* Prices may differ from that shown
Trying to find a toy for children less than 12 months old seems to be difficult and so when we came across this train we decided to purchase it for my oldest son and we have been rather happy with this toy for the last few years. The toy With this set you get a fair sized train that is made out of durable plastic and has multi coloured panels on it making it bight and eye catching for little one. You also receive three balls each in a different colour to be used with the train these are a good size for little hands to hold yet and not too small so that they could be placed in the mouth easily. The train has a number of different modes and wheels that move along freely if being pushed or in their motorised mode meaning little one can still play even if the toy is switched off. The wheels do not do to well on carpet they do move but at a much slower pace and this toy is best used on wooden flooring in my opinion. In play There are different ways to play with this toy which makes it great at keeping a child interested in playing with it without it becoming too repetitive. This means it is fantastic for children who are sitting unaided to play with but then can also be used to encourage them to crawl and when they are actually crawling again it turns into a fun toy for them. There are two switches one either side of the bottom of the train if you have mode one pushed forward then when the train is switched on the balls will move around the train, down the funnel and back out of an opening in the top and then fall back into the funnel again. Little one then has to use their fine motor skills to try and catch the balls as they pass around the train and can be rather entertaining. Also in this mode the train will turn around in circles meaning it stays in one area and is perfect for children who are not yet moving around independently and cannot chase after the train. If you have the second switch forward the train moves forward and rather than running a full cycle in the train the balls pop out a small opening in the back of it and little one has to pick them all up and put them back in the train. This is perfect for crawling children or encouraging children to crawl as they want to chase the balls and then chase after the train to put the balls back in. To get the train to start and stop there is a large button on the top of the train which is extremely easy to press and little one can do it independently almost immediately meaning they are in control of the train and my children loved this. As the train moves along it plays tunes and makes a train noise every now and again this is another encouragement to keep little one interested in the train and keeping it fun and interesting. It does start playing the song by itself to try and attract little one back if it has been left idle for a while and this is great for reminding mummy that it needs turned off if my children have finished playing with it. There is an on off button at the bottom of the train so it can be switched on and off although there is no volume control but this is not an overly loud toy that would drive you mad anyway so this is not too much of a problem to be honest. My children all preferred the option where the train moves around in a circle and they also love that the balls continue to move around the train over and over in an ever ending loop. As the balls move rather quickly little one has great fun trying to catch all three balls and it always makes them giggle when they miss the ball and it falls back down the funnel. They did enjoy the second mode at first having to crawl around and collect the balls as they pass though the back of the train but this did become rather boring quickly for them and as this means they have to keep setting the train back up again they would prefer it to be a continuous loop. When you hit the button on the top of the train it stays in motion for around 60 seconds meaning it is quick bursts of fun but if they do become bored and moves away from the toy it does not continue too long on its own. Although the train is fairly simple to use once switched on and in mode it was not until my children were around two years old they were able to set the mode they wanted themselves so it does require an adult to put it on the preferred mode for little one as the switch is rather stiff. Negatives This toy requires 3 C batteries to work which is rather a lot for such a small toy in my opinion and they are not provided. They last a good few months but compared to other toys we have owned still run down rather quickly especially when it gets a fair amount of use. Also the train finds it difficult to move freely on carpet we never noticed this until we moved house as the whole of downstairs was wooden flooring but now that we have carpets we have found it is very slow moving and has to work a lot harder my children tend to take it to the kitchen to use as it moves along nicely on harder flooring. Summary This toy is recommended from 9 months plus which I think is fairly correct as soon as a child can sit unaided they can begin to use it. The balls are not too small so that little one could put them in their moth and the train and balls are both the perfect size for little hands. It encourages them to use their fine motor skills trying to catch the ball and then also encourages them to begin crawling when they get a little older. I found all three of my children loved this toy and began using it from around 9 months up to two years with regular play they never seemed to become bored of it. They did play with it above this age but very rarely indeed so I think the novelty finally wore off. It is very durable I purchased this from Woolworths when they were closing down and selling all the toys off cheap for my eldest son and we have continued to use it for all three of my children over around 4 years so very long lasting. It retails at around £15 and looking around online I seem a lot of shops do not sell this anymore although I have seen it available in Tesco and it is also available on Amazon. I would recommend this toy it is durable, entertaining and great fun for younger children.