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It is certainly evident from my previous reviews of the Fisherprice Little People range that I am not a huge fan. In fact I am not a huge fan of Fisherprice in general. Every Fisherprice toy my son has owned has been very ill designed and seemingly unfinished. This is particularly evident in the somewhat tedious Little People range.
The very first Fisherprice shape sorting toy that my husband and I purchased initially had us laughing at its foolish design, that is until we realised just how much money we had thrown away. It cost us just under £20 and consisted of a bucket like cube with holes for the shapes at the sides, and a completely open top with no lid! This was I must point out not evident prior to purchase from the masses of unnecessary packaging around the product. There is surely little point in a shape sorter with a huge opening at the top. Sure enough this is where my son deposited the shapes, who could blame him?
When my son was given the Fisherprice Little People Builders Floaty Boat as a gift for his first birthday I was a little more hopeful.
It is very difficult to find this product online via a UK stockist and as it was bought for my son as a gift I really have no idea where it was purchased from and at what price. My review therefore may lack a little substance in that area. However you can see the product at the following URL http://www.fisher-price.com/fp.aspx?st=10&e=lpproduct&pid=46081 where as you can see it is priced at $18. The manufacturer's age guidance for this toy is 1-4 years.
The Fisherprice Little People Builder's Floaty Boat (what an unnecessarily long title) consists of a boat with a detachable top half, numerous building blocks in different shapes, a flag, a Little People character and a killer whale which squirts water.
The top deck of the boat has three holes for the different shapes to be posted through. There are also bases on which to build with these pieces.
Fisherprice state that all of these blocks and accessories can be easily stored in the lower half of the decking. This is untrue. Even when packaged, some of the accessories were positioned on top of the boat as they simply do not all fit inside. This causes problems when attempting to store the boat and its pieces away.
The shapes are brightly coloured and chunky and ideal for little ones to stack. They very easily fit together and are rather sturdy when stacked on top of one another.
This toy can be used in or out of the bath. It does float, however it is top heavy and will sink after a short period of time or if caught by any movement in the water.
Adding to these relatively small faults is one very big drawback. There are three different shapes, an octagon, a circle and a square and three relevant holes to post them through. The holes have a coloured edge which correlates to the colour of the shape. This would seemingly teach colour recognition alongside shape recognition and space awareness. This is not the case however as the octagon fits through not only the octagonal hole but also the square hole. The circle fits through the circular hole, the octagonal hole and the square hole! The square fits only through the square hole, well done Fisherprice for getting one right!
My son uses this toy in the bath and enjoys stacking the blocks on top of one another and knocking them down. However once all of the pieces are in the bath there is little room for him and he will at some point throw the top or bottom half of the boat out of the water out of frustration. He rather enjoys squirting bath toys, yet the killer whale in this set is very difficult to fill with water and to squirt. I have a little difficulty myself. He therefore lost interest in this character quite early on.
My view of this product is that the faults simply outweigh any good features. It has absolutely no educational benefit due to the poorly designed shape sorting area, which is a shame as it seems to have had such good intentions. The whole product is oversized and awkward when floating in the water. The boat itself does not float for long before capsizing. There are simply too many pieces for the toy to be enjoyed and collecting each and every block from the bath water after use is a complete nightmare. It is also very difficult to store all of these pieces away together, despite Fisherprice claiming that they can be stored away in the lower deck.
There are plenty of great bath toys on the market and this is simply not one of them. This is not one that I would recommend.