“ Brand: Fisher Price / Age: 12 months / Type: Musical Toy „
This Christmas my friend gave my little girl the Fisher Price Rainforest Piano. It is for babies aged for three months onwards (NB: The online product information says it is for babies aged 12 months but the box itself says 3 months - I can't imagine it being of much interest to babies of 12 months to be honest). It is from the popular Rainforest range and as such is bright and multi-coloured featuring a number of animals (giraffe, monkey etc). The piano has five keys, which are operated by baby rolling wheels that in turn strike the keys to play a note .
I found this toy aesthetically pleasing and liked the concept. Georgie at just three months is too young to actually hold anything to strike the keys with so the wheels are an innovative way to allow her to have a chance to try and make music. I also thought it would be a practical way of improving her motor skills.
When we first gave it to her she stared at it and seemed interested. After a few days of showing her how it worked and moving her hands she started reaching for the wheels and on and off can now get them to spin if a lucky swipe hits the mark. The wheels turn very easily, however if they are turned slowly they don't gain enough momentum to make a sound. This was a problem for the baby as when she was spinning them herself she could only manage a gentle roll so often no sound came out. As she likes her actions to have a consequence this has dampened her interest in the toy! However, as she gets bigger I can see this becoming a useful addition to 'tummy time' as when she starts to crawl she will be able to use it with it placed on the floor (at this point it will be to heavy for her to move herself).
Another problem was the weight of the piano. It is quite bulky and heavy making it difficult for little hands. I have had to hold it for her and it even makes my arm tired. It can't be placed on her knee when she is propped up either again due to the weight. In addition, there are a couple of quite sharp edges. If you had a couple of small children left alone with this toy that were at the age of liking to bang things together I could imagine an accident taking place! Therefore, this is probably one for supervised play.
Although the wheels are great for young babies, a useful addition would have been some sticks for when baby gets bigger; they could then also use it by striking the keys. Something I couldn't quite put my finger on was that a note seemed odd when they were played in turn. My brother who is more musically inclined seems to think they have included a B instead of a B flat, which has upset the scale. This limits the tunes that can be played on it.
In conclusion, this toy is ok but nothing special. It is a good concept but there are a number of practical drawbacks that hinder its functionality.
The Rainforest Piano can be purchased from Amazon for £14.98 including delivery.
Let play time be musical and inspiring!