Product Type: Fisher Price baby toys
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Get Your Hands Off My Cookie Jar
Fisher Price Cookie Shape Surprise
Member Name: sandemp
Fisher Price Cookie Shape Surprise
Advantages: Easy to make sounds, some educational value, Freddy loves it
Disadvantages: Too heavy for youngest of babies, too loud, songs become very annoying, we eat biscuits not cookie
To be honest this isn't a toy that I would have chosen to buy for Freddy, if nothing else the fact that it is called a "cookie" jar is enough to put me off. We live in England and eat BISCUITS, not cookies and I get really annoyed at how our children are being Americanised, there mini rant over. The Fisher Price Cookie Shape Surprise (to give it it's full name) was actually a Christmas present from Freddy's Nan, so it would have been very wrong of me to withhold it just because of my prejudices.
==Taking The Biscuit==
The Cookie Shape Surprise is actually an electronic shape sorter, that is, unsurprisingly enough shaped like a cookie jar (biscuit barrel to the rest of us). The main body is bright yellow and features a smiling face with a red light-up, push button nose. There are also a total of five different shaped holes along with the shapes to push through them. The lid is purple and fits very loosely in place, you certainly couldn't pick this jar up by the lid, that's for sure.
As this is an all-singing, all-dancing shape sorter is also features lots and lots of noise. There is a fairly easy to operate switch that will initiate one of two different modes as well as switching the jar off. When in shape mode the jar will play a number of sounds when the nose is pressed including a very annoying song. I really do challenge anyone not to be praying that the batteries are going to run out after having heard how the "shapes are in my cookie jar" for ten minutes solid. As well as the nose, the cookie jar will also make noises as shapes are posted through the holes, so when the star is posted it will say "Mmmm Star", and when the square is posted, your child is rewarded with "Mmmm square". This works via little buttons inside the holes that push in when the shapes are passed through.
But that's not all, there are sensors in the rim that can recognise your child's hand reaching into the jar and that sets that song off again. The other mode is just as bad, with yet more sounds and another irritating song, this time based on numbers. Oh and I forgot, there's an even more irritating giggle to accompany all the other sounds and while there is a volume control, it's so hard to operate that I broke a nail trying. I suppose considering that this has a very American sounding name and keeps saying cookie (no I just can't get over it), it's a small mercy that it actually sings in a fairly English sounding voice, with English pronunciation.
The cookie jar does seem to be very durable, being made of thick solid plastic. While each of the shapes is hollow they are sturdier than those in many other shape sorters I've seen. The shapes all fit easily into their respective holes, although the level of difficulty is far too high for the lower end of the recommended age group. Even though the shapes are a good size for little hands, there's no way that a six month old would be able to work out they need to put the heart in the right way up. Along with all being different shapes, the shapes are also numbered from one to five and all different colours.
The cookie jar is, in my opinion, far too heavy, it really does have weight behind it (maybe it's been eating too many cookies). Being electronic, the cookie jar takes batteries, in this case three AA, that are securely hidden behind a screw closed flap. So far we're on the same set of batteries as when Freddy got this, with no sign of them running flat.
==These Cookies Aren't For Eating==
First things first, on a scale of difficulty on removing this from the packaging and setting it up for first use, I'd say it was at about five out of ten. So although I did need to install batteries there weren't that many plastic ties to undo, meaning that Freddy could start playing with it within ten minutes. Or he would have been able to if he had been in the slightest bit interested. He did give it a cursory look over, but even at nine months he found it too heavy and as he was unable to sit unaided at the time, he found it almost impossible to access.
Over the last month, while Freddy has occasionally explored the jar, he's not really been enamoured with it, up until the last week when he's finally learnt to sit up that is. Over the last week he's spent a lot longer playing with the jar and seems to quite enjoy using it to make lots of noise. Unlike some of his other electronic toys (from the ELC) he can't manage to switch it on himself, which he does find a little frustrating as he knows where the switch is, but it's just a little too small and stiff for him to operate. He does find it easy to take the lid off though, and finds it makes a great noise when banged against the jar. He still finds the jar itself a little heavy to lift, even though he does try and tip it up. The jar is just the right height for Freddy to put his arm in and take the shapes out and he always has a smile on his face as the jar starts playing that annoying song. I must say that I think that the sensors in the rim are very clever and it didn't take Freddy long to work out how they worked.
Although the shapes are a good size to hold and I've shown Freddy how they fit through the holes, Freddy doesn't quite have the necessary skills to do this for himself. While the sounds the jar makes when pushing the shapes through the holes should encourage Freddy to practise pushing them through, the reality is that Freddy worked out how to press the buttons and set the sounds off within minutes. Now he doesn't even attempt to push the shapes through as it's far easier for him to just press the buttons. The shapes are great for banging together and against the jar though, as Freddy has proved time after time. All in all, this is a toy that Freddy now enjoys playing with and one that will keep him entertained for a good twenty minutes at a time.
==Food For Thought==
No matter how simple or fancy any toy that your child plays with will help them to develop new skills and this is no exception. Taking it's most simple function, that is as a shape sorter, the cookie jar will help your child develop their fine motor, observational and problem solving skills and they learn to post the correct shape through the correct hole. Along with the satisfaction that they get simply from succeeding at this task, your child is also rewarded with flashing lights, and those annoying sounds. Among those sounds the various shapes or the number on the shapes are named which will help your child learn shape and number recognition.
But, personally I feel that number and colour recognition are helped far more by you becoming involved and an electronic voice will never replace me talking to Freddy as he plays. Along with each shape being, well different and having a different number from one to five, they are also all different colours, so by talking about these colours you can help your child learn about different colours.
Although the cookie jar has a recommended age range of six months to three years, I do feel that this is probably over optimistic at both ends of the range. The jar is rather too heavy for babies at the lower end of the scale and too babyish for those at the upper end. So although, it's completely safe for six month olds and I guess they could get it to make some sounds, I would really say that they won't get the most out of it until they get to about ten months. As for the upper age, I would say that children over the age of two are unlikely to really be interested in this.
==The Last Few Crumbs==
As I stated right at the start of the review, this isn't a toy that I, personally would have bought for Freddy, I would have much rather given him a traditional shape sorter without all the flashing lights and mind numbing sounds. But it is a toy that he enjoys playing with, which makes giving a recommendation really difficult. From an adult's point of view this is a highly irritating toy that plays hugely annoying and repetitive songs that is no substitute for spending time playing with your child. Yes it tells Freddy what shape is supposed to go through the hole, but I can do that. But from Freddy's point of view, it's a toy that's easy for him to interact with, that he can make lots of noise with and one that he's still not quite mastered.
So although I personally would give this one star out of five, what I think only counts for so much and I'm sure that if Freddy could speak he would give it five out of five. So, giving just a little more weight to Freddy's opinion than mine, I'm reluctantly giving the Fisher Price Cookie Shape Surprise four out of five. As for my recommendation, well I wouldn't actually recommend this to a parent, but it is the perfect toy to give as a present to a child you don't actually live with.
Summary: Freddy loves it, me, well I'm not so impressed
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