* Prices may differ from that shown
Fisher-Price are aiming this at babies aged six months and over and it is retailing between £33 and £47, so look out for sales! We paid £25 when buying it for a Christmas present for our baby who was then 7 months/ 4months. We bought it because it looked and sounded fun from the description on the Fisher-Price website:
"Let's get ready to tumble! It's a whole amusement park of action-packed fun, ready to keep baby entertained while helping develop key skills".
It requires 3 C batteries which are included. Ours had to be replaced quite early on- a couple of months after Christmas.
* What are the Topzy Tumblers?
They are like large jumping beans. Made of plastic and about the size of a hen's egg (large) they have a movable weight in the middle so that when pushed they will flip over as they become top-heavy. Each side of a Topzy Tumbler is a different colour and has an expressive face. They rattle because of the weight inside and feel sturdy in your hand. There are other toys in the Topzy Tumbler range, but I do not know that you can buy the Tumblers separately.
* What does Topzy Tumbler Fun Park do?
There are two main activities here for the Tumblers. Firstly, they can be put on the slide to tilt and tumble their way down to the landing pad. This pad is one of the 'on' switches that brings the fun park to life. Fairground type music plays, the ferris wheel begins to turn and the yellow, red and purple launch pads that form steps on the right of the park start to retract and then shoot upwards with a resounding thudding noise. The Tumblers roll from the landing pad to the bottom launch pad and are propelled up the steps and onto a slope so they roll all away around to the bottom launch pad again. The second activity for the Tumblers is that they can ride on the ferris wheel, which has flashing lights and a sparkly background.
The landing pad can be used to start the park, or you can press the star under the ferris wheel. An alternative is to spin the ball-filled roller at rhe front of the toy.
What skills is it supposed to develop?
The Fisher-Price website says that it will help baby develop the idea of cause and effect since when they move the roller the park starts up. This would therefore be true of pressing the star or the landing pad. This feature is also identified separately as developing thinking skills, but I cannot see the difference between developing the idea of cause and effect and thinking skills. The music and lights will be good for "enhancing baby's senses" and as the Tumblers flip down the slide or rotate in the ferris wheel the baby will develop their eye-tracking skills.
* How can Baby interact with the toy?
At 4 months/7 months our baby was probably too young for this toy, but she did respond to the music and the lights. Since this was all she did we put it away and brought it out later: music and lights can be provided by other toys without the relentless thudding of the launch pads on this one.
At 8 months/ 11 months the park was sufficiently exciting to encourage Baby to roll from her back on to her side. She began trying to grab the Tumblers as they passed. When she got one she would try to chew it and then discard it. You only get three Tumblers with this set, so within a short space of time you have no Tumblers on the park and a very noisy toy which is no longer holding the same degree of interest. It was necessary to sit with Baby and keep replacing the Tumblers. Of course, this is all part of the fun so it's not something I minded.
At this stage too Baby could turn the park on with the roller. This can be done from a sitting or lying on tummy position; it was tummy for us. It was obvious Baby was pleased with herself when she did this.
At 10 months/ 13 months Baby is now sitting independently. She can put the tumblers on the top of the slide if it is turned toward her. Otherwise it is too far for her to reach. She can hand me a Tumbler to put down the slide so communication is being required. She still likes to grab the Tumblers on their journey, but now likes to put them back too. Sometimes they jump off and are duly retrieved if close enough. The latest venture has been to try and get the Tumblers in and out of the ferris wheel. Fun and frustrating for her as it's a moving target.
Now when I get the park out, Baby flaps her arms up and down and grins hugely. I think she likes it.
* Is it worth the price?
We have got many hours of play from this and I think it can move well into the realms of imaginative play with slightly older children. I am happy with our £25, and realise that I don't like paying full price for anything, but £47 is a bit steep I think.
* Best design features
The roller- so easy to operate, exciting consequences for Baby. The Tumblers themselves: good to hold, flip, bash, chew. The music.
* Worst design features
The thud-thud-thud of the launch pads. This is the only toy we have to have at full volume as otherwise you can't hear the music properly.
Possibly the inability to buy the Tumblers separately- if I'm wrong about this please let me know!