“ Brand: VTech / Type: Child's Bee toy which vibrates and plays melodies / Age: 6 months + „
* Prices may differ from that shown
You can probably guess from the number of toy reviews that I write, my twin boys have a huge collection of toys. A large number of these toys are bought as presents by family members and one of these was the VTech 1-2-3 Bouncing Bee. ***VTech 1-2-3 Bouncing Bee*** The VTech 1-2-3 Bouncing Bee is a soft fabric bee with a retracting cord that you can pull so the bee vibrates and plays tunes. The bee is shaped like a ball about 20cm in diameter and is yellow and brown with a light up nose that flashes. On the side of the bee there are 5 different coloured buttons, all different shapes numbered 1--5 which have different learning activities attached. The bee plays 5 melodies and has 2 sing along songs which are activated by the buttons and the cord on top of the bee. The toy requires 2 size AAA batteries which are supplied. ***Suitability*** VTech state that this toy is suitable for children ages 6 months and over. Personally I feel that this toy is suitable for children under 6 months old as there are no detachable parts and this is a soft toy that a baby could not drop on them, although I would always supervise a younger baby when playing with toys. The learning features are obviously wasted on a child of this age but the combination of music, flashing lights and vibrations would be a great way to entertain a young baby My boys have been playing with this toy from around 11 months and seem to really enjoy sitting with the toy on their knee whilst I pull to cord to make the bee vibrate. Although the toy has a number of learning features suitable for older children such as counting, colours and shapes I do feel that it is less attractive to older children because it has a look of a baby toy with it being soft. My friend's children who are nearer 3 will play with this toy but only to pull the vibration cord rather than play with the learning games. ***Availability*** The toy is available from a number of toy retailers although for a VTech toy it is not as widely available as other toys from this brand. The toy is sold in Tesco, Mothercare, play.com and amazon. This toy was a present however after a quick web search I found the toy was being sold at prices between £6 (amazon) and £13 (Tesco). Personally although I like this toy I do feel it is probably not worth paying more than £10 for as despite having some learning features it is quite basic. ***Playing with It*** The 1-2-3 Bouncing Bee was surprisingly very easy to take out of the box it was not fastened in by lots of ties. It was a simple case of opening the box and playing with the toy which most parents know is very unusual for toys. My first impressions of the bee were not that great. The bee had a cute friendly face but the mustard yellow and dull brown coloured fabric did not make it look the most aesthetically pleasing of children's toys. My boys however really seemed to like the toy and when I first pulled the cord which activated the vibrations and sing along song the boys let out lots of giggles and smiles. They both really like the nose of the bee which flashes and seem fascinated by this. Even after 4 months of play they dance along to the music and giggle at the vibrations made by the bee. Size wise the bee is perfect for young children to play with. Even at 11 months old my boys could pick the bee up and carry it as it was not too large or too heavy. This in my opinion makes it a great toy for younger children. On a basic development level the toy will help to develop a child's fine motor skills by pressing the coloured buttons on the side of the bee. Although I do feel that the design of the buttons means it is quite difficult to press and activate sounds and noises. You do need to press with some force to activate the sensors inside of the toy which children under 18 months will find extremely difficult. I also find that the retractable cord which activates the vibrates and songs is also difficult to pull. At 14 months old both my boys can do this and even for my friend's two year old daughter she has a struggle to do this. Therefore if you are giving this to a young baby an adult will be required to activate the features to keep them entertained. The bee has buttons on the side which activate different learning activities. The buttons are all different shapes and a different colour with a number from 1-5 written on therefore the toy teaches colours, shapes and counting. I do feel that the design of the toy makes this look quite a babyish toy therefore older children may not be as inclined to play with the toy and use the learning features. I also feel that because the buttons are so difficult to press this limits the effectiveness of the toy's learning features. The batteries are located in box inside the bee. The bottom of the bee has a strong Velcro fastening which requires you to take the battery box out of. This requires opening with a screwdriver therefore requires an adult to change the batteries but does not present a choking hazard for children. The Velcro stays firmly shut therefore my children have not even noticed that it is even there. The batteries are supplied with the toy and after 4 months of regular almost daily play with the toy, they have not required changing. The toy being made from a soft fabric material is not the easiest to keep clean. I use a cloth to wipe off marks but it is advisable to do this as soon as feasibility possible to prevent stains. The instructions state that this is a surface clean product only. Being made from light colours particularly yellow marks do show up easily so this is not a toy to give to a child during feeding time or when they have sticky dirty hands or the toy will look dirty quickly. ***Overall*** This is a toy that my boys really enjoy playing with as it plays catchy songs and they enjoy the vibrations when the cord is pulled. Aesthetically I do not think this is the most appealing toy and feel that the colours are a little too dull. The design of the bee could also be improved which would make the retractable cord to activate the vibrations easier to pull and the buttons on the side easier to press. My quite able 14 month old boys both struggle with this despite having quite good coordination skills. The toy benefits from being made from a soft material as it makes it light and transportable but also a great toy for younger babies. Not a bad toy but not worth paying more than £10 for.