Product Type: Tomy baby toys
Newest Review: ... old, it is a bit fiddly for him so I have to help him. Inside is 6 white eggs and each egg shell comes off the top half to reveal a ch... more
Chick, chick. Chick, chick. Chicken
Tomy Hide 'n' Squeak Eggs
Member Name: sandemp
Tomy Hide 'n' Squeak Eggs
Advantages: Fun, Cheap, durable, educational
Disadvantages: The catch is too fiddly for little fingers.
It's amazing how some toys endure through the decades while others fall by the wayside. The Tomy Hide ans Squeak Eggs have been around for as long as I can remember, my much older, now grown up children having hours of educational fun playing with their set. If I'm perfectly honest, I'd forgotten all about these eggs until three year old Freddy discovered and fell in love with them during an occupational therapy session. After rediscovering these squeaky eggs and realising how much Freddy enjoyed playing with them (along with just how much potential they have for aiding his development), I decided to take a look on Amazon and buy him his very own set. Rather surprisingly, in an age of high inflation, the price of these eggs has changed very little in the last twenty odd years, coming in at around the £5 mark, which makes them an excellent stocking filler or pocket money toy.
Along with the price, the actual design of this toy really doesn't seem to have changed in the years since my older children owned it. Within a simple cardboard sleeve (kudos to Tomy for no excess packaging or silly plastic ties), you are presented with a bright yellow, plastic egg box which opens to reveal six eggs. Each of the eggs has a lid which is decorated with a different silly/funny face and lifts off to reveal a coloured chick which squeaks when pressed. The bottom of each egg features a different shape and these then fit into the corresponding slot in the base of the egg box. The entire set is made of tough, durable plastic that is easy to wipe clean but also means that they can cause damage or injury if thrown.
Although this box of eggs has a recommended minimum age of 12 months, Freddy was a couple of months over three with a developmental age of about two when he received them, which I would suggest is the perfect level to make the most of them. While younger children may enjoy playing with the eggs, they will also probably find several aspects somewhat frustrating. For Freddy the most frustrating part of this toy is how difficult it is to open the box itself. While the clasp does hold the box securely closed even when shaken or dropped, it is very difficult for little hands to manipulate as it take quite a high degree of hand-eye coordination/dexterity. It certainly takes a greater level of skill than I've known any year old baby to possess and the fact that I need to open the box for Freddy so many times a day does mean that I will be deducting a star for the frustration factor.
While Freddy will play with these eggs on his own (after the box has been opened of course) and enjoys lifting the top half of the shells off to reveal the squeaky chicks, it is when we play together that he has the most fun and uses them to their fullest potential. These eggs really do provide a myriad of opportunities to help your child's development while having fun, there really is no wonder that Freddy's occupational therapist uses them.
The first way that we play with these is to look at the funny faces on the removable top shells. One of Freddy's difficulties is social interaction and he has problems interpreting emotions and facial expressions. While there are more "happy" faces than any other we do talk about the different faces and I ask Freddy to help me find the "sleepy", "smiley" and what we've decided is the "sneezy" face along with "happy". To begin with he struggled with this concept, but with practise he has improved and has even started to use the word happy in an appropriate manner.
These eggs are also great for practising naming and matching colours, especially as they include some less conventional colours. Freddy really enjoys matching the colour of the funny face to the colour of the chick and if I mess them up before handing them to him then the first thing he will do is match them back up. When we play together I will often ask him if he can find a particular colour chick and then if he gets it right we'll make the chick cheep by pressing on it. The chicks are easy to press down to cheep and unlike many toys the sound is at just the right level. It's not so loud as to drown everything out and be annoying but still loud enough to be heard by the child doing the pressing. While Freddy has mastered the primary colours (red/yellow/blue) he is just learning other colours and these eggs have proved a fun way for him to start to learn pink, green, orange and purple.
The shapes at the bottom of each egg are great for matching, naming, improving fine motor skills and problem solving. Freddy is getting pretty good at naming his shapes and the fact that most of the shapes are of a common variety (square, circle, triangle, heart, star) has helped reinforce this. The only shape he didn't already know was the cross, but he proudly names the other shapes when asked. We also work together at looking at the shapes in the box and then matching shapes ready to put the eggs back. I like how the different shapes means that some of the eggs are very easy to replace (circle) but then they get steadily harder, meaning that Freddy has to think about what he is doing and work out that he may need to turn them. To begin with he did get very frustrated by some of the shapes, especially the heart that has to be placed just so, but this was tempered by how easily he could place others and with some practise he is now proficient at replacing all the eggs and proud of his new found ability. If Freddy was a child with anything more than a very rudimentary imagination, then I would imagine that he would also use the eggs with his kitchen as his brothers and sisters did with theirs, but he hasn't yet worked out that he could do this.
Although we have only had this set of eggs a relatively short time they do appear to be just as durable as those my older children owned many moons ago. That particular set of eggs survived play by four children over a period of approximately six years with very little damage. Yes the printing on the egg shells and chicks did fade and scratch over time and the hinge on the back of the box eventually snapped, but otherwise they were still fit to be passed on to a family member. With any luck this set will be in good enough condition to pass on to a sibling in a couple of years (especial as there are no stickers for Freddy to pull off and eat).
Although I do not agree with the recommended minimum age for these eggs and feel the catch is just too tricky for the target audience, I can't help but recommend this simple, classic, fun, educational and yet inexpensive toy for children between the ages of approximately eighteen months to three years (and longer depending on the child's developmental age and ability). At around the £5 mark it represents excellent value for money and would be an excellent stocking filler or off-the-cuff gift, this would also be a fantastic alternative to chocolate at Easter.
Summary: Cheap, classic, fun yet eductional toy