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Some weeks ago Baby CrazyEgg's uncle was looking for a birthday gift for Baby CrazyEgg. "I've seen this thing," he said. "I was with my friend, and I saw a toddle-truck thing in the window of this shop. It's wooden. It's not a bad price. I thought it looked really good. And then, my friend said, "Yes, that is good, but I think that is for a little boy. That one there is for a girl." So I looked and he was right because there was this pink one and it had lots of fluffy toys in it. So that is obviously for a girl. But I thought about it and well, the one with the bricks is just...better."
I said the bricks did sound better, but that Baby CrazyEgg was not even crawling yet. So Uncle CrazyEgg went away and thought some more (eventually buying the Bramble Toadstool night light for Baby CrazyEgg's birthday- see my earlier review!!) and then some weeks later he bought the BigJigs Baby Walker with bricks as a Christmas present instead. It then became a very early Christmas present, and is already proving its worth.
The BigJigs Baby Walker is a 40cm x 32cm tray on wheels with a push along handle at a height of 50cm. It is made from wood from managed forests. There is some assembly initially as it comes without the handle attached. This is simply three bars of wood which screw together easily and are then screwed to the tray. It was a little fiddly, but only took about five minutes in total. CrazyEgg knows her way around an Allen key, and one was provided for the assembly task. The handle seems sturdy enough, but I notice that at playgroup similar products have an extra reinforcing bar going across. If your children are particularly boisterous this is probably not the best model for you.
The tray contains 36 bricks of different sizes and shapes. Most are a natural wood colour, but there are two blue, two red, two green and two yellow bricks. They fill the tray and this of course facilitates one element of the instructive play possible. As she gets older Baby CrazyEgg will learn how all these shapes can be fitted together so there are no gaps and all the bricks fit in the tray. I can tell you from my experiments that there are many ways to return the bricks neatly to the tray, and as you approach the finish you may have to make changes and alterations, sliding one brick along, turning another round and so on. There is much satisfaction in the completed task.
Baby CrazyEgg prefers the jumbly pile method of returning the bricks to the tray, if indeed they are to be returned at all.
Her interest in the bricks has been largely in taking them out of the tray and putting them back. As with the Mega Bloks (see my earlier review!!) I have been creating many a masterpiece with the bricks. They are however far more shortlived that the Mega Blok creations as there is nothing to stick the bricks together. Instead most structures are rather wobbly and often gravity-defying. Baby CrazyEgg loves to knock them down, sometimes by hand, sometimes by foot: "HAAA!! HAAA!!". Then the pieces are seized and knocked together: "Clonk! Clonk! Clonk!".
Baby CrazyEgg has only just learned to crawl so the Walker element of this toy is of no use to her as yet. However, she is intrigued by the wheels on the tray and the fact that the tray can be pushed and pulled has been a novelty, helping her to reach what she wants for herself. Pulling the tray away from Baby CrazyEgg when she is sitting and interested in it has encouraged her to put her hands on the floor and move into her crawling position. She will then follow it as it is pulled along.
Given that Baby CrazyEgg is small for her age, weighing about 15lbs at present I have taken the opportunity to wheel her along sat in the tray of the walker. She appeared to enjoy this, and left a trail of bricks throughout the journey so that we could find our way back again. From my point of view the steering on this voyage was tricky as the wheels are fixed so that they only go straight. Consequently turning corners was a little bumpy. But I imagine this is a sensible feature for a baby walker.
Elmo and friends have also had a go and this has caused the most tremendous excitement with Baby CrazyEgg pointing and saying "A Ge! A Ge!" many times. This means "Again!"
Overall, this is a great toy that will be with us for many years to come.