Product Type: VTech baby toys
Newest Review: ... this bear has a lovely look, he looks a happy little bear and my daughter cuddled him as soon as he came out of the box although I admit ... more
Talking Alfie loves a hug
VTech Alfie Bear
Member Name: bush1
VTech Alfie Bear
Advantages: Teaches letters, words, numbers, shapes, colours, and phrases
Disadvantages: Annoying default music, phonics sound not quite right
When my daughter was born I went a bit mad buying toys for her. Most of these were second-hand though so I didn't spend too much money! One of those I bought was the Vtech Alfie Bear. I got him for £1 from ebay and thought he looked like a great toy for when she was older. I ended up giving him to her just before Christmas as she was bored so I thought I'd try him as he had been sitting on her toy shelf for a while. She was 16 months when she got him.
---About the make
Vtech make a lot of electronic learning toys for babies up to 5-9 year olds. We have had various toys from them before and I have generally been impressed with them and was hoping for similar with Alfie.
---Features of the toy
Alfie is a brown teddy bear wearing a red top with his arms open wide. On his top he has all the letters of the alphabet listed with pictures next to each one beginning with the letter it's next to. Above the letters are four pictures that control which mode Alfie plays in. On his hands he has the numbers 1-10 listed and his feet he has shapes on one and pictures of teddy bears on the other. (Mine appears to be a slightly different version than the one in the picture). Alfie also has a Velcro pocket in his back which has his off switch.
When you switch Alfie on he starts by saying 'Hello, I'm Alfie. Let's play'. He then defaults to the mode when you press a letter it gives the sound of the letter. If you don't press a letter he plays a tune that you will quickly tire of, but at least you know he's on. You can then choose one of four modes: letter phonics, letter sounds, guess the letter, and music mode. My favourite at the moment is the music mode. When you press any of the letters it plays a different tune for each letter of about 30 seconds length. Once the tune has
finished, it reverts back to its default tune which can get a bit annoying.
The letter phonics mode gives the phonic sound of the letter but some of them don't sound quite right to me. As this is the default mode, I would have preferred the sounds to be a bit clearer and correct sounds. This might be because of the age of the bear and they have changed a bit, but having read other reviews it seems to be a common complaint. The letter sounds says the letter as we would if we were saying the alphabet which would have been a more useful default. The last mode is a game to guess the letter he is thinking of. It generally starts by saying it's the first letter in a word (which matches the picture next to the letter on Alfie) and if you get it wrong, it then gives the phonic sound for the letter as well.
Also on Alfie are the numbers, shapes and bears. In several of the modes when you press these it either tells you the number, tells you the shape and colour or tells you the size of the teddy bear. He sometimes says phrases instead when you click on the teddy bears such as 'I love you' or 'Give me a kiss'.
My daughter loved this as soon as she saw him. She gave him a massive hug and wouldn't let go and was even more excited when he started talking to her as well. She takes him to bed every night and now she starts to play before she goes to sleep, we can often hear Alfie playing music and talking through the
baby monitor. In the morning when she gets out of bed, she often wants to bring Alfie with her and she will give him big hugs and kisses too. Although she doesn't know what all the buttons do yet, she is able to press most of them easily although some are a bit stiffer.
My daughter seemed to really like Alfie and he is still in the cot every day. We do wake up in the night sometimes to be greeted by 'Hello My Name's Alfie' as my daughter rolls onto him in the night, but it doesn't seem to wake her up. The first time it happened it was a bit disconcerting but we're used to it now.
My daughter seems to be learning from him as well as she is trying to say some of the alphabet letters and knows how to make him work. She doesn't understand the guess the letter game yet but I hope she can use that as she learns the alphabet more. Other than my issue with the phonics and the annoying habit of playing the default music over and over again, I am very happy with Alfie. It takes a bit of getting used to when you can hear 'Give me a kiss' over the baby monitor, but we got used to that now.
I'm really pleased that I bought Alfie in a moment of madness as he's been a great addition to my daughter's cot. Considering he's already had at least one owner, he's in great condition so will obviously last a while. I would say that he is suitable from about 12 months because it is more of an educational toy although younger children may enjoy hugging him and hearing him speak. You can't buy Alfie new anymore but I would highly recommend getting a second-hand one if you see one!
Summary: Good value if you can find one!
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