The Hello Kitty plush rattle is a firmly stuffed soft-toy incarnation of the lovable Japanese bobtail cat first designed in 1974. A carry-handle with beads (in the shape of a flower and a bird) attached makes it rattle. It plays tunes and for this reason is also sold under the name Hello Kitty Musical Beads. Aimed at 3-18 month olds it retails for around £13.99. We have had this toy since Christmas when Baby was 7 months (4 months corrected) and she is now 14 months (11 months).
The description as 'plush' is apt as the fabric used has a dense and super-soft pile that is tactile and comforting. The firmness of the stuffing means that when squeezed HK returns promptly to her original shape. HK's hands are grasping a big plastic ring/ carry handle that encircles the toy. Onto this ring a circle and a triangle have been moulded. Each of these houses a button that can be pressed to elicit statements, sounds and flashing lights. Between them is a blue square block that spins if you flick it. This action triggers statements and sounds also.
* Developmental factors
The manufacturers (Vtech) cite this toy as having the potential to help sensory development, motor skills and language development.
The toy has a number of contrasting textures: the soft velvety fabric of Hello Kitty and her outfit, a soft pink bow that stands proud of Hello Kitty's head, the hard plastic of the ring that encircles her and, along this, slightly raised flowers, letters, dots and musical notes that provide resistance and interest to inquisitive fingers. Visually Hello Kitty herself provides high-contrast imagery with her black eyes and whiskers on a white face. On this toy she also has a yellow nose and a pink outfit, with a yellow heart motif that serves as the on/off button. The beads are purple and green, the triangle button yellow, and the circle button red. As previously mentioned, there is also a blue square so there is visual interest. The songs provide auditory interest, and combine with the motor skills as pushing the buttons during a song allows you to jam in additional musical sounds or shouts of "Yippee!" and "Hooray" as you prefer.
These are utilised through the need to push the two buttons and spin the square. Our baby has always been able to spin the square, but the other two buttons require just a little more hand strength to operate, and it is only now that she can do this herself. The On/off switch requires a definite 'push and hold' which means that for the moment we retain full control over whether HK is switched on or not.
This toy introduces 'a-b-c' and '1-2-3' - literally. No other numbers or letters are used so it is quite limited in this sense. The toy "introduces the concepts of day and night" (http://www.vtechuk.com/vtech-baby/HelloKittyMusicalBeads/ ) merely by HK stating "The sun shines in the daytime. The stars twinkle at night," and this being depicted on the blue square, which is a bit feeble really.
* Baby's response
Baby gives a big smile when I produce Hello Kitty and she is singing her introductory song, but quickly tires of her and thrusts her to one side. When it becomes apparent that HK is now forming a barrier between Baby and the Lamaze stacking bugs Baby takes action. She holds Hello Kitty by the ears and pounds the feline repeatedly onto the ground as if operating a pneumatic drill. Brow furrowed in concentration she is simultaneously making a growling noise in the back of her throat. Without warning she grabs Hello Kitty's pink bow and in the manner of a hammer-thrower spins HK high in the air. Maintaining a vertical core Baby becomes the central axis for Hello Kitty who gains momentum in a triple orbit. Abruptly HK is released and flies through the air, pursuing an upward trajectory before breaking into an elliptical path and arcing downwards to land on the floor: she is inert. Baby pouts with both lips pushed out to full capacity, head nodding slightly. (I call this expression 'The Mussolini'). One eyebrow raised and gaze fixed upon Hello Kitty she sighs through her nose before turning her attention to her collection of Lamaze magnetic stacking bugs.
* Parents' view.
This is a very well made toy that has survived the above, and other similar assaults, without any apparent weakening of the stitching. The battery compartment that is housed in HK's back and accessed through a Velcro fastening remained safely sealed. The battery housing itself is screwed shut. If Hello Kitty is not being used she turns herself off after saying "Bye Bye!", so there is less wear on the battery than there might be. She is soft and squidgy and nice to cuddle. She is easy to carry. She is...a little dull. The tunes are quite soothing.
Hello Kitty has no mouth, yet manages to sing. This perturbs me.
Her song ends with the words "We will be very good friends". I find this a little presumptuous. But I don't think babies will mind.
I bought my niece this Hello Kitty soft toy rattle. It was £12.99 from Smyths toy store in London. My niece is now 5 months old and has had it for a month. She cant get enough of it, she enjoys looking at hello kitty as when she is sitting the toy is almost as tall as her.
It is soft and squishy for the main part of the toy. Hello kitty is a white cat with a pink bow and pink body. The toy is sitting down and is large enough for babies to grap hold of. The toy itself feels so soft and it seems to have stayed that way even without cleaning.
Around kitty's neck is a thick plastic circular tube. It goes through her hands and on the front are three buttons that twist around and have big buttons that light up and you can press them.
To turn the cat on just squeeze her chest. The buttons make the cat sing one song about numbers and colours. Its the only thing she sings and so this is the bit that drives you mad. My niece however loves the song and smiles everytime she makes it play it.
The other buttons get kitty to say 1,2,3 and a, b, c count with me. For a cheap toy with three things to say this is ok and every time I visit she plays with it, so for me it was definately worth buying.
I think if this cat wasnt Hello Kitty branded then it would have been cheaper. I think that babies can learn quite a lot from it including hand eye coordination, musical listening and that pressing the buttons does something.
Not an essential item for babies but certainly makes a nice pink girl present.
Learn with Hello Kitty! This huggable soft Hello Kitty with easy to grab plastic ring is great for tiny hands. Featuring two light-up push buttons and a spinning block that introduce a-b-c, 1-2-3 shapes and colours with fun phrases and a sing-along song. Let your little one get creative by jamming fun sounds into recognisable melodies. Baby can learn about cause and effect by pressing the buttons and sliding the beads also encourages motor skills. Features Automatic power down preserves battery life Durable design for long-lasting play Suitable from 3-18 months