“ Brand: Tomy / Age: 18 months / Type: Musical Toy „
If you haven’t seen the TOMY ILLUMI TUNES magic piano, then I will try my best to describe it to you (although this is very hard!) It’s a quirky, colourful plastic toy piano with what looks like 8 white ping pong balls on it instead of keys. Each "ping pong ball" has a different coloured base and a different facial expression on it. The faces are highly amusing and remind me of the type of thing used in chat rooms. (This is where I wish that dooyoo opinions "showed emotions" so I could do all the faces :-) :-o ;-) etc. very childish of me, but I think you get the picture!) Anyway, because each "ping pong ball" has a strange expression on it and a different coloured base, the toy immediately looks very bright, attractive and colourful. Each ball is also labelled underneath with its musical sound - i.e. "Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do". And as well as the balls with faces on, there is also an extra half green, half yellow ball which I will come back to later. The eight main balls light up each time that they are pressed (or go through a sequence) - most balls are red when lit, but the first and last one are green. The Piano has four modes of play:- "Funny" (my favourite!), "Piano", "Game" and "Guide". The mode is selected by a little switch on the bottom. FUNNY The name says it all! This one is brilliant and by far the best mode in my opinion. Instead of playing "real notes" the "keys" make really crazy sounds and flash the coloured lights in strange patterns. I love the quirky sounds including a mad laugh and a springy "boing" sound. This mode is definitely the most fun to play with (It kept me quiet for hours - LOL). The extra yellow/green ball makes a fantastic long quirky sound (can’t describe it accurately sorry - too strange!) and it lights up a different white ball each time it does it! You can use this odd mode to make your own really strange sounding "tune"! PIANO Not a serious one obviously! It’s a bit difficult to play a tune with ping pong balls instead of normal keys, but it’s great fun for kids (including big ones!) to press the faces and watch them light up while you "compose" another (not so tuneful) tune. The Do Rae Mi labels obviously give you a guide, but don’t take it too seriously! GAME This is a very simple game - the faces light up one at a time and you have a few seconds to press the face before another one lights up. If you hit the right one it makes a silly noise and the lights flash, but if you hit the wrong one it makes an error noise. This is great to teach a very young child to follow and react to visual stimuli. It also will aid the development of co-ordination skills. GUIDE This is another little game. This time it guides you by lighting up the balls in a sequence to make a well known tune. The bottom four faces flash lights up and down until you choose one of them it then beeps giving you 3 seconds before it lights up the faces in a sequence - if you follow the sequence you can make a tune. If you can’t follow the lights fast enough you end up with another tuneless noise! It guides you to do "Nick nack, Paddy wack", "London Bridge", "Baa Baa Black Sheep" and "Oh when the Saints go marching in". "Oh when the Saints" and "Baa Baa Black sheep" are the slowest and easiest to follow with "London Bridge" being the fastest and hardest! In this mode the green and yellow extra ball can be pressed to play a tune without following the guide. Stressed out parents will also be very grateful for the volume control button which gives you a range of settings, although I must admit to liking it played at top volume! As you might have gathered from this opinion - buying toys for your child ren (in my case anyway) is an excuse to have a second childhood. I bought it not only for my son, but also because I couldn’t resist it either! I first saw the Tomy Illumi Tunes in Hamley’s, they had a huge display model attached to a standard size toy and anything you did to the little toy, it copied on the huge version with big loud speakers. I was having a whale of a time and my 8-month-old boy was hitting it with gusto and giggling every time the balls lit up and made a silly sound. We had such a great time (and I couldn’t wait to play with it again) that I put it on his "Christmas list". I didn’t buy it from Hamley’s though as it was being sold for nearly £30 when it is £23.75 elsewhere. WHERE TO GET IT I am aware that you can buy it from Argos, Mothercare and Toys r us, although lots of other places will probably have it too. I got mine on line from Toys r us and it arrived within 3 days of placing my order. AGE RANGE The age range recommendation on the box is 18+ months, but my 8-month-old son loves it - although I have to watch him very carefully to ensure that he isn’t too rough with it! It will be a while before he can use all the features and being totally honest it probably would be better for a slightly older child, but having said that with adult supervision younger children will be highly amused by it. Anyway, it’s a brilliant toy, it’s great fun, it’s in bright colours, it promotes musical awareness and the development of co-ordination skills and best of all it will keep you and your child quiet for hours! It comes very highly recommended.
A keypad with 8 different faces instead of keys, Illumi Tunes has four different play options - piano, guide, game and funny. Kids can learn how to play chords and tunes using the octave, or they can play four pre-programmed tunes by following the flashin