“ Brand: Wilko / Type: Toy camera / Type: Musical Toy „
My (not so) local Wilkinsons has recently started selling their own range of toys, many of which are at a very reasonable price. We've picked up a few of these toys for 20 month old Freddy as we do like to treat him during our fortnightly trips into town and with many of them costing under a fiver they last far longer than a bag of chocolates. The Snap Happy Musical Camera was one of the toys we've bought over the last few months and costing only £3.83 it makes the perfect impulse buy or stocking filler.
Billed as being suitable for toddlers over a year, the camera certainly catches the attention of it's target age group. This chunky camera is formed of bright yellow plastic, with green and red highlighting. There is a shutter button that when pressed activates and "snapping" sound, lights and causes a picture in the view finder on the rear to rotate through one of four different characters. There is also a button on the back that activates one of three tunes along with yet more flashing lights.
Both the build quality and sound quality are far above what I would have expected for the asking price. Although it doesn't compare with the better known brands, such as Vtech, and is a little cheap and shiny the plastic is very durable and the whole camera feels well-made with no loose parts. The camera has been thrown around and even with landing on hard floors has only suffered minimal cosmetic damage. The tunes are recognisable if a little tinny, but with there only being the three they do quickly become repetitive. Being an electronic toy, batteries are required, but an initial, demonstration set are supplied which are still going strong after a couple of months of fairly regular play.
Being firmly in the recommended age group, this camera is a toy that Freddy gets quite a lot of pleasure from. It's a simple toy with only the two buttons, so even children who aren't quite as into finding out how things work as Freddy will have no problem finding out what does what. The shutter button is a little stiff, but while it needs to be pressed right down to change the picture on the view screen, it only requires light pressure to set of the lights and sounds. The music button only requires minimal pressure to operate. To be honest, Freddy is very technologically minded and only needs to be shown how to work this sort of toy the once to master it for himself. So it wasn't a surprise that he was playing independently with this five minutes after he received it. From the first day he loved pressing the button to set off the music, which meant it soon became irritating to adults, especially as there is no off switch or even volume control. Although all three tunes are recognisable, I can only name one which, unfortunately, is "Oh dear, what can the matter be", which makes me want to sing about lavatories.
As he's got a little older and become more mobile the way Freddy plays with the camera has developed somewhat. The camera is light enough for him to carry around, which is good as he has only started walking in the last few weeks and it helps him realise that it's worth making the effort to walk rather than crawl. The built in handle is also the perfect size for his chubby, little hands. As well as simply pressing the buttons, listening to the music and "Ahhing" at the different characters, Freddy now actually pretends to take photos, pointing the camera and saying "day deese".
All in all this camera makes a brilliant stocking filler or small gift for an older child to give to a toddler between one and two years old. Although very low in price, it's given Freddy countless hours of fun and is a toy that he will regularly empty to the toy box out to find. So all things considered, I can't help but give the Wilko Snap Happy Musical Camera five stars out of five. As although it is a little annoying in it's repetitive tunes for adults and doesn't exactly look expensive, it is a remarkably well-made and well loved toy that will help your child develop their fine motor skills, imagination and role play. And the best thing is you get all this for under £4.