“ Manufacturer: Learning Resources / Type: Kitchenwares „
When my mum came home with a miniature plastic toaster, replete with faux toast, I did wonder if this was not an effect of menopause people chose not to speak of. Apparently not - she bought it as a treat for her granddaughter.
The toaster is bright yellow, with a red dial and lever, blue bottom and red insides. It has a smooth and glossy look to it, sort of like it's been smothered in Vaseline for unfathomable reasons. The toast itself is, er, toast coloured, with darker brown crusts and a textured effect like breadcrumbs. The toast has a loaf-like shape, a curved top and a square bottom, instead of being a simple square plastic shape. The toaster has a notably rounded design as well. The entire toaster and two pieces of toast don't weigh very much - 499 g. The overall dimensions of the toaster are 8.9 x 22 x 23.2 cm.
The attraction of the toaster peaks when you slot the toast inside, hold down the lever at the side, and turn the dial. The dial is numbered 1-10 but these numbers aren't clear enough to properly be used as a teaching aid. You may find it is almost impossible start off the toasting process. You literally need two or more adults to do this, no such thing as too many cooks when it comes to pretending to toast fake bread. Once you have turned the dial, the lever comes slowly up - with an ominous ticking sound - and the toast pops up up to 10 seconds later. The pop scares me every time - it is quite loud. My reaction is apparently very funny, but to quote Modern Family, "It was my Vietnam. And I was in Vietnam." I do think this noise could startle a child at first but it is quite amusing - in the same way being chased is, as the kid knows they're going to get tickled. The anticipation of the loud tick therefore adds to the fun as much as the loud popping sound.
My niece is 18 months old, and she reacted with curiosity to her new toy. The first thing she did was to take the toast out and hand it to me. We have also dealt with her putting toast over her ears and have had many phone-calls through the toast ("ello toast"). She is too young to work the lever/dial mechanism, but when an adult did it for her, she expressed interest in the noise but the entire toy did not hold her attention enough to gauge her reaction to it 'popping up'. She is more interested in the toast than the toaster, but she does play with it, though it doesn't hold her attention more than any other toy does.
We have used the toaster to encourage her colour vocabulary ("What colour is this?" [pointing to yellow outside] "'ello'." "What colour is this?" [pointing to red dial] "'ello'." "Who is this?" [pointing to her] "'ello'.") However due the limited colour scheme this isn't enough to buy the toy on these merits alone. It is nicely gender neutral though.
The pieces of toast and toaster aren't connected in any way, so they do get misplaced easily. I think this could have been remedied by the toast just having a little magnet at the bottom, enough to stick inside the toaster when we weren't using it, but alas I did not design this toy. Likewise the toaster does not have a crumb tray or any grille stickers inside the toaster. There is also no cord (as if to the mains), but I don't mind this aspect so much, I think it would be a hassle. It's a pretty basic toy in that respect.
On Amazon it recommends this toy not be used by children under 36 months, which I wasn't aware of, and frankly think is a bit silly. What is she going to do, burn the house down? There are no metal parts except the mechanism inside the toaster which makes the toast pop up; and there are no small parts either. The screws holding the plastic together are deeply inset, thus harmless, even for the most inquisitive child. The lever and the dial are firmly attached in thick plastic, it would take an adult's strength to snap them off in my opinion.
There is one thing, though - my niece likes to put her little hands inside the toaster slits. This is NOT something I want to encourage but there is nothing in there, so I class this as a 'safe' toy - but this does not mean your child won't cry if they drop it on their toes.
As I mentioned, this is for imaginative play, and maybe encouraging infants to toast things doesn't seem like the wisest of decisions. However as this toaster is so much smaller, brighter and different than our usual toaster (usually on a counter where she can't reach anyway), we haven't had any problems with her trying to level up and toast things for real (or putting actual toast to her ear and starting a conversation).
Alarmingly, a review on another site rated it down for not functioning properly or tasting like real toast (!) but we count this as a virtue. We have had no problem with her biting the toast or mistaking it for food or anything like that. The plastic material of the toast has an obvious shine to it, and likewise it doesn't smell (or taste) like the real thing, so I don't foresee this being a problem either.
This is quite a sturdy toy despite being relatively light. I have dropped it before and it still functions and has so discernible dents or warped indentations. There is no real reason for it to get dirty, but if it did I imagine it would wipe clean easily with a baby wipe or damp cloth.
Imaginative play is a great way for children to learn by emulating adults, and this is a great little accessory that would fit in well with any kitchen set. Especially if you have other toys such as plastic sandwich toppings or salad, a child could potentially cook themselves a fake meal of a toasted sandwich - or perhaps a more wild and whimsical concoction, dulled as my adult brain is by mediocrity. As my niece doesn't have a kitchen set at our house, we haven't had the opportunity to play in this way, but I am confident this toy could compliment such a set-up.
As mentioned above it came packaged in a small sleeve to keep the toast secure and contains some information on the product. It was made of card, thus it went into the recycling. The toaster itself doesn't have batteries so you cannot replace them when they go flat. The toaster and toast pieces aren't recyclable as far as I am aware.
My mum bought this for £2 at Morrison's. It is currently £11.71 on Amazon for the same toy. Kiddicare (owned by Morrison's) also do a set of kitchenware - including this toaster, matching kettle, plates, cutlery and some fake food - for £15 (RRP £22 + £3 delivery). For a fun accessory to compliment imaginative play, it is a good little toy, and so this is my toast to it.
This rather cute, but for adults some what annoying toaster kept my daughter occupied for hours. She went through a phase of being totally into playing "kitchen" when she was around three and four and this toaster was one of the toys we bought for her to aid her kitchen obsession.
It's a cute yellow, red and blue plastic toaster about 20cm high and 23cm long. It comes with two slices of pretend plastic toast which look quite real and even have crusts, so there is one slice of toast for each side of the toaster. Each slice of toast is about 5cm x 6cm in size and about 0.5cm thick. The toaster itself is a simple design and works much like the real thing with a lever on the side for pushing the toast down and a knob on the front for setting the timer and there are numbers around the knob. The timer has a number of settings, each which lets the toast pop up at a different intervals of time, the longest you have to wait for your toast to "toast" is about 10 seconds. When the toast pops up it makes a big "pop" noise which my daughter loved, and would obsessively play with this toy just for the "pop" function.
As you can image that whilst the "pop" function is very enjoyable for kids, for adults it can be somewhat annoying, especially as it would make my daughter shriek and giggle when the toast popped up. To begin with this was rather cute and I made up an amended version of the "pop goes the weasel" to go with the toaster, something I was later to regret as I would hear this song countless times in a day. In the end I put a time limit on playing with this toy for my own sanity!
I have to say I was not sad when this toy died a timely death, luckily it didn't have batteries so when it's dead it really is dead. I guess we had it for around 10 months and it got an awful lot of use. The toaster itself was made from a durable plastic and when the inner working stopped the toaster itself still looked like new. We did have major tears when my daughter realised it had worn out.
I ordered the toaster on Amazon for A Christmas present, it was about £10 including posting and packaging and a nice little stocking filler. It says is suitable for children over 36 months, however I would say it would be ok for slightly smaller children of over two, depending on the child, as there are no small bits. It was certainly a hit with my daughter, however I am going to knock a point of for it's adult annoyablilty! Part of me also thinks it should have lasted longer than it did, but then it did have a lot of use and I was more than glad when it wore out! I'm going to give it 4 out of five points.