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Lamaze Balancing Bug Stacker

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9 Reviews

Brand: Lamaze / Age: 6 months

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    9 Reviews
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      26.07.2012 22:56
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      A magnificent stacking toy.

      According to www.lamazetoys.co.uk/ the Lamaze Balancing Bug Stacker has two great games in one. These are that the bugs can be played with individually, or stacked. Within this review, I seek to explore how Lamaze can justifiably claim that these two games are 'great', and show how the Balancing Bug Stacker's construction and design is crucial in achieving this success. Moreover, I will illustrate how Lamaze are underselling their product through this description since there are further uses to which this toy can be put.

      The Balancing Bug Stacker consists of six brightly coloured, slightly anthropomorphised arthropods. They are plastic, each housing an integral magnet which also serves to make each bug rattle if it is shaken (physically, rather than emotionally). Being approximately the size of a large egg they fit snugly in the palm of my medium-sized hands, if held in such a way as to avoid the various rubbery and knobbly protrusions that form wings, legs and antennae. Lamaze suggest this toy is suitable from six months, and we have owned a set since Baby was 7 months (4 months corrected). She is now coming up to 14 months, so we have had plenty of time to review and assess this toy.


      Individual play
      It will be obvious to you, the reader, that these bugs can be played with individually. What is it that makes this activity 'great' as Lamaze claim? Observing Baby at play I can see that she has enjoyed shaking the Bugs to make them rattle. There is a definite weight to the bugs so this will have helped her develop her arm muscles a little. She has also spent time feeling them and sensing the different shapes and textures that Lamaze have provided, something that has undoubtedly helped her fine motor skills. Latterly the bugs' legs and wings have become a favourite surface upon which to relieve Baby's sore gums. I notice she favours the flat wings for her emerging front teeth and the legs for her as yet unseen back teeth.

      When playing together, Baby and I generally afford each Bug its own persona. We are slightly hampered in that each bug has the same smiley face, but nevertheless we are able to have Snail slowly slithering, Bee buzzing, and Butterfly fluttering for example. The spider is a useful prop when singing Incy Wincy Spider, the Ladybird when reciting Ladybird, Ladybird Fly Away Home.

      The sixth bug is a squat green thing and is something of an enigma. I guess he can be whatever we want him to be.

      It is the variety of possibilities when playing with the bugs individually that makes this a great activity.


      Stacking
      Stacking items on top of each other is a developmental milestone for babies that demands good hand-eye co-ordination, so any stacking toy should be of interest and use to baby. Because these bugs have magnets in them and the top and bottom of each bug is flattened, they stack on top of each other easily, and stay in position reasonably well. They can go either way up and will stack in any order, so they are most suitable for the novice stacker. They stack with a satisfying 'clomp' sound too.

      As yet Baby CrazyEgg is not much interested in stacking things for herself, though she is highly delighted when others stack on her behalf. This is because one of the things Baby CrazyEgg loves to do is...


      Demolition
      This can be achieved through the direct lunge or using an intermediary such as cuddly Elmo. Simply grab his eyeball and swing and the bug stack comes tumbling down. Baby will applaud this, or sometimes 'Bash-a-Bug' on the carpet and blow raspberries to signify her glee.

      Pulling apart
      This is where the Balancing Bug Stacker really triumphs over many other stacking toys. Baby can grasp two attached bugs and has to exert pressure to pull them apart. How the bugs are held will determine to an extent what development is taking place, for example perfecting the pincer-grasp action of thumb and forefinger, or clasping and gripping with the whole hand. The action of pulling apart requires the use of both sides of the brain and so is great for cognitive development, in the same way that you might get Baby to have fun by ripping paper.

      Racing
      Since the Bugs are magnetic they will stick to other magnetic surfaces. We have a magnetic board that the Bugs will stick to. If you hit the back of the board they will slide down, so you can have races. The snail always wins though, so sometimes he has to be left out in order to achieve a surprise result.

      Fridge magnets
      Useful as well as fun, each of the Bugs can do time as an honorary fridge magnet if you so choose. They will hold one or two sheets of paper quite readily.

      The magnetic quality of the bugs, their size and shape is crucial to their performing the above tasks so well.

      Grumbles
      No toy is perfect and the stackable Bugs are no exception. My biggest complaint is the inaccuracy and illogicality in the modelling of the bugs. I can forgive some elements since they are, as I have said previously, anthropomorphised somewhat, and I realise that the bugs have a magnetic task that they are obliged to be able to perform. Nevertheless, the following factors irk:

      I have already referred to the Spider bug: his form renders his arachnid heritage indisputable. However he has only six legs, not eight. This is wrong.

      The gastropod in the gang has a green body, but its tail-end is blue to match his shell. This is just sloppy. Additionally, his antennae are strangely placed: one behind the other so it appears he has a Mohican.

      If during imaginative role-play, you fly the Ladybird eyes first so that it can see where it is going, its spotty wings are under its belly. Sigh.

      Overall this is a magnificent stacking toy. Entomologists and gastropod gurus may be disappointed.

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        18.01.2012 23:24
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        A great toy from Lamaze

        I am a big Lamaze fan, and have only ever experienced one poor product from them in terms of the wrist and foot rattles ( see previous review). My five month old daughter received a Lamaze gift set for Christmas, and one of the several products within this set were these Lamaze Bug Stackers, which alone cost just under £8 on the likes of Amazon, which I think is good value for a good quality Lamaze product.

        This set includes 6 brightly coloured bugs, ranging from spiders (although it only has 6 legs!) snails and ladybirds, which rely on the use of internal magnets to enable them to be stacked up on top of each other. These bugs can be stacked in any order, however some will make the tower that is built more sturdier. When you stack them altogether, it actually quite resembles a totem pole due to the animals and shape that they form.

        Although this toy is aimed at encouraging coordination and motor skills as the child stacks them up, these little bugs can also be used as tiny rattles (although the rattle noise is quite faint) or just little animals toys to play with. My daughter loves trying to chew the legs of the spider and the wings of the butterfly which are textured, making them perfect for her to get into her mouth. They are just the right size for her to hold herself, although at five months she is unable to to stack them herself. However, she absolutely loves these bugs, and will watch me stack them up and knock them over. She has got quite good at knocking them down too!

        These stacking bugs are the equivalent of stacking cups or rings, however I think they are even better than the more traditional stacking objects, as they are brighter, more colourful, easier to handle and can be used as a toy/rattle/teether individually.

        All in all, these are a brilliant toy from Lamaze. Although my five month old daughter cannot stack the bugs herself yet, she has great fun looking at me stacking them, and loves grabbing them, and trying to chew them.

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          08.09.2011 09:01
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          great looking toy

          I have in the past year become an aunty and as he's my first nephew I am always looking out for new toys for my nephew to play with. He is coming to that age where he is moving a lot more and he now needs some toys that can engage him in play instead of just something to chew on like all his stuffed toys.

          This is where I purchased him these Lamaze balancing bug stacker, it is a great toy as it something that he can chew on but it is also a toy that we can engage in play as we can stack the bugs too.

          The Lamaze balancing bug stacker is a pack that comes with six bright and colourful bugs that you can stack one on top of the other as they all come with a built in magnet. If your child is a little too young to want to stack them they also can be a great rattle as each individual bug makes a different sound.

          Each individual bug is the perfect size to fit into your child's hand and are made from plastic so are child friendly and are the perfect weight for your child to lift. The Bugs have wings and legs which are made of a softer plastic so that you child can grasp different shapes and also chew them if they prefer.

          There is a ladybird, a bee, a butterfly, a snail, a spider and I can only guess that the other one is an ant and they each have a wonderful smiley face. The only strange thing is that we know that a spider has eight legs, but the spider in this Lamaze set only has six, but for a child under a year old I am sure this will not even cross their mind.

          The bugs have large bases and they also have flat tops on their heads so that they can sit flat on top of each other. The great thing is that the magnets make the bugs easier to connect and stay in place, but when a child knocks them down, they also fall apart with ease.
          The bugs are easy to keep clean as you just need to wipe them with a damp cloth, you will need to do this regularly if your child plays with these while sitting in their highchair whilst eating.
          These are a great small toy so you are able to put them into your changing back and take them anywhere you go for your child to play with and it will keep them entertained for ages.

          At the moment my nephew prefers to watch me stack them up as he then races over to knock them down, he can also put two together, but unfortunately any more than that is a challenge, but I am sure that will change in the coming months.

          Overall a great toy that retails at under £10, Lamaze have once again created a toy that is great for children of all ages as they grow and develop the bugs can be used in different ways. These Bugs are now a good few months old and they look as good as they day they came out of the box, they have no scratches or marks on where they have been dropped and chewed.

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            18.08.2011 21:12
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            A great all round fun toy which children from about 4 months to Age 4 really love to play with

            Littlemommabear's overview

            This is a great set of toys with lots of engaging features that Little C and I are just starting to enjoy playing with. I bought them recently as I have found the Lamaze toys a really good buy.

            What are the stacking bugs like?

            This set comes with six bugs: a bee, a spider (who has clearly been in the wars as he only has six legs!), a snail, a caterpillar, a ladybird and a greenfly.

            Each bug has a flat top and bottom obviously for stacking purposes and are all various sizes and shapes with funny Lamaze faces - nice big eyes and smiles. They are brightly coloured and definitely attract Little C's attention. They each have a unique rattle so they make all sorts of funny noises to entertain the babies and they also each have different features like legs, wings or a shell. These all have different textures and 'nobbly' bits which I know Little C loves to suck and lick.

            They are made of hard, durable plastic.

            What age are they best suited for?

            Lamaze suggest that they are suitable for babies from 6 months however Little C is already starting to notice them now at 15 weeks if I shake them for him or hand them to him. I am hoping they will entertain for a quite some time yet as my 8 month old nephew Baby M loves throwing them and bashing them and my other nephew, Toddler N, loves to stack them and knock them over and he's 18 months. So from this very personal experience I would say they have wide appeal!

            What are my personal experiences of the stackable bugs?

            As I spoke of above, the little visitors to my house all seem to really love playing with them in many different age appropriate ways. I actually find them fun to play with too!

            The noises and faces engage my younger baby whilst the different textures and bits to grab are just right for an older baby with good hand and eye coordination. The toddlers seem to love stacking and knocking them over, treating them more as a puzzle.

            What about its Quality and Health & Safety aspects?

            These are very well made. The plastic is hard and durable and doesn't seem likely to break or shatter. The extra parts eg the legs or antennae seem extremely tight and secure so there doesn't seem to be any chance of Little C pulling off any and eating or choking on them. I would always keep an eye on any baby with a toy like this just in case.

            One point to note is that *boisterious* children can make these charming little bugs into some pretty nifty missiles. They can be quite painful if used to bash someone (the nose is particularly sore if caught unaware!) or can probably do a fair bit of damage if they are thrown around the room - watch out big plasma TV!!

            On the hygiene front I'm happy to say the bugs are all washable and I have washed them successfully a good number of times after much sucking from Baby M and little from Little C in the sink with hot soapy water. To be extra clean you could give them a wipe over with some sterilising fluid like Milton.

            Where did I get it and for around how much?

            I bought my set from eBay in May 2011 for £5.99. I see lots of them are on eBay and as they are so easily cleaned you could easily buy a second hand set for your own baby if you don't mind about them not being brand new.

            Also, as I've mentioned previously in reviews, a plus point is that second hand Lamaze toys seem to sell really well on eBay. So if you're baby gets bored of them you could simply list them and almost get your money back!

            Littlemommabear plus points

            * Charming and cute bugs which are probably suitable from about 4 months onwards to probably age 3 or 4
            *They do encourage the baby to shake, touch and interact
            *They have bright contrasting colours and lots of patterns which seem to attract babies attention
            *Rattles noises which Little C loves to hear
            *Lots more textures to suck, lick, grip and grab - just my baby's favourite kind of things to do!

            Littlemommabear negative notes

            *Unfortunately the bugs can be great missiles!
            *As mentioned above the spider does only seem to have 6 legs - unless he's something else!!

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              10.02.2011 08:10
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              An excellent quality easy to stack toy from Lamaze

              Our family seem very keen on buying the boys "presents" usually not for an occasion, just when they come to visit us. The gifts usually take the form of toys, one of these gifts have included the Lamaze Balancing Bug Stack.


              ***What Are They?***
              The Lamaze Balancing Bug Stack is a colourful bug stack made of six different bug blocks. The blocks are circular with a flat top and base so they can be easily stacked. Inside each bug is a magnet which makes it very easy for a baby to stack these. Each block is a different bug which includes a ladybird, bee, spider, snail, butterfly and beetle. Each block is made from hard brightly coloured plastic. The wings and bits that stick out the blocks are a hard rubber type material that can't be chewed off.


              ***Suitability***
              Lamaze state that the Balancing Bug Stack is suitable for children from 6 months plus. My boys received this toy at 4 months old and enjoyed the toy. They enjoyed me building the brightly coloured bug stack up and knocking them down and as they grew and were able to sit unaided, were able to stack and demolish the bug tower. The magnets within the bugs make it very easy for young babies to stack these on top of each other. At 4 months old my boys also enjoyed holding and knowing on the individual bugs. These are a good quality and have no parts that can break off or be swallowed.

              I do feel now my boys are 13 months their interest in these toys are limited therefore definitely suited to children under a year old.

              ***Availability***
              These were purchased as a present however after a search online the Lamaze Balancing Bug Stack is sold by a number of retailers in store and online. These include Boots, Tesco and Toys R Us and play.com.

              Prices range from £6.99 on play.com to £9.99 in Boots and Tesco with most retailers selling these for around the £9 mark. Personally I was quite surprised by this and feel that this is quite expensive considering these are a basic stacking toy and other more traditional stacking cup type toys are sold around the £5 mark.


              ***Playing with them***
              My boys first started playing with the Lamaze Balancing Bug Stack at around 4 months old. I say playing with this was more a case of me stacking and building the bugs into a tower and trying to encourage them to knock these over. We got a number of smiles from doing this but the boys were more interested in holding and chewing on the bug shaped blocks and hearing the bugs rattle. The multi-coloured design and rattle in each block are stimulating for young babies.

              As the boys got to around 6 months old and sit unaided they were very keen and able to play with these toys themselves. The design of the blocks makes it easy for a child to stack the bug blocks on top of each other. The flat base and top make the tower sturdy and because there are magnets within the blocks a baby can easily stack the blocks on top of each other. The bugs can be stacked anyway up so children will not get frustrated at the tower being unsteady and falling down or being over complex to build.

              These are made from hard plastic and very durable. There are no scuffs on the plastic bugs despite being regularly knocked over on the floor. Because these are made from quite hard plastic you do need to take care that your child does not throw these at furniture or other children as they could cause some damage. The design and shape are perfect for small hands to do so!

              Cleaning the blocks is very easy, you can do so with a damp cloth or wipe. There are a number of grooves on the various blocks so you do need to get into the nooks to ensure they are very clean.

              I do feel that these are quite a basic toy definitely suited to younger children under 1 year old. The bug blocks are very easy for small hands to hold and because they are easy to stack in terms of development will help children around the 6 months mark with hand eye coordination and help to develop motor skills. I also found these a useful aid to help my boys to develop to sit unaided to give them something to play with and concentrate on.

              For older children these are a fun toy to stack and knock down, something my boys like doing but do have limited interest in these and will crawl off to play with something else once they have built them up and knocked them over once. In terms of learning there are some benefits as you can teach your child about the various bugs and ask them to pick up a certain bug. However these are not the most distinctive of figures so for a toddler these are quite difficult to recognise what they are. Because the blocks are multi-coloured it would also be quite difficult to use these as a learning aid for colours (i.e. asking your child to pick the blue bug up) as each block is made from so many colours.


              ***Overall***
              As a stacking toy I think these are excellent especially for young children. The magnets make these very easy to stack for a young child and the bright colours and smiley faces make them very attractive to children. For parents these are very easy to clean, although you do need to be aware these are made from quite hard solid plastic which if thrown could cause some damage.

              I do think in comparison to other toys available in this price range, the Lamaze Balancing Bug Stack is quite expensive. I think the quality of this toy is excellent however for £10 this is a very basic toy and older toddlers will get bored of this quite quickly.

              A great alternative to traditional stacking cups albeit at a price.

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                03.02.2011 11:22
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                Bright & colourful magnetic stacking bugs

                Logan received these stackable bugs as a present for christmas 2009, I noticed today that he still plays with them even though he has had a huge dose of new toys, so they definitely deserve a review!

                There are six bugs in total, all roughly the same size, (inbetween a golf and tennis ball) but they vary a little in shape, meaning some have a larger base than others, they are also flat on the tops of their heads so they can sit flat on top of each other. The body of the toy is hard plastic which is easy to keep clean with a dettol wipe or damp cloth and each has little legs, wings or in the snails case a head, which protrude from the body. Any legs or wings are made of a what feels like hard rubber, which I should imagine would be quite satisfying for a teething baby to gnaw on.

                It's difficult to decide what some of the bugs are, but one is definitely a snail, another looks a bit ladybird like and another is similar to a bee - actually, now I look closely, there is also a spider and a butterfly, however the last species escapes me! Not that it's really important what they are, they aren't really close enough to be any use for educational purposes, instead they have other things to offer your baby/ toddler, such as visual stimulation from the bright contrasting colours and cute little smiley faces, each one rattles and obviously, the whole reason behind them - stackability! This is where this toy stands out from other stacking toys, the stacking is made easier as each bug is magnetic. The magnets aren't too strong, so they can easily be pulled apart and there still needs to be some level of control to stack all six on top of each other. As I mentioned earlier, some have larger bases so they are easier to stack if these are placed at the bottom, something Logan is just beginning to understand at 20 months.

                They are all in great condition, they aren't played with every day, but at least every other and as they do tend to collapse and fall to the floor I'm impressed that they aren't at all scratched. There is a thin join around each bug which collects a bit of dirt, but I've just cleaned ours up by pushing a dettol wipe around the groove using my finger nail. The only downside really is they are made of hard plastic, so could hurt if rolled on top of or dropped on a little foot (although they are hollow, so quite light).

                The bugs are recommended for age 6 months plus, which I agree with. My daughter is 4 months old and although she finds the colours attractive and will get quite excited looking at them, they are still too big for her fingers to get a grasp of. They are still available on Amazon for £8.27 which I think is a great price for such a cute and quality toy.

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                  26.01.2011 11:49
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                  Nice twist on a classic baby toy

                  The Lamaze Balancing Bugs is a magnetic stacking-tower-type baby toy. It's formed out of six, cute, cartoon-style plastic creepy-crawly type creatures, each a couple of inches high. The bugs are an attractively chunky, bulbous-bodied collection, with similar basic shapes all based on flat top and bottomed, squat barrel-shaped cylinders. There's an orange-winged green butterfly, a stripy orange and yellow bumble bee, a blue -shelled snail, a blue caterpillar (which has the Lamaze logo on the front), a ladybird and a purple spider. They all have sweet boggly eyes and a smiling expression and their various protuberances - antennae, butterfly wings, little legs and so on are all exaggeratedly short and rounded to make the toys safe for little children. The bugs all have rattles inside them too, so they make a good noise when they're shaken about. The toy is intended for babies aged six months and up.

                  The bugs can stack together in any order - although I think the poles of the magnets are arranged so they have to be the right way up or they won't stick together - and when they're all standing on top of each other, especially with the little wings and legs and so on sticking out slightly, end up looking a bit like a mini, cartoon totem-pole. The magnets are all inside the plastic moulding of the bugs' bodies, so they're not likely to be swallowed by a youngster - especially as the plastic these toys are made from seem pretty heavy-duty and robust. Due to the magnets, the bugs click and stick together very satisfyingly, and because of the weight, and the click they make when they go together, I have to admit that there's something strangely appealing even for an adult to get them stacking up.....

                  The magnets are strong enough that you can pick up and carry one bug with another with no trouble, and if you're careful you can even carry a stack of three, all held together by the magnets and dangling down from the top one. My partner got this toy from Amazon.co.uk for about £8 just before Christmas - the RRP seems to be about the tenner mark.

                  I really like this as a baby toy as it's so cute, unfortunately however, the baby doesn't seem especially enamoured with it. Our son is just over a year old and quite likes smashing the totem-pole-style stack of bugs apart, if someone else has put them all together, and occasionally rattles one about for a few seconds, but doesn't seem so keen on trying to put them together yet. Maybe that'll come with time.  

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                  12.06.2010 16:02
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                  BZZZ BZZZZZ

                  **Introduction**
                  I Like to fill out online surveys and since a year or so i am a Valuewait member. When answering questions through their website you can save yourself some points and when I reached the amount of 300 points I redeemed them for a Lamaze Balancing Bug Stacker set. I loved the look of these funny bugs and my daughter had the perfect age for this kind of toy.

                  **About Lamaze**
                  Lamaze is a brand name owned by the Learning curve company.
                  Learning Curve offers developmental toys that engage children, and provide parents with peace of mind, knowing their children are being inspired and enlightened by safe and quality playthings. The company proved parents with day to day solution you might need during betime, at home and on the go.
                  All toys from Lamaze are thoroughly researched Learning Curve products are designed under the direction of educators, child development authorities and parents so you can be sure their products are tested to the maximum

                  **Lamaze Balancing Bug Stacker**
                  This bug stacker can be bought for about 9 Pounds from Amazon.co.uk. The toys exists of 6 bright coloured plastic bugs (a butterfly, wasp, snale, spider etc) that are magnetic. The bugs can be put on top of each other so your child can make a tower of bugs! Each bug also has a little rattle inside of it which means shaking the bug is making a funny sound. The toy is made for children from 6 months to .... and my 18 month year old daughter loves to built towers out of these 6 funny insects.

                  **My opinion**Wow, such a great and simple toy, with such a great look. I bought this toy mainly because I liked the design and colors and I was pretty sure my girl would also like that! She does. At first she didn't really understand the whole magnetic tower building effect, but once she discovered how to stack these funny bugs, she protected them with her life! A great colourful and educational toy that isn't too expensive and is made of firm material.

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                  14.01.2009 21:30
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                  A fun alternative to stacking blocks or cups

                  I purchased the Lamaze Balancing Bug Stacker from Amazon as a Christmas gift for my son. In fact this particular product was paid for with an Amazon voucher earned on DooYoo, I found that they come in very useful over what was a very expensive Christmas period! Looking back at my records I paid £6.24 for this toy, however as Amazon's prices generally change with the wind, this price has now risen ever so slightly to £6.75.

                  The Lamaze Balancing Bug Stacker consists of six different mini-beasts; a bumble bee, a snail, a spider, a ladybird and two more which I presume are an aphid and a green fly. Each bug is made from soft plastic and any protruding legs or wings are made from what feels like a hardened rubber, being somewhat softer and more malleable than the body itself. The bugs fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. They are brightly coloured although not overly so. Each has a rattling sound when shaken and each has a magnet it in the top and bottom which aids the stacking of the bugs.

                  Although very simple in terms of function, these bugs are plenty of fun. They are visually appealing with their smiling faces and childish forms which make them look as though they were drawn by a toddler. They are relatively easy to stack, having magnets inside them, however in order to stack all six the larger bugs need to be positioned towards the bottom.

                  My little boy enjoys these, not always for stacking but quite regularly for taking around the house and hiding behind pillows, in drawers and the usual places he finds. The soft protruding legs and wings are often used as a teething aid which is perhaps what they were intended to be.

                  The Lamaze Balancing Bugs are easily cleaned in a bowl of soapy water. Their hard and sturdy form makes them extremely durable and they can easily withstand rough play.

                  This product is suitable for babies aged 6 months and upwards. However one ever so small concern I have is that one of the bugs has the Lamaze logo situated on it in the form of a sticker. This sticker has already become loose since December. Although my son is a little older, I feel that this could be a choking hazard for younger babies. Surely Lamaze could have painted the logo on in the same way that the faces and detail are painted on?

                  My only remaining niggle with this product is that it was highly over-packaged. Lamaze have in my opinion gone a little too far in terms of packaging for what is in essence a very sturdy toy. With many food manufacturers now cutting down vastly with regards to use of packaging I do feel that some of the more popular toy manufacturers, Lamaze included, could do their bit too.

                  Overall I would recommend this product as an alternative to stacking blocks or cups. It is simple yet appealing and may even entice you to play with it yourself!

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                • Product Details

                  Each individual plastic bug character has a unique rattle and an enclosed magnet allows them to be stacked on top of each other and stick together. Baby can have lots of fun stacking the bugs together and then knocking them down!