“ Brand: Wilkinson / Type: Baby Toy / Type: Push, Pull & Roll „
While out on a visit to our local shopping center my 2 year old son used the public toilets for the first time in 2 months after having developed a fear of the hand-dryers. My mother was over the moon and promised that she would buy him a toy once we had finished our shopping. Well to cut a long story short we ended up in Wilkinson's and Will took full advantage of his grandma's generosity by picking himself out a 10 pound Lego set. Well my mother has always been very generous towards my children and felt it necessary to buy something for my then 3 month old daughter Eliza as well. So that's how she ended up with the baby steps 123 roller. I feel a little embarrassed to admit it, but the initial factor that appealed to me was the price, I felt bad about my mother spending so much on my kids and at just under 4 pounds it was the cheapest toy that seemed age appropriate.
My mother was very happy with her purchase, she told me that I had something similar when I was little and had loved it. When I got home I took out Will's Lego and set him off playing so I could investigate the 123 roller. As I removed it from the slim box it came in that lovely familiar plastic-y smell that inflatables have immediately hit me. After separating it a little, as it comes folded within the box, I began to blow it up. It was easy to inflate, it certainly wasn't one of those inflatables that require the assistance of a pump to put up. As I was doing this I noticed Will begin to loose interest in the Lego and become very curious about the roller.
Well that was it, I was convinced it would be popped by the end of the day. Will's not the most gentle of children and doesn't have a great track record when it comes to blow-up toys. 'Ah well' I though, at least it hadn't been expensive. Well, how wrong was I? Turns out very! It's been mauled, rolled on, thrown, bounced on, scooted along the floor and just generally used in ways I can't imagine the manufacturers had intended it to be and it's still perfectly un-popped. In fact, despite the extensive use/misuse it's perfect, I have only had to give it a slight top-up of air every now and again to keep it full (it seems to roll best when fully inflated).
The roller, besides being a firm favorite with my 2 year old is also a well loved play thing of my now 6 month old (its original owner) although if you ask Will who's it is you'll get a very definite response of 'it's Wills!'. Eliza likes all things bright, colorful and noisy, the roller ticks all those boxes. It has inside it balls with bells in them so it jingles as it is rolled along. As you can see from the picture it's dumbbell shaped and the ends are see-through which both kids think is great for playing peepo through, from the box you'd think it would be tiny but it's a reasonable length plenty of room for even my 2 year old to lie on it. Eliza doesn't really use it to try and walk but then she's only just started crawling, so she may do at a later date.
The only thing I would say when she leans on it she has a habit of rolling straight over the top which if you weren't supervising could be dangerous. My only other criticism would that some of the seams do come a little sharp. But as the intended audience aren't meant to be hitting you with it I can't see it being a real issue for most people.
I wouldn't say rush out and buy it tomorrow but I would recommend it. With Christmas coming up maybe it would make a good stocking filler. It's a good little toy and for the price I really cant grumble.
We have the baby steps roller at my parent's house and our daughter has enjoyed playing with it ever since she was on her feet. It was given to us in a bundle of toys from a friend and to be honest, would have been a toy I would have never dreamed of buying.
What is it?
The roller is a big plastic or vinyl blow up barrel shaped pillow with weights and balls inside that make it interesting to look at and more balanced to lean upon. When we first got our roller it was deflated so the first job was to blow it up but it only took minutes. It sometimes requires a top up when it has been played with as it works better when fully inflated.
It is worth noting at this point that this really is not designed for water use and is definitely not a buoyancy aid. It can be tempting to think all blow up toys are great for pool use but this would be dangerous used in that scenario.
This is described as a pre school toy and is perfect for helping with mobility. The tube has shapes on the side that you can look through to see the balls rolling around inside. We used ours more when our daughter was little and learning to walk as something to lean on. It wasn't 100 percent fool proof though as she would often fall over whilst leaning on it when it rolled away. Her favourite activity was peeking through the clear vinyl and looking at the toys inside or at people through the other side.
Price and availability
This is a pretty cheap toy priced at £3.99 from Wilkos. Fully blown up it measures 33cm high x 64cm wide but obviously you can deflate it to store it away.
I don't think this is a 'can't live without toy' but it certainly added a nice different angle to our toy collection. It immediately became affectionately known as the 'roly poly' as that was what we tended to do with it. It was quite boisterous and rough to play with and not for a delicate little flower but it also helps extend some energy whilst encouraging coordination skills. For the price I think this toy is great but really can't emphasise enough that supervision - and close supervision at that - should be deployed with this toy.
For the price this makes a lovely gift for a baby and Wilkos are a little vague on the age restriction so it's a use your own judgement toy. I can imagine two children playing with this could result in tears and all ornaments and vases are best out of the way when the roller is in play but those with babies will be more than aware of child proofing requirements for their houses!
On their website (wilkinsonplus.com) the Wilkinson description of the Baby Steps 123 Roller is short and sweet:
"Baby steps inflatable roller, comes with safety valve, made with sturdy pre-tested vinyl, has multi-coloured balls. Promotes development through, imaginative play, recognition and discovery play."
The roller comes packed flat in a cardboard box and is readily inflated with a foot pump in about two-three minutes. The box features a baby boy leaning on to the roller and the description above him reads:
"Soft inflatable toy that teaches your baby how to crawl." The packaging also states that the roller is for 6+ months and will stimulate senses and help coordination.
The trouble for many may be that this is where the information and guidance stops. There are no instructions, guidelines or handy tips. Just the cheery chap on the box leaning on his roller. To confuse further, you cannot see how the baby is positioned behind the roller despite the fact that the roller is translucent, since it has been airbrushed out.
I can hear you thinking...well, it's obvious what to do with it, but No NO! If you go to http://babyandbump.momtastic.com/baby-club/791592-anyone-have-baby-roller.html you will discover that not everyone does know...it isn't obvious. The poor baby in this baby and bump site was sliding off it and the mum was worried she was getting hurt.
This is a major downside of the product: instructions are required, and how you use it will depend very much on the size and strength of your baby and whether you are playing with baby alone or there is an extra pair of hands. The roller is absolutely brilliant but does not of its own inanimate, vinyl self teach your baby to crawl. It is a tool that can help, if it is in knowledgable hands.
We purchased the roller from Wilkinson in January for £3.99 when Baby was 8 months/ 5 months. When we inflated it we realised that the baby on the box was enormous compared to our tiny one, and hence the roller itself (33cm by 64cm) was of ginormous proportions to her. There was no way we could position her like the baby on the pack. Instead she was interested in it rolling on the floor and in the jangling of the beads inside. At this time my husband and I mainly used it for playing Mallet's Mallet.
Because our baby was premature we have a lot of follow up from various health professionals. One such was the physiotherapist. It was she who was the most excited when she saw the roller and showed us how useful it could be. Essentially, the roller helps with crawling because it supports the baby's upper body, and enables them to lift and use their hands to reach for things; the roller rolls, the hands go back down on the floor and push up, and the muscles begin to get strengthened. Of course, there also needs to be someone there to hold the baby so they don't slide off head first if the roller rolls and they don't put their hands down. The baby's legs pushing on the floor also propel the roller. So as you can see, the size of the baby is important as in January when our baby's feet were on the ground and the roller in front of her, it was physically impossible for her forearms to rest on the top of the roller.
Instead, the physio showed us how to use it as a prop. With baby 'kneeling' on my lap and lying over the roller for support she could push herself up to look at things someone else held in front of her. When wedged against something solid it was also a good prop for maintaining baby in a side-lying position.
Now we are further forward and the roller is getting close to being used in its intended way, but it is still on the large side for her. Currently she loves the fact it is light enough for her to pick up and she likes to watch the balls drop through the holes to get from one side to the other. It is one of the toys she will attempt to roll from back to front for. When we lie her upon it to work on crawling she has recently begun to try and bite it. She has two bottom teeth only and has not managed to pierce it yet as the vinyl is quite thick.
The product is brilliant, but a guide on how it can help and be used would assist.