Product Type: Lamaze baby toys
Newest Review: ... used, with designs on the saddle evocative of those used in medieval times. The hooves crunch and the knight squeaks. What interest does ... more
Galloping away - to the depths of the toy box
Member Name: sandemp
Date: 24/03/11, updated on 24/03/11 (77 review reads)
Advantages: Safe from newborn, pram clip, fair number of activites
Disadvantages: Not really bright enough colours, not really enough activities, Little Man isn't interested
Suitable from birth, Sir Prance-A-Lot is a rather large soft toy featuring lots of textures and activities for your child to explore. Measuring just over 20cm from the tip of his nose to his bottom and 20cm in height, he's probably a little too large for the very youngest of babies to hold. But he does feature a handy clip that allows him to be hung from cots, buggies, car seat handles or even baby gyms, which means that these little ones can still access his activities. At just over 110g in weight, he's light enough to allow slightly older babies to hold and carry him around. So in terms of size, weight and accessibility he definitely gets a thumbs up.
Sir Prance-A-Lot's body is made of incredibly soft and huggable plush material, his body being brown and his nose orange. His facial details are formed from stitches rather than buttons, meaning that there is no worrying that the eyes are going to come loose and choke baby. The horse's friendly and inviting expression is perfect for catching a baby's attention, with wide, expressive eyes and huge smile. As the name would suggest this is horse from back in the age of chivalry, and so Sir Prance-A-Lot is wearing a silky hood and skirt (I don't know the proper names for these, if anyone would like to enlighten me, I'll make the appropriate changes). This material is beautifully silky and makes a wonderful contrast with the plush. There are also a number of silky strips around the skirt, and the mane is also formed of silky strips that are the perfect size for little hands to fiddle with and mouths to suck. The skirt is also filled with a material that crinkles as it's scrunched.
Just like a real horse Sir Prance-A-Lot has four legs, but unlike a real horse his are made of plush material each a different colour with a knot in for baby to explore. His hooves are then made of the silky material with plush bottoms. The bottom of each hoof features a different high contrast pattern in black, white and red, which is designed to catch the attention of the very youngest of babies and help them learn to focus. Each of the hooves is also filled with crinkle material that will encourage them to use their hands to explore. Sitting on Sir-Prance-A-Lots back is a little knight made of plush who contains a squeaker. And that's not the only noise this toy makes, if you shake the horse his head will rattle. The final feature of this toy (yes there is more) is the pair of teething rings hanging from his tail. Each of these rings is a good size for baby to hold and has a different texture, while they clank together in a very satisfying way.
As an adult, I think this is a lovely toy full of activities for baby to explore. I love the range of textures, the friendly face and the sounds. I also love the addition of the clip, which means that I can attach it to the buggy and reduce the risk of it being thrown on the floor. But even better I love the fact that it doesn't require batteries. What I don't like is that it is sponge clean only, meaning that should it get grubby I can't stick it in the washing machine. As an adult I would give this four stars out of five, but it's not just my opinion that counts.
==Back In The Stable==
This toy was bought for Freddy when he was about five months old and already had (and loved) various other toys in the range. I thought that this would really be a no brainer and he'd love this too. But no, he basically ignored it, even if it was the only toy in sight. I spent a considerable amount of time encouraging him to play with it, by squeaking the knight, clanging the rings together and making it rattle. But, while Freddy would occasionally have a chew on the rings, he really wasn't that interested. With his other Lamaze toys, he would spend ages exploring all the different textures, sucking on pieces of material and banging them against surfaces. But for some reason Sir Prance-A-Lot just doesn't keep his attention.
Seven months later and Sir Prance-A-Lot has been played with perhaps half a dozen times and can generally be found lurking at the bottom of the toy box. Now my little monster is more mobile, it's perfectly clear which toys he likes and which he doesn't. While he will make a concerted effort to get hold of and play with many toys (including his Lamaze Firefly), he will not make any attempt to get this out of the toy box, none at all. When he does briefly deign to give Sir Prance-A-Lot a few moments of his time, all Freddy will actually do is chew on the rings, he has tried to make the squeaker work but found it a little difficult as it does take quite a lot of pressure.
So while I'd love to be able to say that this is a well-loved toy, I really can't. My little munchkin really doesn't think much of it, and it really was a bit of a waste of money. What I can say though, is that just because my Little Man is not enamoured, it doesn't mean your child won't be. But, in all honestly I can't say that Freddy would give this more than one star out of five.
Being part of the Lamaze Play & Grow range, Sir Prance-A-Lot is billed as being a toy that will encourage your child to develop their senses as they explore the different sounds, textures and patterns. Lamaze also state that while the toy itself won't change, the way your child plays with it and the skills it helps develop will change as they grow. Now, to be honest, I can't say that this toy has helped Freddy's development in anyway, but that's because he is simply not interested in it.
The high contrast patterns on the hooves will help encourage the very youngest of babies to focus, as all they can see as new born is contrast. Then as they get older the various textures and sounds will encourage them to reach and grab for the horse, until they are able to hold it and use their hands and mouths to explore all the different textures. The silky strips may also provide comfort, as many young children do really like to stroke these tags, while the ears are the perfect size to suck on. Then as baby gets a little older still, the squeaker rewards improving dexterity. While the teething rings may provide comfort when baby is cutting his teeth. The complete horse is the perfect size for babies from six months to cuddle and then as the child begins to develop their imagination they can use the horse in their role play.
As to the age range that this toy is suitable for, well the lower age of newborn is perfectly correct, even though they will need help to access the different activities. The whole horse is incredibly well made, I have pulled at all the seams and not one bit of stitching has come loose. There are no small parts, so no worries about choking and as it doesn't require batteries you don't need to worry about them getting into the battery compartment. The upper age of two years is probably about right too, although if this were to have been a much loved toy, I'm sure it would have been in use for longer as a comforter.
I think this is a lovely toy and I really did think that Freddy would think so too. But sadly it's not, I really haven't been able to work out why, it has everything that his other Lamaze toys have and he loves them. At first I thought it might have been because it wasn't as brightly coloured as some of the range, but Freddy loves his octopus and that's a rather murky blue. Perhaps it's because it doesn't have as many activities as some of the range, but neither does his lion and he loves that. The best that I can work out it's because, unlike the others in the range this toy has neither bright colours or lots of activities and so compared to the others it comes a poor second.
So making a recommendation is quite difficult, because while this is a nice toy it is in no way the best in the range. Therefore if your child owns other Lamaze toys then this may just end up at the bottom of the toy box. So while I am recommending that it would make a good present for a baby who doesn't have any other Lamaze toys. It's just not as brightly coloured as the lion or peacock, doesn't feature as many activities as the octopus and certainly isn't a patch on Freddy's favourite, the firefly which is brightly coloured and has lots of activities. And so sorry Lamaze, but I really regret paying the £6.50 I paid for this.
Summary: A lovely toy, but my Little Man doesn't think much of it.
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