Product Type: VTech baby toys
Newest Review: ... it good I personally think you need to purchase another car pack. There are also lots more ad ons that can be purchased to expand and i... more
Vtech Toot-Toot Drivers Garage
Member Name: joshuas-mummy
Vtech Toot-Toot Drivers Garage
Advantages: Educational, fun, noisey-just what kids love!
Disadvantages: None I can think of!
This particular toy from the range is called the Toot Toot Drivers Garage. The Toot Toot range features cars and vehicles that make noises and play music and also have flashing lights etc and this garage is the main part of the whole range.
The garage itself is where your little one can group their vehicles together and play with them. There is lots for little hands to do and lots for little eyes to watch! This is a big reason why I bought this because my son is 16 months old and was in need of further stimulation than his old baby toys were providing. I knew I wanted something noisy and something that was interactive and this really fit the bill for him. The age recommendation is for one year and up although if my son would have recieved this earlier than 16 months I don't think he would have been able to understand it so much, but I guess that depends on your own childs development stage. My son absolutely loves this, it's one of the toys he's played with the most since Christmas so I would say it'se best suited for 15 months or so upwards.
The garage itself gives children so much to do! Firstly the ramp which is shaped like a road where the cars can be pushed up towards a special lift which is towards the right of the garage. The cars can roll easily on to the lift and a thumb tab gives easily elevation to the top level. The vehicle of choice will automatically roll off the lift as soon as it reaches the top and gain momentum as it rolls on to the turntable which is the next part of the 'route'. The turntable too has a thumb tab which you push and it will rotate the vehicle around to face the other direction-but not for long because this part of the track is tilted so it will roll away quite quickly and down the track-my son is amazed at this and loves to watch the cars all move effortlessly when they reach the top level!
As they continue down the tilted road there is a stop sign that can be pulled down to stop the cars otherwise they roll all the way from the lift, down the spiral road to the bottom where they will come to a stop. It's a beautiful little system, from the most minimal help with the lift and turntable you can watch the cars go with ease, the only thing that drives me round the bend is how many times I have to repeat this for my son as he hasn't learnt how to use the thumb tabs and do it for himself yet!
There are also sections underneath which are for the petrol station and car wash-each have little buttons where the cars rest so they will recognise when a car is present and begin to interact with it appropriately! That's the lovely thing about this toy-it recognisies the different types of vehicles. Whether it's a police car, tow truck etc the garage recognises this and makes the right sounds and combined with the songs and words the car itself makes it's like the garage becomes themed towards that type of car! The exit barrier on the top level is especially good at this, when the cars stop there it will instantly recognise the car and sing/play music for it!
There are two modes you can choose from with this garage one is the music mode and one is the technically more speaking 'story' mode but there is also music included. The songs are all fun and repetative and match those of the vehicles. The more talking 'story' mode is supposed to help encourage language skills by introducing new words, letter sounds and the alphabet which I quite like because my son is at the age where he takes everything on board.
My overall impression of this toy is that it's excellent! It's really redeemed Vtech in my eyes as I had previously been under the impression that their quality did not match their competition and I always felt their toys weren't very innovative. This range has totally changed my opinion! My son loves it and I love watching him play with it, and I'm happy in the knowledge that he's learning from it too!
The thumb tabs I mentioned earlier are great for his fine motor skills development because although he can't use them yet when he watches me use them I know his little brain is taking it in and trying to stimulate him to do it. The different textures along with the brightness of the whole toy and with all the fun music is aimed at aiding sensory development too so as far as being 'educational' goes I feel like his enjoyment is well aimed at this toy!
I also can't fault that when you get the toy out of the box there is very little accessmbly required as it all comes ready to play in almost every way. All the stickers are in place, the toy altogether and no screwing is needed. All you need to do is attach the spiral ramp and the heipad and it's ready to be played with-this is great for eager children like mine! It also comes with one vehicle which is the tow truck so if your buying it to see if your child will enjoy it then you don't need to shell out for the seperate vehicles unless you want to. It's because of this that you can use this as a stand alone toy or the feature of the whole range! We bought this and a three pack of cars which is just enough for my son at the moment but I am already planning on buying more! There are seperate pieces of track which can be attached to two points of the garage, multiple cars and several other larger structures (though not as big as this one) which are soon to be available in toy shops to complete the range.
You can buy the garage from all good toy retailers for £39.99 and then the three pack of cars are approximately £14.99 (or can be bought seperately for £4.99-£5.99 each). It comes with batteries too so thats another bonus!
I'm so pleased with this toy and I know my son will continue to get lots of use from it because as he grows he will enjoy the role playing element of it even more. At this stage he doesn't really know about cars and garages but as a parent I guess the stereotype of boys liking cars meant I was drawn to this and all the features and educational benefits were a further justification for buying it. Although this toy is supposedly aimed to be unisex I can't imagine many girls enjoying it past the two year mark (when they begin to understand cars/dolls etc) so I would recommend it more for boys as you will get the most longevity out of it that way!
Overall a big fat five stars from our household-even if the music does drive me nuts at times!
Summary: A toy that redeems Vtech from old bad opinions