“ Brand. Fisher Price / Type: Baby Toy / Type: Musical Toy „
Well, Fisher-Price are aiming this at 6-36 month old babies. My baby is 10 months and has been having some fun sessions with this toy for sure, but I am not convinced that it will be holding her interest at 36 months. I am slightly disappointed with it myself, because I expected it to do something that it doesn't- more on that later. It requires two AA bteries (included), and its dimensions are 9" x 6.75" x 9.5"
* What does it do?
There are two elements to this toy. The first is that there are three balls that balance over three holes in the main base of the toy. Within each of these is a switch. When a ball is pushed through the hole (using hammer provided or hands) the switch depresses allowing the ball to fall through and a tune or sound effect to be triggered. The lion's nose also flashes. The second element is that the lion that is stood over the balls tilts from side to side when pressed so that the maraca style rattles he holds rattle, and he emits a roar or a 'woo-hoo!' before a tune is played. There are about 4-5 different tunes that are played including 'This Old Man' and 'Pop Goes the Weasel'.
* What did I think it would do that it doesn't?
Without having read a full description the picture I saw gave me the idea that when the ball went through he hole the lion would waggle from side to side by way of celebration: a la Whack-a-mole or Splat-the-rat that you find in seaside arcades.
* What is it supposed to enable baby to do?
By placing the balls in the holes the baby will develop their co-ordination. This is also encouraged by the use of the hammer: you need to be precise enough to hit the balls, and although this can be achieved with one deliberate tap, my ten-month old has to do several taps with the hammer. The toy is useful in developing balancing skills when in the sitting position. It also helps teach the idea of cause and effect ie pushing the ball down the hole makes the music play.
* What does baby actually do?
Baby loves the music, but seems unconvinced by the hammer. As I write she is pushing the balls through with her hands, and I notice that she has just put a second down and the lion continues the play the song triggered by the previous ball. Clearly the sensors are not always registering as when I push them through to see what happens each ball triggers a change in the music. The balls are easy for her to grasp and put in position. She can bash the hammer and ball together. She has just tilted the lion's head to make him roar, but it is not something she wants to do over and over. She seems to have worked out you can just press the buttons to make the music play. Now the lion has fallen over so she is hitting the whole thing with the hammer.
* Is it worth the price?
I've seen this for sale between £7.99 and £20. I would say it is worth the lower price, but for £20 I would be feeling ripped off.
* Best design features
He balls have a swirly design on them that matches the design on the base of the toy. This is really useful as we now have a plethora of similar sized balls in our house, and if you use the wrong ones in the wrong toy they have a tendency to get stuck, or not work the toy properly since they are of insufficient weight.
The balls roll out of the bottom of this toy easily. Two large exits mean that the toy is unlikely to get jammed.
There is a variety of sounds and tunes.
* Worst design features
The lion is top heavy and falls over. Baby needs help to put it the right way up again. Frustrating!
Overall, a fun toy, but I can't see a three year old having much time for it.
2013 update: Baby has now lost interest as predicted!
I brought this for my son for his first birthday and it is a really good toy although it does have its downfalls. I have not seen it in very many shops but I purchased mine from Argos while the sales were on.
There are 2 parts to this lion that makes play fun for little one. On the top of the toy is a friendly looking lion with two rattles in its hand that shake when little one pushes the lion. If baby pushes the lion side to side it starts to play a song there are a choice of many popular nursery rhymes that rotate so it is always a surprise for little one which will play.
The second part of this toy is the bottom half of the lion there are 3 holes with sensors on them that little one balances the balls on. They then take the toy hammer provided and bash the balls into the holes where they role out the bottom back to little one. When the balls are pushed through the holes music is played to reward little one for correctly making the balls go through.
With a combination of these two different modes of play and the choice of songs played by the lion it really does stay interesting for little one and now 8 months in all 3 of my children still love playing with this toy. The balls are very easy to balance on the wholes they are supposed to go through and little one can easily bop them into the whole with a small hit of the hammer. Sometimes the ball can go flying off the platform but I believe this is all part of the fun as then little one has to go get the ball bring it back and try again.
There is an on off button and of course the all important volume button. Even at full volume this toy is not too noisy but it is very sensitive so if we forget to turn it off I often knock it and it makes me jump. The toy is made of solid plastic and that makes it very sturdy which it needs to be as when you give a child a toy and a toy hammer you can expect a lot of noise and a lot of rough play.
The only downside to this toy is it is very top heavy so while little one is bashing the balls the lion can tip backwards sending the balls flying and this can be very frustrating for my little boy. He used to laugh at first but as it kept happening you can see him getting annoyed as he just wants to bash the balls with a hammer.
All 3 of my children love to play with this toy they think it is very good and when the lion lights up and play its different songs they always smile which I think makes this toy a winner. It is recommended from 6 months plus but I think this may be a little young for the motor skills needed of balancing the balls and then hitting them with the hammer it would be quiet difficult for a younger baby. Also when the balls run out of the lion they often roll away and it would be frustrating for a younger child to constantly have to retrieve the balls.
We brought this lion while it was on sale for just £8 which for a toy that retails at £30 we thought was a bargain. To be honest for the price we paid it is a really fantastic toy but for the full retail I would be disappointed as it is small simple and with its cons on being top heavy I would not pay full retail for it.