“ Brand: ELC / Type:Toy Microphone „
My 6 year old son fancies himself as a bit of a rock star and can often be seen dancing on the furniture, playing air guitar and singing "I'm a believer"(blame the final scene in Shrek for the song choice!). On a visit to our local ELC store, he really enjoyed playing on the little demonstation keyboard, which had a microphone on the stand that he could sing into. The keyboard was a bit pricey for me, and I didn't really have room for it at home, but ELC do quite a good range of musical products that cater for all ages, abilities and pockets.
On scanning the musical section, I noticed a couple of toy microphones that caught my eye. the first one was an "all singing all dancing" light up mic, that cost about £15 and needed batteries. The cheaper option next to it was only £5 and did not need batteries. I picked the second option because it was cheaper and seemed to have less chance of going wrong or breaking, as there were not many components to it.
The Echo Mic is available in red or pink. We bought the red one. It is a really nice, bright colour and has a black and silver swirly logo on the side and a silver top. There are holes in the top of the mic that you talk or sing into and your voice is naturally amplified without any technical wizardry or electronics, just clever design that makes the most of acoustics.
Obviously, the louder you shout into the mic, the more noise it makes. It does not really resonate much if you talk into it at normal volume. My kids have absolutely no problem being loud, and my son started singing into the mic as we waited in the queue to buy it!
The mic has a weird little plastic tag on the bottom, and I can't quite work out what it is supposed to do. If you tap it with your finger, the mic makes a vibrating noise, so maybe it meant to simulate a drum beat, I'm not quite sure, or maybe it is just part of the mic design that enables it to make the echo noise. I was a bit worried that this tag could snap off or break, but it hasn't yet. Apart from the tag, there are no other parts of the toy that are liable to snap or break.
A slight issue with the mic is that small kids may try and push items through the holes at the top of the mic. if they did this you would not be able to get them out again without physically breaking the toy, as the toy is in one piece and cannot be unscrewed or taken apart. Rings and jewelry could quite easily find their way inside this toy! The toy itself is a nice size and can be easily held by small hands. The holes in the top are not so small that fingers could get trapped.
My son really loves his mic and has had it a couple of weeks. He doesn't show any signs of getting bored of it yet. He dances around the living room, wearing his sunglasses and singing into the mic, thinking that he is really cool, much the the annoyance of his siblings! I would say that this toy would be ideal for kids aged between 3 and 6. Anyone older than this would probably find it a bit basic and babyish. Obviously, as this is a toy microphone, there are limited play options with this toy, although we did use it as a weapon called the "microphone of doom" in a video we made! Despite this, you can't really improvise much and pretend it is something else when you are playing games, although I suppose it does look a bit like a rocket....
The ELC echo mic is a nice pocket money toy. My son enjoys singing into the mic and it is not so loud as to be irritating (yet!). I like the fact that the toy does not contain batteries, as this is one less cost to think about and less potentially to go wrong. The toy is pretty robust and durable and can withstand being thrown onto the floor, although it will make a noise as it lands!
The only gripe I have about this toy is that after I bought it I saw a very similar product in Hawkin's Bazzar for £2. In fact, you can probably get similar microphones for £1 from some high street shops, so ELC may not be the cheapest place to buy these toys.