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We have owned this toy for a good few months now, having purchased it on a whim really. I was browsing the Argos website to see if there were any good deals on toys that would suit my son having grown bored of his collection (he had outgrown quite a few of them too). I didn't really have a specific sort of toy in mind I just knew I wanted something for 18 months plus (the next milestone age he would reach) and something that perhaps he would 'grow in to'. This Pop to the Rescue toy by Tomy caught my eye as it was £7.99 with free delivery online - a sizeable discount on the RRP of £14.99 (it is currently retailing at this in Tesco and on Amazon).
The toy is effectively a garage that houses three cars, each has a separate section. On top of each section, there is a hole that houses one of the three balls. With the set comes a plastic hammer that can be used to hit the balls through the holes and in to the cars below, shooting them forward. This sets off a siren (each section has it's own) and a flashing red light on the front of the unit.
The balls in the set are weighted so quite heavy - this is so that their weight in the car propels it forward. Each ball had a friendly face painted on and a coloured 'hat' - red, blue and green. These correspond to the colour on the roof of the three parts of the garage, and the colour of the three cars. Therefore the child can match the red ball to the red garage and the red car. On the back of each car there is a white tab that needs to be pushed in when the car is placed in the garage. When the ball falls into the car, this pops out to give the car extra 'umph' in rolling forwards. In actual fact, this won't happen without this part (my son has tried many times with the car in the wrong way round)
We first let my son play with this at around 16 months of age. At this time he didn't really understand how to use the hammer, so he would just push the ball through with his hand. He managed this quite easily as there is not much resistance to this action. He loved the motion of the cars shooting forward and the noise of the sirens. Now, at 20 months he can use the hammer and loves to hit the balls through the holes using this. He is also learning his colours well and loves to match all the parts up in their colours. He does get frustrated with the cars as he is yet to learn that the tab at the back needs to be pushed in so that the cars sit neatly in their garage (and, actually this is quite stiff so, even if he realised I am not sure he would manage this). He also knocks the garage quite hard when he hits a ball with the hammer and this can knock the cars from the garage, again causing him frustration.
The toy has generally worn well. Some of the faces painted on to the balls have scratched off partially and the flap at the bottom of the garage which is used as a ramp for the cars to shoot down does come off from time to time. My main issue with the toy is how heavy the balls are. I understand why they are made that way to allow the cars to move forward but, with a toddler who loves balls (and throwing them) this is not ideal. It is hard to tell a toddler not to throw these when they are usually encouraged to throw and kick balls. It is a nice toy though and it has had plenty of use in our house. Very pleased with my bargain purchase.
I came across this Tomy Pop to the rescue toy when I was looking for presents for my twin girl's second birthday on the Tesco website. It was during one of their clubcard voucher exchanges and so I thought it was a great opportunity to pick up some toys for free. One of my girls really likes cars and although I had slight reservations about buying them a toy which included a hammer I decided to go for it!
Pop and Go
This pop to the rescue toy is essentially a garage which is home to 3 emergency service cars. The toy is a decent size approximately 22cm tall and 35cm wide and is split into 3 garages. The cars need a small piece of plastic on the back of each car to be pushed in each time the car goes into the garage to load the spring. This is quite fiddly to do and although this toy is suitable from 18 months my girls were 2 when they received this and I've never seen them manage to get a car back in the garage. This means they require me to set it up to them each time which isn't ideal and therefore can't play with it on their own.
Their play involves the hammer hitting the 3 balls through their holes and into the cars, as the ball falls into the car it releases the spring and shoots it out of the garage and across the floor. The 3 balls have faces painted on them and are designed to be the 3 emergency services, red for fire, blue for police and green for ambulance. As the ball falls through the hole it also sets off a siren for that emergency service and a red star flashes above the red garage. It may just be the one we've got but the noises seem to be cross wired with the police noise going off when the ambulance ball is hit.
In terms of hitting the ball through the hole my girls manage this no problem and my concerns about them hitting each other with the hammer have been limited to the odd occasion luckily. Despite the toy being bashed continually with the hammer it still looks new with no damage at all which I've been impressed by.
My little one who likes cars has been the most taken with this toy as expected but spends just as much time throwing the balls out of our lounge onto the laminate in the hallway where they make lots of noise and roll all over the place. She quickly bores of playing with the garage itself. I think my other daughter wouldn't be bothered if I took this toy away and she never saw it again!
The garage requires 3 AA batteries for the sirens and light.
Price and availability
This toy is currently (November 2012) £14.97 in Tesco and £15.22 on Amazon, I think this is quite a lot for what you get. I wouldn't have paid this price if I hadn't been paying in vouchers.
Would I recommend?
No, I would shop around to see if there is a better toy garage available for your little one.
I would like to write a review on Tomy Pop to the rescue because it has proved a success with our 22 month-old son at Christmas and he's not stopped playing with it since (well, apart from when he's asleep).
It comes in a bright yellow cardboard box which contains a little garage. The aim is to place the 3 cars (a green one, a red one and a blue one) into their space, which are colour-coded and place the 3 colour-coded people's heads on their respective garage roof.
Then you can show your little one how to play: just whack the little characters with the plastic hammer provided. The heads will fall into their respective cars and drive off.
Although it is battery powered (for sounds), I must admit we have not used batteries yet and our son is just happy whacking the characters and chasing them to put them back into the garage again and so on. No doubt he'll enjoy it even more when we use batteries.
It may not be everyone's cup of tea but our son loves it. And the clever boy (aren't we proud!) puts the heads back on the correct roofs according to their colours. So this is a good toy for learning to match colours.
The characters are very cute and made of sturdy plastic, which is just as well as they'll get knocked on the head many times!
I bought this from Home Bargains and it cost only £7.99.
I also saw it during the 3 for 2 sale in Boots where it cost £12 if I remember well.
I'd recommend it to boys (I don't have girls so I can't say whether they'd like it but they probably would) who like cars and hammers!
Tomy Pop to the Rescue is a rather cute and fun toy. It works very simply but has my daughters really amused and entertained for hours.
When you open the box you find a fire/police/ambulance station although this is not really obvious. There are three sorts of garages each housing a different coloured car - the green represents an ambulance, the blue a police car and the red a fire engine. These are really only symbolic though as they don't look anything like the real thing. The cars need to be really well set back in their garages though so that they don't come out before you want them too. There is a slight ramp that goes down at the back of the garage and as long as the back wheels are on this the car won't go forwards. There is a little spring loaded pusher at the back of the car that needs to be well pushed in for this to work, and I have to admit that this simple little mechanism had both me and my husband stumped for quite a few minutes on Christmas day!!
Eventually though we did work it out and our children were almost ready to play with the toy. The way it works is that you have three round balls which you place on holes above the cars - these are meant to represent the emergency servicemen. You then decide which sort of emergency is happening and therefore which car you have to send on its mission. Your child then takes a bright yellow hammer and firmly whacks the appropriate driver on the head! He then jumps down into his car which then goes shooting out of the station and travels a fair way across your carpet, and it works even better on a hard floor! Once the car has been set off, you hear a siren and cleverly this is different for each service. I have to say that they do sound quite realistic.
Children will delight in just whacking the drivers and seeing their cars rush out of the station, but, the more imaginative ones will also use it to make up all sorts of stories. Both my girls like Fireman Sam so we have pretended that he was in our story! I guess some people might think that it encourages violence, whacking little people on the head, but I feel it is just harmless fun!
The toy is recommended for children from about the age of 18 months but I feel that the most suitable age is probably over three! The younger children will be amused by the cars coming out and the sirens blaring, but the actual mechanism to make sure that the cars are securely in place is quite fiddly and even my three and a half year old has trouble with this. You also need a certain amount of strength to hit the heads hard enough to drop through - something my twenty two month old has difficulty with. So for both these reasons, young children will need an older child or adult to play with them.
Having said this, there is a lot of fun to be had with this toy and at the moment it seems to be quite hard wearing and durable. It does seem to stimulate my children's imaginations and also helps to develop their manual dexterity. It will also help them to recognise colours and they will associate these with the different services.
As with any toy that has a few bits you need to take care to keep everything together. There is a flap that lifts up at the front to keep the cars in, but the heads have to sit on top and there is no place for the hammer. We have unfortunately already lost one of the heads although I am sure it will turn up soon!
You can find more details about this by visiting the tomy website at
where it says that it's RRP is £18.99. I actually bought it through boots.com and took advantage of their pre Christmas three for two offer! The only other thing to say is that it requires two AA batteries, something we didn't realise at first so ours was a rather quiet emergency station!
Action-packed combination of hammer and ball play and push along vehicles. Bash the balls through the hole to send them into their vehicles and shooting out of the station. Station light flashes and each character has its own, unique siren noise as it is bashed through. Encourages manual dexterity and colour recognition as children try to match the right character to the right garage. Features hammer, 3 character balls, 3 vehicles and carry handle for portability. From 18 months.