This is a review of LeapFrog Cook & Play Potsy which we received this Christmas as a gift for our two year old. She quickly got the hang of playing with Potsy and as it is suitable for 12 months onwards I actually think it's not challenging enough for her as a toy.
The toy is a plastic cooking pot with a removable lid and spoon. There are five play food items like cheese and tomato although we seem to be missing our peas now so hopefully they will turn up soon! The pot has two modes you can switch it to. One is about cooking and the other is counting and colours. You can set it at two different volumes too although level one is loud enough for my liking!
The pot knows when you are putting items in and taking them out and sings to you as you do so. It tells you when the food is ready with a tick-tock and cheery exclamation (after quite a delay!). "Let's cook something saucy" is probably my favourite saying, accompanied by a cheerful bubbling noise. Putting the lid on creates a symbol noise, and a ditty about vitamin A teaches you to 'eat tomatoes every day'.
My daughter played a bit with this when she first got it but seems to ignore it now although it is out with her toys, she never seems to pick it other than to use the food for her picnic set (another toy). I just don't think it does enough to keep her attention so it's a bit basic for her.
The pot voice is definitely a bit camp, and far too cheerful. But I guess it appeals to children and keeps them entertained whilst they play cook. The counting mode is helpful towards learning numbers but I think I prefer it in the food mode!
At ASDA, the toy is in their 2 for £20 deal or can be bought individually for £12.
This toy is yet another plastic item that has invaded our living room yet doesn't keep her busy for any amount of time. She doesn't even want to play with it if we try to initiate play so I can't really recommend it. This pot really reminds me of the cookie jar toy we had for her that acts as a shape sorter too. She enjoyed it at first but soon lost interest with that one too. Whilst this is not an expensive toy I would expect a bit more play for £10 spent. We'll probably pack it away soon and get it back out for baby sis when she gets to 12 months and see if it's any more of a hit with her.
This is so much fun - and but can be annoying for the parents!
Despite this toy being aimed at 12-36 month olds, we were given it as a gift for my daughters first birthday and she loves it. They can currently be bought on Amazon for about £12-15.
Initially we were concerned as to why a baby needed to be older to play with it, but the peices are all baulky and made of sturdy plastic, so there was no choking risk. When she started chewing on the peices (as she inevitably would), there were no issues. No paint coming off or chips coming away, the peices remained fully intact.
The pieces themselves are as bright as the blue pot - Sweetcorn (yellow), Tomato (red), Peas (green), brocolli (also green), cheese (orange) and a large spoon. The 'pot' likes to sing as ingrediants are added, and plays a game where it asks for colours and/or certain items. It also says 'open' and 'closed' when putting it's lid on. Playing with this has really improved my daughters dexterity and we also used it as a fun way to introduce her to the concept of 'tidying up'. She is not allowed tea until all the items were in the pot ready to be cooked! After all - you can't have dinner raw! She also likes getting one of the peices of food in the spoon and offerring it around, which is lovely to see!
Be warned though - it does have a delay time on it when 'cooking' the food, so don't do what we did, and take your daughter to be bed, come down to watch a horror film, only for a voice to suddenly sing 'It's ready' from the corner of the room in the middle of it. Made us both jump!
We purchased the LeapFrog Cook and Play Potsy a few weeks ago for my son, who was growing bored of the collection of toys he had. We decided to buy this as, not only was it different to anything he already owned, it was quite an interactive toy - something that he enjoys greatly and gets a lot of pleasure from. It cost £14 from Tesco Direct and is also available at various online stores for around this price (from £14 - £20). It is for children from 12 months to 3 years.
The toy is essentially a plastic toy cooking pot, complete with spoon and plastic playfoods - corn on the cob, peas, tomato, broccoli and cheese. The spoon is a silver-grey plastic and had a pair of eyes and smile on the handle. The pot itself is a transparent blue colour - so you can see the food within it. It too has a smiley face on the side. It also has a solid orange plastic lid that twists in place on top of the pot. The plastic food bits are brightly coloured, chunky and hollow - so very lightweight. They are also slightly textured so feel interesting to little hands.
On the front of the pot there is a flick switch and a dial. These are used to switch the toy on and select the volume level and also select the play mode - songs or counting. The pot plays various songs and responds to actions like stirring and placing the lid on and off.
My son is 14 months old so at the lower end of the suggested age range for this toy. He loves the fact that he can pull the lid off and place it back on again. He is also particularly impressed that the pot responds to him doing this with the words 'on' and 'off' or 'open' and 'closed', giggling as the pot says this in various silly voices. He also enjoys playing with the plastic food items - placing them in the pot and removing them as well as holding them in his hands - they are a good size for him to fit them in his palm and grip them. He loves to explore the textures of these with his fingers too - particularly the corn on the cob which has a very grooved appearance. These also fit neatly in his mouth although do not appear to provide him with the teething aid he is looking for - too chunky and smooth to get to those hard to reach back teeth.
At 14 months, he has little interest yet in using this toy for 'cooking' although he does like to use the spoon to 'stir' various things in the pot (this is not confined to the accompanying food items - he likes to add shapes from shape sorters, blocks, little people...). He seems to enjoy that his actions cause a noisy reaction from the pot and will often dance to the songs as they play. As he gets older, I hope that this will be a great toy for imaginative play and he can cook along with mummy.
I really like this toy and it seems to offer the perfect balance of fun and educational benefit for me. I like the fact that the pot talks clearly (it also has a British voice) and enthusiastically as it really engages the child. The pot counts the pieces that you put in them - so teaches counting from 1 to 5. It also talks about the colours of the foods too so helps children to learn these.
For older children it also encourages them to use the pot for imaginative play - suggesting 'lets make a stew' and also talking about the food so they can learn what these are called too. Some things that it talks about, for example 'vitamins' and 'nutrients' are a little advanced for the age range that this is aimed at but I can appreciate that this is trying to encourage healthy eating in children.
This toy has also helped my son develop physically - with plenty of things to practice his grip on. He holds the food items in his palm and grips the spoon and lid between his thumb and fingers so is practicing different grips too. The songs are stimulating to him and encourage him to enjoy, and move to, music.
The pot also teaches children basic opposites such as on and off & open and closed. I think this will help my son to develop his speech and understanding of words as they are said following his actions.
For all the development and learning benefits, this is also fun too and can be played with together - encouraging discussion for older children about what they are cooking. Younger children can place things in the pot and take them out again (my son loves to put things in and take things out of containers at the moment) and open and shut the lid. The friendly, smiling faces on the pot and spoon appeal to children too.
Overall, I think this is a wonderful toy which is well thought out and engages the child in many ways. For all the learning benefits, I am very pleased with our purchase. I do think that the price of this is a little expensive on the face of it as it seems so basic with just a few pieces but with all the things it teaches my son, I would say that it will be worth it. I also think that it has quite good longevity and my son will play with this for at least one, possibly two, years as he will get different things from it as he grows and develops. I would definitely recommend it.
Another one of the mountain of toys my daughter received for Christmas was the Cook & Play Potsy from Leapfrog. My mum brought this for her as she had a tea set and always loved stirring in the cups so she thought this would capture her imagination even more.
* The pot *
This cooking pot includes a spoon and 5 pieces of vegetables. The vegetables are a tomato, cheese, peas, corn and broccoli, and they actually resemble the foods they are supposed to be, unlike some other food based toys. It is made from thick, durable plastic, and operated from 3xAA batteries. The pot includes motion sensors inside and also on the rim. This means when the lid is placed on or off it will let you know. Stirring the pieces inside the pot starts different jingles, phrases and songs.
'Potsy' has a fun cartoon like face making him (I've called it a him as the songs and phrases are from a male voice) very engaging to young children, the spoon also has the same cartoon face on the handle. The main pot is made from a see-through blue plastic so it is easy to see what is cooking in the pot with the yellow lid on.
* Modes *
There is a knob to change between the two different modes available, these are learning and fun play. I have found it hard to find the differences between the modes as they are both very similar. Both modes play the same jingles as the pieces are stirred in the pot. After Potsy has been idle for a while he will comment 'it's ready!' in regards to the food.
The learning mode isn't as educational as I first thought it would be. It has one main song which goes along the lines of 'every food has a special colour, when I munch my food I'm munching colours too, red tomato, green broccoli, cooking up my beautiful colourful foods'. It would help young children learn if it wasn't sung so fast, it's hard to understand the words but I've listened to it so many times it has now imprinted on my brain! A couple of the phrases include 'spice it up, I like it spicy' and 'counting food always makes me hungry', not at all educational, but fun all the same.
The fun mode doesn't sound much different to the learning mode, a couple of the phrases said when the food is stirred are 'counting food always makes me hungry' and 'healthy foods are my favourite'. The song played goes along the lines of 'I like it healthy, like it green, I'm a broccoli machine'. As well as being fun mode it also introduces children to healthy foods which is never a bad thing.
* Price, availability and suitability *
Leapfrog's Cook & Play Potsy is currently available for around the £20 mark from various places such as Mothercare and Boots. It's suitable for children between 12 and 36 months.
* What do we think? *
As I said previously, Kacie enjoyed stirring her tea set before she received this toy and now she constantly loves to stir this. At this moment in time she currently knows what each piece of food is, if I ask her to pass me the cheese she will do it, and the same with the other pieces. We are now learning the colours of each food, she knows red and green so we are getting there! As far as the actual toy being educational, I don't think it's as educational as it makes out, the songs don't teach children anything.
I think Potsy is great for developing a child's imagination and is a great accompaniment to other kitchen role play toys. At £20 it is quite a steep price, but I think it's worth it!