“ Brand: IQ Builders / Age: 12 months / Type: Cars & Vehicles „
I bought our IQ Builders Playtime Bus toy several years ago from a second hand toy market. I bought it for my oldest son when he was 2. He is now 9, but it is such a good toy, that it has survived my many clearouts and toy "culls", and is still a favourite toy in our home, being in the constant posession of my youngest son, who is 4.
The bus is big and chunky, and very robust, having the ability to survive lots of drops and rough treatment! Our bus is a cheerful yellow colour, but I have seen the updated version on sale, which is bright red.
The point of the bus is to teach children shapes, letters and numbers. There are four large "shape" buttons on the roof of the bus: Star, Triangle, Square and Circle. The side of the bus has all the letters of the alphabet in lower case, as well as the numbers 1-10.
The bus has a large purple slider on the roof, which enables even young children to swich it on and off easily. Next to that is a volume contol which allows you to alternate between loud and quiet play.
The bus has four main play modes:
1: Sounds and Letters:
When this mode is activated, all the letter buttons make a phonetic sound when pressed. The numbers are pronounced in a clear Enlish accent. When you press the shapes at the top of the bus, they make various "engine" sounds. This mode enables the young child to learn the sound that each letter makes, as well as the names of the numbers.
2: Shapes, Numbers and Sounds:
In this mode, the bus asks the child to find the relevant character or shape on the bus and press it. It asks "where is...." followed by the letter sound. If the child presses the correct letter, the bus repeats it back. If not, the bus says "oops!" and repeats the question. This is really good at helping children identify letters and pick them out of the alphabet.
3: Sound and Letters:
The bus tells the child the phonetic sound of the letter pressed, as well as the name of the letter (e.g "ah" is the sound, ay is the name"). When you press the numbers, they play different notes in the musical scale, which allows you to play tunes by treating the numbers as piano keys. When you press the shapes, the bus tells you the name of the shape.
4: Music Library:
This is a fun mode, experimenting with different sounds. The letters play different tunes or animal sound when pressed. The numbers play well known nursery rhymes. The shapes go back to making "engine" noises. Some of the noises are really funny, and the child will press them over and over again, giggling.
The bus takes 2 AA batteries, which last for ages. I usually use rechargeable ones. When the batteries start to run out, the nice female voice goes a bit wobbly, and the tunes go a bit strange! This is a really fantastic toy that I cannot recommend highly enough. It has really helped my kids learn their letter sounds, as well as being a fun toy for rolling along the floor. The buttons are colourful and a nice size for little fingers. It is nice to hear a toy that has an English, rather than American accent! The toy is widely available cheaply from Ebay, or you can usually spot these at any car boot or market stall!
IQ builders learning bus This fabulous toy has a multitude of uses as well as a great learning toy! The bus itself is bright yellow, and has pictures of the passengers and the driver on the side. In addition to this there are all the letters of the alphabet on the side in bright red plastic, and numbers from 1 to 10 in purple and green plastic, (don’t know who recommended the colour scheme!) The bus has black plastic wheels which actually do turn, and the whole construction is robust enough for my 2 year old to ride around on or stand on, especially when he wants something off the side! The bus also has a bumper on the back which doubles as a carrying handle. The 2 AA batteries are housed underneath the bus and are only reached by removing the screw in the cover plate with a screw driver. On the top of the bus is a on/off switch and you are greeted with a little tune and the words ‘all aboard lets have some fun’. There is also the best function of all on the top of the bus, a VOLUME switch, it turns the sounds down a little, but good for saving sanity!. There are four modes: sounds of letters: In this mode when the letters are presses an English voice repeats the sounds of the letter, and the numbers that are presses are spoken. There are four shapes on top of the bus, these also have pictures of a horn, a key, the brake and a music symbol, when they are pressed in the sounds of letters mode they play engine, horn and brake or a tune. shapes numbers and sounds mode: In this mode you are asked where a letter is, if you get it right a voice repeats the letter/number and plays a tune to tell you that is the right answer. If you get it wrong, it says ‘OOPS’ and repeats the question. lets learn sounds and letters mode: In this mode you are taught the name and the sounds of the various letters, it is up to you to choice a letter. Press the letter ‘a’ and you hear ‘a
is the sounds, A is the name’. The numbers in this mode play a musical scale. The shapes on top of the bus when pressed say the name of shape, i.e., square, circle, triangle and star. The last mode all about music,. when any of the buttons are pressed a short tune or sound is played, some of the sounds are a little strange and in fact I haven’t yet worked out what all of them are! Well there is time yet, we have only had it 2 years!
Finding your child a toy that will keep their attention for more than half an hour is a bit of a challenge. Just when you think that you've scored a hit with them, the toy is thrown down and discarded in favour of the box that it came in. On this occasion however, I think I definately had a hit. The I.Q playbus first appealed to me because of it's bright, robust appearance. With loads of buttons to press along the side and on top, as well as happy faces looking through imaginary windows, this bright yellow bus looked fun. The wheels really go around, and although not big, the overall structure is big enough to take my son's entire weight on either by pushing it along or by actually sitting on it! The bus teaches young children the alphabet through 'phonic' sounds, and I have to say that the fact that it does this in an English rather than American accent also appealed to me. By pressing one of four modes, the child can learn the sounds(phonics) of letters, find the different letters having been prompted by the kind lady bus drivers voice, can learn sounds and letters together, i.e A; ah. Finally the fourth mode is a music library with a big selection of tunes and also animal sounds which my son finds particularly amusing. To top it off, the top of the bus has shapes that play tunes or engine sounds depending on which mode is currently being used. All in all, the bus is interesting to a child, durable, the batteries seem to last well and it's many functions mean that it keeps your child's attention for sometime with there always being something more to discover. 10 out of 10 to I.Q Builders!
A multifunction play bus! This bus is quite sturdy and suitable for children aged one and over. It runs on batteries (included) and has various buttons to press. It plays tunes and phrases, letter names and phonic sounds, and numbers 1 to 10. The buttons are in themselves educational in that they are different colours and shapes, and those relating to number and letter sounds are number and letter shaped. Above all it is fun,and for the smallest child it is wonderful for pushing along and pressing buttons at random. However, I have found that its real strength is in teaching phonic letter sounds. I have used it to very good effect with somewhat older children, who are starting to learn to spell, or who are having speech difficulties. The reason I like it so much is that the sounds are natural rather than forced; for example rather than saying an artificial phonic ' b ' for baby, it just sounds like the beginning of the word as it sounds in normal speech (this is difficult to explain in words!). A very good buy, with much play and educational value.