Inspiration Works Child Development
Inspiration Works Child Development Reviews
Inspiration Works National Geographic Dinosaur Book
===The book=== I often keep an eye on Amazon for toys for Christmas and birthdays. I came across this book for £5.50 and quickly bought it as my son has begun to show an interest in dinosaurs. The usual retail price is £24.99, but to be honest it has been on sale for around £10 on Amazon for a while now. When the toy arrived I ... was really happy with my bargain. It was a lot bigger than I expected and it looks worth the full retail price without a doubt. I was that impressed, that after a few pressings of buttons, I quickly went online and ordered another for an upcoming birthday party.
The toy is basically a plastic book with pages and pages of dinosaurs. On the front is a dinosaur head that can be pushed for light and sound effects. This gives the book an instant wow factor as soon as it is opened and my 6 year old son was really impressed. It is large in size and made of strong durable plastic, so even after being dropped a number of times it is still in perfect condition.
Then once you open the book up you are greeted with 6 pages of dinosaurs. There are five dinosaurs per page and the plastic pages turn easily to reveal the next set. The pictures of the dinosaurs are a little small, but they needed to be to fit 30 different dinosaurs into a 6 page book. They are still colourful and detailed enough to please my children, but we would have liked the slightly larger to study them properly.
Next to each different dinosaur is a black button that activates the interactive feature. By pressing these different buttons on each mode you will be told a fact about the dinosaur connected to that button. On the top left hand side of the book is a slider that be pushed to move to the different modes. There are four information modes and then a further two quiz options. Rather than have all of the information in one place you have to change the mode to learn about different aspects of the same dinosaur. I have to admit the information is short and sweet and each one has a similar amount of information as below.
Mode one name- The Supersaurus name means super lizard.
Mode two facts - The Supersaurus did not chew, but swallowed its food whole.
Mode three food - The Supersaurus was a plant eater.
Mode four sounds- It plays the sound from the dinosaur in question.
Then the other modes are finding a dinosaur by its name, and this is just as the title suggests, the voice will state a dinosaurs name and you must press the correct corresponding button. Then the quiz mode is again very simple. The book will ask a question such as 'Which reptile could glide through the air?' and you have to find the correct button. If you get it wrong it plays a doom noise and tells you to try again. When you press the correct button it plays another noise to congratulate you and then moves on to the next question.
This book is in no way perfect. There are a number of things that could have been a lot better, but it still manages to appeal to my children. My son will happily sit with it for 20 minute or so listening to the different facts but then he begins to get bored. He just found it a bit too educational rather than fun as well, and while he does have an interest in Dinosaurs he only sits for short amounts of time with this book. My daughter sits a lot longer as she does not mind that it just says the facts in a rather dull way. My son gets bored with the same tone of voice going over and over again spilling out facts.
Also, as the information is short and sweet it really limits the interest of the book. While there are 30 different dinosaurs to learn about the same fact is played each and every time you press the buttons. There is no variation of facts at all, so once you have heard it once it is the same each time, and this limits how attention grabbing it is. It is suggested for four years plus, but my three year old son will happily sit and play with it
I think they could have just put all of the information about each dinosaur with one button with one mode, rather than having to push the slider across different modes to hear about a different facts about the same dinosaur As my children tend to play one mode at a time it can be difficult for them to match the different facts up together. They have to flick through the different modes if they want to learn about one dinosaur at a time, and it just seems a little fiddly.
My six year old son does enjoy using it, and that is who we purchased it for, but as he has memorised a lot of the facts he is slowly becoming bored with it. It has grabbed my four year old daughter's attention most. Unlike my son she has never shown an interest in dinosaurs, but she loves learning in general so she thinks this book is amazing. She will sit and play with the book for a good hour and then sit next to me while she is doing the quiz to show me what she has learned. It seems to hold her attention the most and for the amount of use she has had alone it is worth the retail price.
Another thing we love about this book is that even children that are not yet reading can learn about dinosaurs on their own. It can be used independently, or as an activity for the whole family. As all of the information is spoken in a clear voice it is a sounds book rather than words, which makes it perfect for younger children. They still have the names written next to each dinosaur, so little one can recognise how it is written as well as the pronunciation of each name.
Rather than sticking with a T Rex, or other well known dinosaurs they also expand a little to bring in some more unusual ones. There is everything from a Falcarius or Troodon to a Triceratops. It means my children were able to learn about different variations rather than the ones they see and hear about every day, but the familiar ones are still included.
The voice is nice and clear so you can hear all of the facts easily. It is loud enough to be comfortable to listen too, but not overly loud so it would cause too much noise. There were a few occasions we had to press the button twice to catch what it was saying but on the whole it is clear enough. The quiz has a good amount of question to make it interesting and reinforcing all they have learned while playing with the book. The questions do not play on a loop, so they are randomly generated. As there are 30 different dinosaurs and a few different modes there are more than enough questions to keep it interesting while they are still learning.
It is the little touches that seem to grab the attention of my children. The dinosaur on the front of the book has light up eyes, and there are scary sound effects as you turn each page. Despite a few problems with this book I would still definitely recommend it. My children have all enjoyed playing with it, and it especially captured the attention on my little girl. It is a good starting block to learning about different dinosaurs rather than the same few that seem to feature in other games. While it can be fiddly and a bit temperamental it has received a lot of use in our house. It was a fantastic value at £5 but even for the £10 it is on sale for now I would consider it a bargain. It makes learning fun and all of the different features help make it more appealing to young children.
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Inspiration Works Peppa Pig Little TV
Purchase I struggled for ideas at first on what to buy my youngest daughter was Christmas as she had loads of her older sister toys handed down and then I came across this on Amazon which I thought she would love as she was really into Peppa Pig at the time. The TV cost me £19.99 and came with free delivery so was about an ... average price for a child's character toy as far as I have seen however it is currently reduced to just under £13 which is brilliant value.
The TV came packaged in an open fronted box so you could press a few buttons before purchase if you were buying it in a high street shop however you cannot have a proper go with the toy as to do so you need to be able to change the cards that come with it. The box was brightly coloured and covered with the usual Peppa Pig style scene with the top of the box being pale blue or the sky and then grass and characters on it too. It stated on the box that this toy is for ages 2 and up and my daughter was 2 years 3 months when she got it so her age was ideal. The TV was easy to get out of the box and was just held in place with a couple of cable ties which just needed simply untwisting.
In the Box
Inside the box you get a pale blue pretend TV set and a bright yellow remote control with a number of buttons on it, you also get 4 cards to slot into the TV for your child to interact with.
The TV is pale blue in colour and has a pretend screen which has Peppa and George Pig, Danny Dog, Zoe Zebra, Pedro Pony and Emily Elephant pictures, they all have different objects they are playing with or holding which is what the questions surround for this scene. The TV has two plastic pieces which fit into the back to allow it to stand up and even thought these have been slotted in and out many times they still fit perfectly and are not loosening at all which is great. On the bottom of the TV you have a holder for the remote control and than a red light and a little yellow button. The battery pack is at the bottom on the back and is secured with a screw which of course prevents accidents with children and batteries, when you need to change the batteries it takes 2 x AAs.
The remote control is quite curved in it's shape making it comfortable for little hands to hold onto, it is bright yellow in colour and has 6 big buttons and 2 small buttons. The big buttons have little stickers on them showing Peppa Pig, George Pig, Danny Dog, Zoe Zebra, Emily Elephant and Pedro Pony on them, Emily has managed to damage the remote as she has peeled back some of the stickers which is a shame as if she manages to pull the stickers all the way off then you won't know which button is for which character and then the toy would be pretty useless so I think this is a poor part of the design considering the toy is for a 2 year old. There are 2 small buttons on the bottom of the remote one of which is the repeat the question and one of which is to play some music.
The 4 cards have a different scene on the front and the back of them, they are all brightly coloured and all the cards use the same 6 characters on them, each card is for a different scene, you get,
At Grandmas Hen House,
Winter Scene with Santa and Reindeers,
At the Beach with Mummy and Mrs Rabbit,
Throwing a Birthday Party,
Playing Music with Daddy Pig,
Playing in the School Playground,
A Picnic with a Dinosaur and
In Peppa and George's Bedroom.
To play with the TV you have a slot one of the cards into the top of the TV, the cards slide in easily and have a different combination of squares cut out of the bottom of it which must be how the TV knows which card is inside. I again find this a poor idea as the strips between the cut outs are very thin and Emily has managed to tear one which is no surprise for a young child.
The yellow button on the front of the TV is to turn it on and as soon as you do it launches straight into a question for your little one to answer with the remote control, if you haven't answered within 30 seconds it will repeat the question. If you get the answer right it tells your child the answer they have pressed and congratulates them but if they have it wrong it again tells them the name of the character they have picked but then tells them to try again. When you put a card in the TV plays a little tick tock tune however if you haven't clicked it in properly then it will still ask questions from the scene behinds it.
The TV asks a great range of questions all asked in Peppa's voice which can get annoying, you get questions such as who is standing next to? who is wearing? and who is this? when a sound will be played to your child of a character. The toy seems to ask about 10 questions for each scene which means 90 questions in total so there are plenty of questions without your child getting bored.
The toy is pretty easy to play with but Emily had to be shown how to work the remote the first few times although she is now able to work the remote out herself and I would say she can probably manage to answer about 50% of the questions although obviously this will improve with age, Emily seems to struggle with the questions that ask her about a sound that someone makes.
The TV and remote are durable however the cards are not so much and all of ours are damaged at the bottom so Emily needs one of us to put the cards in and out for her each time which she does get a little annoyed with as she generally likes to play by herself with toys like this. The TV has a little slot on the bag of it for the cards to be kept in when they are not being played with which is a great idea and helps protect the cards whilst in the drawer.
The TV is really educational and teaches listening and answering and of course encourages observational skills which we have found Emily is brilliant at. The cards are all brightly coloured and the characters are easily recognisable, the toy holds Emily's interest for quite a while until she wishes to change the card and then she gets distracted a little.
I would give this 4 stars from 5 as I think the stickers on the remote is a silly idea and also feel that the cards are not durable enough for a toy that is for a young child.
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Fireman Sam Activity Quiz Wheel
==Purchase== Towards the end of last year my youngest daughter was going through a great liking for Fireman Sam, I was doing my Tesco supermarket online shop and found this toy reduced from £15 down to £10 and deciced it would be a great Christmas present for her. The toy is still being sold in our local Tesco store and even ... better it is now being sold at £7.50.
The packaging was a very simple cardboard box which was open at the front so that you couls have a play with it which I did when my shopping arrived to make sure I thought it would be suitable, the toy comes complete with batteries to make this possible. The box states that the toy is suitabke for ages 2 and up which I think is probably about the right age range as my daughter is 2 and she can play with this with some help.
The toy is a bright red plastic circle which can be pulled back to allow the middle of the circle to stand upwards for playing with. The inner circle is dark blue plastic and has a dark blue base which has 4 pictures of Fireman Sam on it with the settings of Discovery, Quiz, Search Out and Music. Next to the 4 pictures of Fireman Same there is a sliding button to turn the system on and off, to begin with Emily couldn't move the slider but she soon got to grips with it.
The main part of the inner circle has a arrow pointer with Fireman Sam pictured on it which can be moved around the circle which is split into 8 sections and each there is a picture, you have got Mike holding his hammer, Tom with his helmet, Norman with his skateboard, Penny with an axe, Charlie with a bucket, Elvis with his guitar, Helen with her handbag and then Station Officer Steel with a Ladder.
The toy is brightly coloured and all the sections are in different colours, the colours all of course make the toy attractive to young children. The characters are all exactly like they are in the TV show which makes them immediately recognisable and as soon as Emily opened the present she wanted it out of it's box so she could play with it.
When you turn the toy on you get a little bell sound and then the toy is silent until you pick a play option, I found it surprising that a toy for a young child doesn't keep making noises to attract the child as most toys this type do.
When you pick the Discovery setting you get a little tune played and then Sam will say "Ok let's get busy" if you don't do anything within about 30 seconds then Fireman Sam will keep saying this over and over again. In this setting your child has to turn the arrow in the centre of the circle and then the toy will announce who the character is in Fireman Sams voice and then the voice of the character says a little saying, you have
Mike - Not a bad job if I say so myself
Tom - It's gonna be a busy day
Norman - You need to call Fireman Sam
Penny - Penny to Sam i'm going to need your help
Charlie - The first rule at sea is never panic
Elvis - Reporting for duty
Helen - We don't want any accidents
Station Officer Steel - Good work everyone
Emily likes this setting and she tried to copy some of the sayings, I like the way all the sayings are things that the characters often say in the show and I think this is quite important for a young child as it helps them to recognise the characters from the show.
The quiz setting is exactly what you would expect it to be, Fireman Sam asks your child a question which is linked to the discovery setting for example "Who says not a bad job if I say so myself" when your child then turns the arrow to the correct character Sam will announce the name of the character and the character will say their line again before Fireman Sam will congratulate your child on getting the question correct, if your child turns the arrow to the wrong character Fireman Sam tells them they're wrong and asks them to try again.
Emily can recognise some of the characters but not others from the show although she still plays with the toy alot so I am sure she will recognise more of them in turn, She often mixes up Tom, Charlie and Mike but then I don't think their voices are as distinctive as the others.
This setting is where the pictures that go with each character come into play, Fireman Sam will ask your child to find one of the items that the characters are pictured with and then congratulate them for getting it correct just like with the Quiz setting. I like this setting as I think some younger children may find it easier to see an object than recognise a voice or syaing however at 2 year old not all the objects will necessarily be recognisable such as an axe but the other items are pretty much every day items making it an easy game.
The music setting doesn't really give any encouragement for your child to play with the toy, when you select this option you just get a little tune and nothing more. To play in this setting you have to turn the arrow aroudn the characters and you get sound effects rather than actual music, there are a couple of different sirens, Elvis singing, the Fireman Sam theme tune, children singing, a helicopter and a couple of little pieces of music from the show, the music and sound effects only last about 5 seconds each and this setting is pretty boring and Emily gets bored with it very quickly.
I like that the batteries come with this toy as I think it is awful for a child to open a new toy and not be able to play with it straight away, the battery life is brilliant and we haven't had to replace the batteries yet and they show no signs of being near ready for changing. When the batteries do need changing there is a flap on the back held down by a screw and it takes 2 x AAA batteries. The toy is really robust and when Emily hasn;t been able to get it to do as she wants she has been known to fling it yet it is still intact and the stand has no damage to it which would be the weakest part of the toy.
Emily enjoys playing with this toy and I love hearing her trying to repeat the sayings from the characters, she has now moved on a little from Fireman Sam and he is no longer a favourite character if hers however she still loves the toy but she does need help to get it onto the setting she wants and sometimes I have difficulty working out which one she wants it on.
the toy does get a little boring in that each setting only has 8 questions, sounds or sayings so it doesn;t hold her attention for long periods of time and she will generally play with it for about 10 minutes at a time but for £10 I am really pleased with the toy.
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Inspiration Works Child Development
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