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Buying toys for an infant can be a nightmare, do you go for the new fangled toy with lots of extras which looks amazing but fills your entire garage, do you go for the expensive toy which mumsnet claims will make your baby smarter than Mozart, but means you have to live on Tesco value jaffa cakes until your baby can talk, or do you try something simple, old fashioned but something which you remember enjoying in your childhood.
We've mixed things up, but have found that some of the old classics are so for a reason, it isn't sentimentality or the cheaper price, they have remained popular because they have all of the elements which appeal to a very young child.
The Fisher Price Rock-a-stack, is bascially a white fisher price hook, with the company moniker on the bottom, on top of this is a large blue ring, a slightly smaller green ring, a smallery yellow ring, an orange ring and a top ring which is red and clear with three little balls inside it.
The Rock-a-stack isn't beautiful but it is bright, colourful and stylish in a slightly old fashioned way.
What does it do:
It doesn't come with instructions but as far as I can tell from use, it helps your little one develop their grabbing reflex, in grabbing and holding onto the semi-hard plastic rings, it stimulates through colour and it is useful for teething as the rings can be gummed and bitten. Once baby gets a bit older they will hopefully develop an understanding of putting the rings on the hook in the most obvious order to allow them all to fit, but right now, the grabbing and the gumming is proving popular and i'm enjoying trying to throw the rings to land on the hook.
Where can you buy it:
We found Argos and Amazon the most obvious places but any good reputable toy shop should have these. Ours cost us £6.99 from Argos with free collection, which seems expensive but we expect this to last our baby another 12 months and then hopefully also entertain any siblings.
It is colourful, hard wearing, looks good and does seem to entrance our little one, the rings are beautifully contrasting, just the right consistency to teeth with and the top ring does really entertain our little one as they try to move the little balls around the ring. I'm glad we bought this, it is simple, doesn't take up too much space and is used regularly and will continue to be.
The item doesn't need instructions it is so easy to use, it isn't heavy at around 150g in total and is totally safe, each ring has a small hole in, they are too big to get fully in an adult mouth let alone a childs one and the design is smooth plastic, meaning no jagged edges to cut baby.
It isn't fancy, isn't too expensive but does a good job as part of a set of toys designed to be both fun and educational.
This has been part of my children's toy collection since my eldest was a few months old. The version we have is the same as in the picture above. It is all completely made from plastic and the base is slightly curved underneath which I presume is what gives it the name 'Rock-A-Stack'. The yellow pole in the middle is chunky and thick but of a small enough size so that small chunky hands can grab it.
There are 5 rings which come in 5 different colours and in varying size and these fit over the yellow pole. Blue is the largest, then you have green, yellow, orange, and finally red is the smallest. The 4 largest rings are very lightweight and chunky, they are perfectly sized for little hands to be able to grab and pick up with ease. I think they could probably also be used as chewing devices, but I have found my daughters can't actually get their mouths round them to get a good chewing action going, so they have not been particularly useful in the teething department.
The red one on our set is also a rattle, and is slightly heavier than the other rings. One side is red, but the other side has small beads in and some jazzy zig zag pattern. Because of this, this particular ring has been the favourite with both my daughters. When they first learnt to grab things, they would both hang on to this and wave it about in the air listening to the beads shaking around, but they would also move it in front of their faces looking at the beads moving about.
What I like about this toy is the simplicity of it, and it's something that will never get old. The fact that it is just 5 rings which stack over a pole makes it seem boring, but the learning and educational possibilities are huge - hand eye coordination, colours, problem solving.... And when your child realises that there is a certain way of stacking the rings so they all fit properly, it really makes you feel proud that they have managed to work this out for themselves!
My eldest daughter did actually learn some of her colours through playing with this toy. I used to sit with her (this was when I had only 1 child and had plenty of time to sit playing mindless games...) and tell her each colour as she placed them over the pole. Then eventually I would ask her to put the blue one on, or the green one and wait to see if she would pick up the correct ring, and she did actually start to do it properly and learn which colour was which. I was really amazed at how quickly she picked it up and really have to give a lot of the credit to this toy because she enjoyed playing with it and I think this aided in her ability to remember the colours.
My youngest daughter has just rediscovered this toy (she is nearly 13 months old); mainly because I have just dug it out from the bottom of their toy box. It had actually been forgotten about for quite a few months, but I decided to start clearing out some junk toys ready for Christmas, and I came across this.
I now leave it strategically placed on the floor where she will come across it on her way to find me in the kitchen (usually when I am busy cooking tea). And it usually stops her in her path and she takes the top ring off, gives it a shake, has a quick chew and throws it across the floor. Then she takes the other rings off and examines them, then tries to put them back on the pole. She usually puts them back in the wrong order, then gives up and continues on her journey to find me. But it does give her 5 minutes play time which is good, and once I get the time to sit with her, like I did with my eldest, I am sure it will provide more entertainment value and I am hoping that it will also help in her colour development.
Every child should have one of these in their toy box. They are fun, educational, simple, easy to clean and very durable (we've had ours for over two years now and it is still in mint condition).
They are also very cheap - currently £4.88 on Amazon.
This toy is one that my little girl has loved for the past year and every week without fail she will play with it at creche. My only problem is finding the exact same one for home, we have a slightly different one but I will review the one at creche.
The whole toy is made out of plastic, which makes it easy to clean and it consists of a white pole with five different sized and coloured hoops which fit on the pole.
The toy is very robust and must have been through hundreds of childrens hands, the pole has turnly slightly yellow but there is nothing wrong with it and the rings are still bright and eye catching.
Personally, I love this toy, it is great for hand/eye coordination and motor skills, as the child needs to place the rings over the pole. My daughter has a real sense of achivement when she works out the order of all the rings, if they aren't right then they won't all fit on the pole, it helps them think through what they are doing. We haven't got to the stage of learning colours yet but I am sure that it will come in handy. The set that we have at home is great for sticking in the bath and it distracts her from whats going on, she loves looking throught the hoops trying to spy things
When my bubba was teething, we used these like teething rings as the plastic is quite hard and she could gnaw on them and they still popped back to normal.
I really recommend this as I think it is a great toy with many uses and I think you can pick one up for about £5.
A rainbow of five teethable rings fits over a cone with a rocking base.