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I purchased the Plan Toys Wooden Oval Xylophone from Amazon as a Christmas gift for my little boy. Looking back at my records this toy cost £10.95, however browsing through Amazon again I realise that the price has now risen slightly to £11.95. My son had at the time began attending a local baby group which entailed lots of mummy's singing along to popular nursery rhymes, whilst the little ones played with various musical instruments. It was for this reason that I decided to buy a selection of musical instruments as Christmas gifts for my son. Plan Toys are a well known brand, specialising in traditional wooden toys. When I saw this product therefore, knowing and trusting the name, I decided that this was the one I would buy. The Wooden Oval Xylophone is made almost entirely of wood albeit the string which holds the keys together. The base is not quite oval in shape as it has a flat bottom. At either side are two wooden plinths painted in a bright purple. These plinths serve the purpose of disguising the ends of the two lengths of string which run through the middle, holding each brightly coloured key with bead spacers in between. The keys themselves are arranged in a line from the biggest to the smallest and the centre key bears the Plan Toys logo. With the xylophone is a wooden stick, bulging at one end, to hit the keys with. The overall look of this toy is very appealing, however the function does not entirely live up to expectation. When the keys are hit they produce a rather dull sound and need to be hit rather hard to produce anything particularly audible. Wooden xylophones just do not live up to their metal counterparts in terms of sound. My little boy however is fond of anything which makes a noise, as most little boys are. When presented with this toy on Christmas day he tentatively watched us hit the keys with the stick, picked the stick up and began banging away making his own little tune. Rather impressive for a little boy who had at the time just turned one. He has since played with his toy whenever it has been given to him and so far it has fared well in terms of durability. The smooth, possibly lightly varnished finish to the Plan Toys Wooden Oval Xylophone makes it very easy to be cleaned by either wiping it down with a damp cloth or if need be in a bowl of warm soapy water. This toy is suitable for children from 12 months and upwards. Although a fan of wooden toys, I am not entirely taken by this particular product. On one hand it looks attractive, is very sturdy and is enjoyed by my son. On the other hand however it produces very little sound and is not as good in terms of function when compared to some of my son's musical instruments. If I had the choice again, in all honestly I would be likely to buy a metal one instead.
The Plan Toys Oval Xylophone is a great first instrument for all budding musicians! Playing it is an enjoyable way to exercise hand-eye coordination, while reinforcing natural senses of harmony and rhythm.