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My daughter loves to chew on all of her toys. She also loves walking around with something in each hand that she teases everyone with by pretending to hand out and then takes straight back! Her grandparents asked me to come up with an extra toy for her birthday to add to her main present and I opted for this - the LeapFrog picnic basket. My reasons being that it contained all sorts of plastic picnic items that I knew she'd love to grasp onto and walk around with. That and try and chew!
The basket cost £19.99 in Toys R Us a few months ago which although seemed quite a high price for one small toy, I feel represents excellent value for money. In the box there's obviously a basket and smaller items that make up the picnic set. I can't name every single piece in there as I don't think we've managed to keep all of the pieces since receiving it from new but there are 14 pieces in total. In ours today there is a small red checked tablecloth (more the size of a napkin though), two plates, a variety of foods eg cheese and crackers and a ham sandwich, two big forks and two cups for the drinks although these each have a hole at the bottom so they can't be used in real life to fill up with water! The plates are great to learn shapes as they have cut out sections on them where the different foods slot - the three shapes are triangular, circular and squared so they are basic but perfect for the recommended age group of six months and upwards.
The basket is designed to be just like a traditional one with a handle over the centre and two folding sides that lift up to put things in and take things from the basket. Ours is purple and pink with a face printed on the side. A great additional feature is that the basket makes a variety of noises and sounds to help with shapes and colours. For example one saying is 'lets eat the apple pie with the red fork' and teaches what the fork is, the colour it is and that it's used to eat some foods. Another saying is 'the biscuit is a circle, can you find another'. My daughter is a bit too young to understand all of the shapes yet, but she has started to learn the shapes or perhaps certain words - if I tell her to pick the fork up she will do so. There is also a setting for 'picnic music' on the basket and a lot of the songs that it plays will also help to teach shapes - for example there's a song all about circles that chants 'round, round round'.
The whole thing is made of plastic - the foods (no there's not edible!), the cups and the plates - only the napkin/tablecloth is made of thin cloth material. The plastic design means that it's been exceptionally easy to keep clean and looking like new - especially because we've used the pieces from the set at eating times to associate those with her real foods. Ours have been chewed no end but they are still looking fine.
The only thing is that the basket feels quite heavy - for a one year old anyway and especially when it's full. I would think it would be far too heavy for a 6 month old. We're lucky in that respect as my daughter prefers to empty the whole thing out before playing with it, for some reason she loves the pieces to be sprawled across the floor rather than neatly tidied in the basket but I think she'd struggle to carry it if she did keep them in the basket while playing. It measures around 19cm x 16cm x 24cm.
I rate the picnic set 4 stars - just the weight and the fact that some of the paper stickers on the top of the basket have easily peeled away by her chewing taking one off. It's a great toy for imagination and covers a wide age range. She's nearly 14 months now but I can see her using this for many more months to come!
Thanks for reading :o)
We bought this for my daughter at Christmas when my daughter was 6 months old. I was looking for toys which are fun but educational and will last for a while, this is why I liked to look of this toy.
~ Cost and Availability ~
I bought this from Amazon for around £15, at the moment it is on there for £19.29. It is also available at many other toy retailers i.e. ELC, Tesco, Mothercare, ToyRus all for around £20-25.
I understand that this is quite a costly toy, however, I feel that its variety and length of use it is worth the money.
~ The Toy ~
The recommended age for this toy is 6 months to 3 years, which I feel is about right. My daughter was 6 months and sitting on her own when we got this.
The toy consists of a number of aspects which keeps the interest for a variety of ages.
The basket itself is a plastic picnic basket with a cute cartoon style face, with a lid which opens both sides and a handle. The basket is electronic using 3 AA batteries, we are still on our first set of batteries 4 months later. There are two electronic settings "shapes & colours" and "music".
Shapes & Colours setting - the basket talks to you either when you open and close the lid or press the "butterfly" button on the basket. It asks questions regarding the food items, shapes and colours.
Music setting - when either opening/closing the lid or pressing the butterfly button the basket sings a couple of songs relating to picnics
With the basket there are a number of picnic items, two shape sorting plates, two cups, two forks and 6 different food items which are shapes either circle, triangle or square, which fit into the plate shapes and a picnic blanket.
The basket firstly encourages the fine motor skills of picking up the separate items in the early months. The size of the food items are perfect for practicing the pincer grip and passing items between hands. My daughter also enjoys banging the different items together to make different sounds developing cause and effect.
Then my daughter got into opening and closing things, which she loved this toy for this as the lid makes different noises when you open/close the lids.
Then my daughter enjoyed rummaging through the basket with all the items inside and choosing which items she wanted to pick up. This encourages her visual and choice making skills.
Now she enjoys emptying the basket then placing (or more normally throwing) the items back into the basket.
This toy also encourages sharing, as I sit with my daughter when she is playing and point and ask different items for her to pass to me. When she is a little older this is good and there is two of each item for more role playing sharing.
This toy is also good for encouraging vocabulary and shape/colour recognition, as you can ask for different items like the round orange or triangle melon etc.
My daughter is a little young at the moment to understand shape sorting, however, she did work out she can put the round items inside the cups, but the triangle items do not fit. When she is playing you can see her thinking and looking at things, so I don't think it will be long before she can work out the shapes sorting into the plates.
We recently went camping and took this toy with us. We found that my daughter and her cousin (7 months) both enjoyed playing with it together. Also my friends daughter who is 2 years old, also really enjoyed playing with this toy, but in a slightly more role playing way.
~ Conclusion ~
I feel that this toy is a great learning aid developing a lot of different aspect varying for a wide range of ages. Well worth the cost!
Let's go on a picnic.
Leapfrog produce a great range of children's toys that are usually quite musical or include some kind of sounds. They make a lot of interactive toys that help kids to learn through play which I think is really important.
This picnic basket is very cute. We go on a lot of picnics during the day with our little friends and so I thought this would be a nice gift to get my little girl as she could then take it as a toy when we go for one of our proper picnics. The picnic basket looks like an old fashioned wicker picnic basket although this one is plastic and purple. It's quite a sturdy basket and has held up well to being carried and thrown around. The basket has two sides that open allowing you to put the food and other items in it. I also has a pink carry handle in the middle which again makes it look like a proper picnic basket and I like the fact that you can carry it around as my daughter loves to carry things when she plays with them.
The picnic basket is referred to as a 14 piece set and I think this is quite a good number of items that it comes with. There are two plates, two large pronged forks, two cups and lots of food items to put in the basket which include things like a sandwich, a piece of pie, meat, cheese and a slice of watermelon. All these items are plastic obviously but I think they look quite authentic and you can have lots of fun pretend eating and making up food with your little one. My favourite item though that comes with this picnic basket is a stereotypical picnic blanket. This is red and white checked and looks just like a proper picnic blanket or tablecloth that you would get with a real basket. My little girl and I find it fun to lay this tablecloth/blanket out on the floor and then put all our lunch stuff on it.
Unlike a real picnic basket however, this basket talks!! There is an on/off button on the front as well as a volume control button which is definitely needed as it is quite loud when it is on the highest setting. I generally like to turn noisy toys off after a while but unfortunately my little girl now knows how to work these controls so there is no fooling her!! The basket will teach little kids all about manners by saying please and thank you as well as identifying shapes etc. The voice is a British voice and it seems like a big deal was made of this on the packaging. To be honest I don't really care if it is in an American or British voice, I just like the fact that it talks. In order to do this you will need 3 xAA batteries.
The picnic basket costs £19.99 and is one of our funnest toys to play with!
Both me and my son are big fans of the Leap Frog brand. As a parent I find their toys interactive, educational and worth the price tag. My son loves their toys because they are fun, bright and entertaining so when it comes to special occasions Leap Frog will always feature somewhere!
Our most recent addition to our playroom was this Leap Frog Shapes & Sharing Picnic Basket. My best friend bought it for my sons first birthday after he refused to play with any of her daughters other toys and only this one when we went round there. It often caused disruptin between them as they both wanted to play with it! So when his birthday arrived it was a no-brainer what his gift would be!
The picnic basket itself is purple with a dark purple handle and a pink lid that can open either end. The basket has some very beautiful looking eyes and lips on the front to make a face on the front and also features lots of flowers, details etc. Included with this toy is 14 other pieces to use with the picnic basket itself. You get two plates, two large pronged forks, two stackable cups, and various items of food too which can all be displayed and played with on the accompanying picnic blanket (trademark red and white check).
The idea of this particular toy is multi functional. With the basket itself and the other pieces there is a huge variety of games that can be played. The picnic basket speaks and sings and has over 30 different audio instructions/responses. This is great for me because it's varied enough so that the music and responses don't get so repetative I feel brain dead! It's also nice for my son so he doesn't get bored too quickly hearing the sames things in quick sucession as it does take quite a while to get through all thirty.
The idea is that the talking picnic basket can encourage role playing with the food in the picnic setting. It can also help to build motor skills by encouraging children to match items up and empty and fill the basket with the requested items. It also helps these motor skills develop by encouraging children to stack items and sort them out. Overall it seems like a brilliant way of helping children get used to instructions and another reason I like it is because it encourages manners and I don't think this can be taught too young.
The voice it speaks in british and I know this might sound like a no-brainer comment but you would be suprised how many childrens toys come with American voices which I find very irratating so I am really pleased it's not the case with this one. The voice is clear and precise and easy to recognise so I'm very happy letting my son play with it for long periods as I think it can only aid his verbal development being surrounded by clear voices with good pronunciation.
In order to work the picnic basket does require 3x AA batteries. The first lot are included which is great but as I've realised, all toys require batteries and if you don't have a stash at home your asking for trouble! It's great value for money that the first lot are included though and ours is used a LOT and it's still not fading! The price of this is approximately £20 if bought online. You will usually have to pay a normal postage cost on top of this because in all it's packaging it does weigh over 1kg but you should have your own, at your door for approximately £25 which I think is a great price for something so fun and entertaining and something that has a great potential to educate and aid motor skills.
This toy is designed to be suitable for children from six months up to three years which to me sounds about right. My son first took an interest in it at about ten months old and got his own at 1 year and although he can't understand the audio responses yet he does really enjoy putting things in the basket and getting them out again. He likes to hide things in there and carry them around with him like his own special bag and he's very clever remembering whats in there. Watching him carry his own pink and purple picnic basket around is quite funny and very sweet! In all fairness the only complaint I have about this toy is the colour. I think it's a brilliant toy for both boys and girls and I feel the colour would put a lot of people off purchasing this for a little boy (especially men as my partners reaction was not good when he realised my son had a 'girlie' toy!). I however don't think it matters what type or colour toy they play with at this stage but it would be more usefull as a unisex toy is the colours were say reds and greens etc-something for everyone that way. ALthough I intended to purchase this myself for my son so I know it didn't put me off personally purchasing it for a little boy.
A final great note about this product is something most Leap Frog toys come with-ability to access the online Leap Frog World. This gives you plenty of options to customise the learning insight with this toy and gives great ideas for it's use. This is something Leap Frog provide with all their toys and I really find interesting. Even if you don't use their recommendations it's great for the ideas and well worth a look as access is free when you purchase their toys.
Overall I would fully recommend this toy, especially with Christmas now looming ever closer! It's a good solid toy, and doesn't feel flimsy at all. My son is quite rough with his and it withstands bumps and bashes very well so I don't have any complaints about it's durability either. I'm happy with the price for everything it provides and I also think it's great value for money because as my son grows and he develops his motor skills he will get different uses from this. So it's adaptable for the age range it covers which is great. In fact it gets five stars from me and my son!