“ Brand: Vtech / Age: 18 months+ / Type: Toy Boxes „
V-tech's 'My First Toolbox' is pretty much exactly like all other toys made by this plastic / electronic toy company.
It's a typical V-tech toy in that it's chunkily constructed of brightly coloured, shatterproof plastic, it has brightly coloured moving components - a series of clicking 'cogs' and turnable screws / nuts and bolts -and pressable buttons, and many inset transparent panels through which coloured lights can shine. It also plays a variety of electronic tones and jolly little tunes and so on.
The toy takes the form of a hinged toolbox, about a foot long and eight inches wide. The solid base houses a play panel which bears the coloured lights, cogs and pushable buttons that make this an 'interactive' toy, and the yellow lid automatically seals the toolbox shut by means of two sturdy (yet easily openable) blue plastic clips and also acts as an 'off' switch.
Of critical importance with any noisy electronic toy, I find, is the 'off' switch - so it's of note that this tool box actually has two - a traditional sliding click-on-an-off small switch, and the hinged lid arrangement. Both cause the toolkit to say 'bye bye' as it turns off, which is handy as you know it's gone into 'sleep' mode and won't be draining its batteries by being left on.
I'm no great fan of V-tech toys myself - but kids do seem to like them, and so we selected the toolkit as a present for my son's first birthday from 'Toys R Us' recently. This was a slight mistake, as the toolbox is intended for kids 18 months and up, and might explain some slight difficulties we've had with it.
Firstly my son loves snapping the hinged lid shut (thus turning off the electronic fun components via the automatic switch-off function) but because of the catches, isn't able to open it up to access the inside of the toolkit again, so then he just sits down and starts to cry because all the flashing lights and coloured buttons etc. have disappeared from view. The catches on the box are very easy to open but have to be worked both at once, which is a trick a slightly older child might find easier to manage.
Similarly the toolbox comes with some accessories - a screwdriver, saw and wrench - all so very bulbous and constructed in such a kid-friendly manner that it's actually slightly difficult to tell what each tool is supposed to be - and these are intended for use together with the 'interactive' parts of the tool-box; there's a slot in the side where you can fit the saw where there's a very slender button that'll make a tune play for example - but these are too tricky for my one year old to get the hang of as yet. Of course the toy's intended for a slightly older sprog so this will all be something for him to 'work towards' I expect.
Aside from that I did have a couple of what I consider to be 'legitimate' quibbles regarding the toy however.
Firstly the thing was so ridiculously over-packaged that it was almost impossible to remove it from the cardboard carton it arrived in. There were many extremely robust cable ties -all incredibly thick and un-cut-throughable - securing the toy very, very tightly in place and there was next to no leeway / space to cut these apart without damaging the toy itself. You couldn't even get a pair of scissors in to snip these ties - no, it was a Stanley knife or nothing sort of situation, which isn't - naked lethal blades and such - really where you want to be on the morning of a child's first birthday, in with all the pretty wrapping paper, is it? Don't V-tech ever consider 'unwrapping scenarios' like that? Apparently not, maybe.
Secondly there is no space allowed 'inside' the toolbox to keep the loose tools in (the spanner, which is practically flat, will fit in but that's it). There's a bucket-style pocket on the side that they will go into, but given how chunky the tools are, they easily fall out. So you'll quickly end up losing the accessories that came with the toolbox, in my experience.
But overall I was still happy with this toy, which we got for about £16 - 17 (marked down a bit from the RRP of £20) from 'Toys R Us'. (Admittedly, I'd usually buy this sort of thing usually in near-pristine condition but for a tiny fraction of the 'new' price from a car boot sale - but as this was part of a birthday present that didn't seem quite right given the circumstances). It came with batteries already in which was a bonus. It's compact and the main part packs away quite nicely, and it seems to hold the interest of a child quite well.