My son received the leap frog peek a shoe talking octopus as a Christmas present. I have to admit that when I first seen it I didn't hold out much hope of it being any good. It looked as though it would be quite boring to play with and wouldn't interest my son whatsoever.
Size wise the octopus doesn't take up to much room which for me is always a bonus because our house is choc full of toys already. Product Dimensions are
15.50 x 10.55 x 8.75 inches. Another bonus is that it comes already built there are no parts that you need to put together. I order to play with the toy all you need to do is add three AA batteries that do not come included.
It also only weighs 3.80lbs so it isn't difficult to move about and is even light enough for your child to pick it up. The age range is also good. It is recommended for nine to thirty six month old children. So in theory should be money well spent on a toy that will be played with for a couple of years depending on what age your child is when you have bought it.
The toy is basically a purple octopus that has brightly coloured shoes, a white hat and five balls. There are five shoes are all differently coloured and each have a ball that matches that colour. Each shoe is numbered from one to five and each ball has a picture of a sea creature on it. A crab, turtle, jellyfish, sea horse and a fish.
Just above the coloured shoes is the octopus face with two big eyes, a bump for a nose and a smiling mouth. At each side of the head is an are. One arm has the number six on it and is for balancing balls on and the other arm, number seven has a hole to drop the balls into. The hat on top of the octopus head also has a hole for dropping balls into.
There is also a blue belt around the octopus with a button in the middle. On the belt there is also two switches. One on the right is to switch the octopus on and off and also has two volume settings. The switch on the left switches between different songs representing either numbers or colours.
By pressing the button in the middle of the belt the octopus will sing a song relating to colours or numbers. The songs aren't brilliant but it also has to be said they aren't annoying like some toys.
The object of the toy is to drop the balls down either hole and then let your child find which shoe the ball is hiding under. As you lift each shoe the octopus will either say the relevant number or colour depending on what setting you have it on. The balls don't drop to the same shoe every time making it more fun for your child to find them.
As I said at first I didn't think my son would like this toy but I was surprised when he first started playing with it. At Christmas he was seventeen months old and he just found it hilarious dropping the balls in the holes at first and wasn't interested in anything else. Then I shown him how to lift the shoes to find the balls. He was actually enjoying playing with it. He usually favours toys that have more moving parts but this was holding his interest for now.
The best thing about this toy is that it does have educational value to small children. By using music, sounds and visually to teach about sea animals, counting and colours.
The octopus peek a shoe can be found on amazon.co.uk for £18.74. Not exactly expensive but I'm sure better toys could be found for around the same price. My sons interest in the toy didn't really last long and although I find it to be an attractive colourful toy I don't really think it has the potential to be any child's favourite. I also can't see how it would interest a child up to the age of three.
I also should factor in the amount of toys that we already have in the house so it is difficult to keep him interested in just the one toy. There are quite a few that have gone by the wayside but he goes back to them every now and again.
In conclusion, before buying I would think about how much you think your child will play with it. Will you get value for money. If you're happy to have your child just play with it now and again then buy it.
On the leapfrog website the toy is rated as three out of five stars which I think is a fair reflection. It is simply an average toy.
I bought this last Christmas when my son was 9 months old, as the product says it is for 9 months upwards. You put the 5 coloured balls in the top of the Octopus and they fall down in to one of the 5 coloured shoes below. You have to guess which one the ball has gone in to. It has a number or colour mode and has a button for playing a few different tunes. Although this says 9 months my son really did not grasp the concept of putting balls in the top and lifting the different shoes up to find them. He used to just put the balls in them get confused as they didn't re-appear. In the end we just removed the shoes so he could play with it. We moved house and I put it away for a few months and recently got it back out, and now he loves it and has great fun peeking under all of the shoes and bopping along to the music. Other friends with similar ages babies did not understand how this worked either so although it is a great toy now I would say it is far more suited to 12+ months.
I think this toy is brilliant! I seem to get quite attached to those toys that Baby obviously enjoys, more so when they help her progress and do new things. The Peek-a-shoe Octopus is aimed at children aged 9-36 months, and is not without its problems, but at 10 months (corrected age) our baby is deriving enormous pleasure from this and I anticipate many more months of this since there is still scope for her to improve, adapt and experiment with this toy.
Made by Leapfrog and making the boast that it features 'British voices', this octopus verifies its British credentials by playing an instrumental 'London Bridge is falling down'. Other musical highlights are the 1-8 song and one which refers to each of the sea creatures depicted on the shoes of the octopus. These songs and tunes are heard when you press the musical note button on the Octopus, something that will invite you to do: "Would you like to hear a song? Then press my music button!" Since the music has a nice tone and is not tinny or irritating we are always pressing this button and it generally produces a beam from Baby. Be warned though, the songs are catchy, and you may find yourself humming when the toy is not in use and emitting a theatrical "Jolleeeeee Jelllllleeeeee Fiiiiiiisssshhh!" when entertaining Baby alone in the house. Or absentmindedly in the park.
As well as encouraging musical appreciation, the Octopus is keen to teach both colours and numbers. Her shoes are different colours and numbered 1-5. The more pedantic amongst you are probably wondering about this since, as we all know, Octopi are cephalopod molluscs with four pairs of arms. Rest assured, the other three are accounted for: one is held in the air and forms a receptacle in which to place the balls that are a key part of the Peek-a-shoe game, one forms a tunnel into which the balls should be dropped, the other is at the back. When the ball goes down the tunnels into one of the shoes the Octopus asks, "Where is it hiding? Where did it go?" with the intention that the child should lift the shoe they think the ball is under. They are then told, for example, "Not under the blue shoe", or "Well done, you found it under the yellow shoe".
So far, our 10 month old has actively rolled toward the Octopus intrigued by her colour, shape and the music. The five balls that accompany the Octopus are light enough for her to pick up, and too big for her to swallow. She has enjoyed picking up the balls, bashing them together and chewing them. Then she got the idea of the tunnels. Her manual dexterity and hand-eye co-ordination have been developed by this and now she can accurately get the balls down the tunnels. Her sitting has been helped as she likes putting the balls in and it is easiest to do from a sitting position. She has been lunging to tap the feet and hear the octopus say the colour. As yet, I am not sure she fully understands what happens to the balls. She has tried to peer into the octopus to see where they go, and to retrieve them the current favoured method is either to let Mum do it or to pick up the whole Octopus.
Based on the above it seems to me that there is scope for her skills to be developed and the way she will play with this toy will evolve. It will become a proper guessing game later on as to which shoe the ball is under.
Downsides are that the octopus does need to be on a flat surface otherwise the shoes move as a result of any minor vibration and so you don't get a link forming between action and consequence ie If I tweak the shoe the toy says a colour, it is just a toy that repeatedly says colours for no reason. If you put two balls down before looking for one under the shoes it seems to say the wrong thing, or nothing at all. As yet, these downsides haven't caused any reduction in enjoyment for Baby so I am content to rate it very highly.
It would be even more brilliant if it sang Octopuses Garden by the Beatles.
December Update: Baby CrazyEgg now enjoys experimenting by putting other things such as Megabloks in the octopus. These are fiddly to get out, but it can be done.
When it comes to purchasing toys for big occasions I leave it up to my son to choose his birthday and christmas presents and I just get the little stocking fillers.
My husband has always preferred to purchase the Leapfrog toys as they tend to use British voices which we thought it would be better when our son begins to learn 1-2-3 and A-B-C.
After browsing the internet to see what my son would prefer for his First birthday my husband came across this toy and thought it would be ideal for him to use as it teaches colours, sea animals and numbers.
The toy itself does take some assembling so the night before our son's birthday we took it out of the packaging, as let's face it we all know how ridiculous the packaging is when it comes to children's toys and we wanted to capture him playing as soon as he unwrapped it.
The shoes simply needed to be clipped onto the purple body of the octopus and batteries also need to be purchased before hand as they are not provided in this toy. So stock up on AA batteries as this toy will need 2.
The fairly large purple octopus has a centre hole which is hidden in his hat, simply drop one of the 5 colourful balls down his hat and dependent on which mode you have selected it will ask your child to state which shoe the ball is hidden under. The main purpose of the toy is for your child to lift the shoes of the octopus until they locate the coloured ball.
It will state "not under the xxxx shoe" or if baby finds the ball it will state " Peek a boo you found the ball under the xxxx shoe"
On the blue collar of the octopus there is the power on button and slide it to the right one more time and it will move it to the loudest volume. To the right hand side of the toy you can choose which play mode you would prefer, counting or colour recognition.
By pressing the centre of the collar where there is a music note you can play 2 lyrical or 4 instrumental songs along with your chosen game mode.
The age range for this toy is 9 months to 36 months but in all honesty our son doesn't really concentrate on playing this even at 12 months so I certainly think from 9 months would be asking a bit too much. When our son first had this toy he just kept turning it upside down rather than playing with it as it is designed.
In terms of ease of use I am 30 years of age and I cannot get this to work properly, it states it has to be on a flat surface and we place it on our sons bedroom floor and it still plays up and he is not at the age where we can place it on a table as he will just swipe it off!!
The toy will not always state the same colour of that you pick up to locate the ball so this could cause some confusion when teaching your child the colours and numbers as they learn to recognise them.
The toy itself is pretty well made and even if the shoes are a little flimsy when hooked onto the octopus they do life up quite securely.
The toy cost us £17.99 and it was reduced down from £24.99. This is a reasonable price for a toy of this size but I am slightly disappointed in how inaccurate it can be.
I like the fact that his has british voices and that it is bright and colourful and with a bit of tuning up from the manufacturer this could be a really good toy.