“ Brand: Tomy / Age: 6 months „
While I was sorting out the toyboxes recently I came across this Teletubbies toy phone, after pressing the various buttons and having nothing happen I decided it didn't work so popped it on the pile that was heading landfill way. Trying to dispose of toys with an eighteen month old toddler around you is the proverbial exercise in futility - no sooner had I put the phone on the 'bin' pile David picked it up and ran away with it as quickly as his fat little legs would take him. He's not interested in Teletubbies one little bit; the phone was bought for Hollie when she was a baby and I doubt David has even seen the Teletubbies other than being given her hand-me-down toys, I suspect it was the resemblance to my mums phone (brick sized clamshell monstrosity in a middle aged aquamarine case) that drew him to it.
Anyway, it worked after Mark changed the batteries and the toy was given a new lease of life in David's hands. It's a cute, if basic, toy phone - although other than the shape and fact that one of the four buttons makes a 'ring, ring' sound this barely resembles a phone at all. It has been designed so well to fit in with the Teletubbies brand - a sky blue phone with lots of green detailing, the phone antenna (remember those?!) is a cloud and the four buttons are the colours of each of the four Teletubbies. Where the screen would be on a real flip phone is a Perspex covered cut out and inside is a 3D group gathering of Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po, these can be jiggled up and down slightly by moving a small roller underneath. All very low tech but surprisingly charming for it.
This is a fairly quiet toy, the fact that it takes three batteries being a lesson in overkill in my opinion as the sound effects are very quiet indeed - maybe this is why the original batteries lasted through two years of solid play from Hollie, followed by another two years of languishing in the toybox waiting for the day David would claim it. Apart from the 'ring, ring' I mentioned earlier there are a further three sound effects made by the phone; a short snippet of the Teletubbies theme tune, a group 'Eh-Oh' (hello) and the final one being a basic giggle which is patently a Teletubbie inspired sound but of the hundreds of sounds these characters make I would have thought Tomy could have come up with something a little more interesting. When I say this is a quiet toy, I mean the volume is ridiculously low - so low in fact that if David is playing with the phone while the tele is on you can't hear the toy at all. While this might be a good thing from a parents point of view (in these times of mega loud baby toys), it's not so great if your child can't hear the thing above everyday household sounds!
Hollie used to love pressing the large(ish) buttons and hearing the sounds produced, David hasn't been so enamoured by this aspect and seems to enjoy the clicking sound as he opens and closes the phone much more! He's realised which button makes which sound and recently the Teletubbies theme has been played in a loop with the other sounds barely being played at all, I'm thinking he likes this one in particular as he has a couple of the talking Teletubbies which were passed down from his sisters and they both play the theme tune so maybe he recognises it.
More often than not though he simply runs around grasping the phone in his sweaty little hand. It's a very small toy but fairly bulky for a toddlers grip, when new it had a small strip of material attached to the bottom of the phone which I'd use to strap it to Hollie's pushchair or wrist - this has long since disappeared however and although it would be possible to replace it I've never bothered. When closed the phone makes a reasonably heavy missile so if you have a little 'thrower' (as I do in David) you need to watch how they're playing with it - I'm pretty certain it's television-smashing heavy and know from experience that it will leave a bruise if you're hit in the face with a forcefully thrown Tubbie-Phone!
There's not much more to say about this sweet but basic toy really. David loves the small mirror which is located inside the phone, although the quality has gone downhill over the years and it now gives a rather distorted reflection - think those 'amusing' mirrors at the fair which leave you looking either disabled or as fat as an elephant and you'll get the gist of how this mirror works these days. I personally think it's a great looking toy when closed as the plastic front has been moulded and painted with a cheerful Teletubbies image, the paint is chipping off now but in all honesty this has been a problem since the toy was relatively new when the corners and various portions of the Tubbies faces chipped to a certain point but didn't get any worse. Laa-Laa in particular looks like an odd horror movie character with both her nose and mouth chipped to such a degree that her face now looks like a mask!
Overall I think this is a decent toy, the fact that it's lasted for such a long time is very surprising as it never felt like the highest quality toy in the first place. It's looking a bit bashed and bothered now but am still pretty amazed that it's actually working - David is playing with it as I type, he never seems to get tired of studying the front and likes to open and close the phone (if nothing else) regularly throughout the day.
If you like the sound of this sweet little phone then be prepared to do a little searching. Obviously Teletubbies are well past their sell-by date these days so the normal Tomy stockists don't tend to sell the phone anymore - you see them on Ebay here and there going for a couple of quid plus postage, otherwise I'd imagine the best place to look out for one would be a car boot sale where I reckon you'd pick one up for 50p or (at most) £1. I can't say I'd recommend you going on a huge hunt for it as there are decent quality toy phones around featuring more up-to-date characters, but if you spot one at a reasonable price (and have a toddler) then you could do a lot worse. The recommended age range is from six months, which is bizarre as no way would a six month old be able to work this toy - neither would they be able to hold it, and frankly the quietness of the sound effects make it a bit rubbish as a toy for a very young baby.
My baby granddaughter adores the Teletubbies and is equally obsessed with the mobile phones belonging to her mum, dad and big sisters'. With this in mind, I was shopping for a little present for her a month or two ago when I spotted the best of both worlds - a toy mobile phone with a Tubbies theme.
Made by Tomy, I was confident that this was a quality toy and was more than happy to pay the £4.99 price tag when I saw it in Woolworths. It comes complete with 3 x LR44 batteries, which will eventually need replacing I suppose but they are going strong at the moment so I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
The phone is made of a thick durable plastic and is designed to flip open and closed just like a real phone. It flips on a sturdy revolving hinge so is probably less likely to break than her dads phone, which the baby managed to snap in half a week or so back!
The front of the phone is decorated with a 3D image of all four Teletubbies looking very happy and friendly. My granddaughter coo's and giggles in delight every time she picks up this toy because she loves looking at the Tubbies and running her fingers across the raised surfaces. I am a little disappointed by the 3D Tubbies as the paint has started to chip away slightly, which I think is surprising for a toy made by a large company like Tomy. Granted, my granddaughter is at that stage where she throws things around but surely the paint should be more long wearing that that.
Flipping the phone open there are four buttons coloured to represent each Teletubby. Each one is designed in a basic shape which young children will recognise, although not as young as my year old granddaughter, such as a circle, square, triangle and star. Each button makes a different sound when pressed and my granddaughter is just working out which one is which, she particularly likes the red square button which plays a version of the Teletubbies theme tune and she also presses the green circle a lot because this one features all the Teletubbies saying 'eh-oh' in unison and is very sweet and cheerful. The other two buttons make the sounds of a telephone number being dialled and a phone ringing, but my granddaughter is not terribly interested in these two buttons and prefers the ones she can relate to her favourite television programme.
Also inside the phone is a clear plastic panel behind which is a second smaller 3D image of the Tubbies, you can use your finger to twirl a mini roller and this will move these Tubbies up and down in their little window. I think this is a lovely addition to the toy but it is quite frustrating for my little granddaughter because her fat little baby fingers cannot twizzle the roller fast enough to be able to move the Teletubbies as much as she would like. When myself or her sister does it though she chuckles and definitely finds it funny.
There is also a small mirror on the inside of the phone which my granddaughter loves to look at herself in, and the phone even features an 'aerial' designed to look like a little cloud! I like the fact that Tomy have incorporated a wrist strap into the design of the toy because this has strong velcro attached to it and it means that it is unlikely my granddaughter will lose her favourite toy when she is out in her pushchair. The strap is removable so you can give it a good wash because there is nothing worse than a grubby looking part of a toy when the rest of it looks pristine - well, apart from the chipped paint on Tinky Winky's nose!
Overall, my granddaughter loves this Teletubby phone and my daughter only said to me this afternoon that it is the toy she goes to whenever she is upset or bored. She has seen her crying as she picks the toy up, pressing the theme tune button and ending up laughing after a couple of seconds. What other toy can have this instant effect? I would definitely recommend this for the baby in your life, and for the baby in my life it was money well spent.
This new and exciting toy combines the ever-popular Teletubby characters with the familiar play pattern of fun telephone play. With lots of activities for children to discover, this toy will stimulate and educate youngsters for hours.