself is 24 cm tall so he plays with it either sitting or lying on his belly.
The wooden post box is priced at £15 from The Early Learning Centre or www.ELC.co.uk. If like me you love wooden toys, then you will love this. However you may think that for the price it is a bit basic, but I think for a great looking educational toy that my little man loves, it was well worth the money.
Why this toy
We borrowed this post box from our local Toy Library for my son to play with and he has enjoyed playing with it quite a bit so I thought I would share our experiences with it.
What is it?
This is a very simple toy it is a red wooden post box with a slot for the envelopes to go. It has a door on the post box for you to open to get the letters out. The door stays closed by a magnetic connection. There are five wooden envelopes with writing on and a stamp on. Each of these is a different colour these are blue green red yellow and orange.
Opinion and our experience
This was a toy my son picked up himself from the toy library. I think the initial appeal to him was the bright red colour of the box. He has loved being able to post things into the box and has not just posted the envelopes but he tried to get other things through the gap too. I think as most toddlers love posting things if we had this toy earlier we could maybe have saved our video player from having things posted in it and breaking.
The envelopes are a lovely chunky size for toddlers to hold and move around to get into the post box. The toy is also good in helping them develop their hand eye co-ordination and fine motor skills very well.
We have also used this toy to help him learn his colours such as shall we post the orange letter first sometime this works and other it doesn't. I think if you had it longer than the two weeks we were allowed it from the toy library then the colour recognition and word acquisition would definitely come. It can also be used to help learn counting to 5 as they post the different letters in.
As our son is a huge Postman Pat fan we have used a canvas bag to try to get him to play being a postman with the post bag with different degrees of success but for older toddlers I think this would be a good use of this toy.
The age range for this toy is put at 6 months to 3 years and I think that this is right for this toy as older children may get bored of it and equally there is nothing about this toy that can harm or not be used by 6 months old.
The post box itself is very well made and has survived a lot of children playing with this from the toy library with very little damage. All of the paint remains in tact with no chipping. I asked how long this had been an item on the library and whilst the librarian couldn't remember exactly it was definitely over a year. The edges of the box are curved and not sharp so any accidental piercing of you or your child is unlikely. As the door is on hinges with magnets we haven't had any incidents with fingers getting trapped in it either.
Overall and recommendation
I would definitely recommend this toy for young children especially when they start to learn about putting things in and out of toys and objects. It is well made and very robust. The toy can be used as a simple post it game or for more imaginative play. There is also the possibility of using this toy to help children learn some basic colours and counting.
This is a toy from the Early Learning Centre and as such can be bought on their website or in their shops for £15. Though second hand ones are available on eBay for about £6. The Early Learning Centre has the age range of this toy as 6 months to 3 years.
I bought an ELC wooden post box for my 1 year old last Christmas. It was priced at £15, but I saved £3 with a ELC birthday club voucher. I was specifically looking for a role play toy and liked the fact that this was a solidly designed wooden toy, that looked like it would last.
The post box is brightly painted, complete with mock collection timetable on the front. The set includes five coloured wooden letters (painted: blue, orange, pink, yellow and green). The post box has a hinged door so that the letters can be easily removed by the child to post again (and again, and again!). The entire post box is made from wood and has rounded edges, making it child friendly. The post box set is suitable for ages 6 months - 3 years.
At 2 years old, my toddler still enjoys a game of post box every now and then. As the wooden letters are coloured I am able to suggest different colours for him to post. This gives him the opportunity to learn whilst playing, and he enjoys the praise when he gets it right. Once the letters are all posted the game can start over again. The post box door is loosely hinged (with elastic rather than a metal spring) - this means it won't snap back quickly and trap little fingers!
The letterbox hole is the perfect size for the letters and other thin objects, such as crisps and biscuits. There is a fairly large space inside the letterbox. This leads me on to say that it's worth checking the post box regularly as it can frequently turn up lost things!
Although not the cheapest toy, this has certainly been good value for money in terms of cost per play. It has been extremely well used and still looks in great condition. I will storing this away for baby number two! Overall, highly recommended.
* It's also worth mentioning that by joining the ELC Big Birthday Club you get sent a 20% off voucher around birthday time and also a 10% off voucher at Christmas. Signing up is easy to do, simply complete the form on their website.