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Having three young children, I seemed to have worked my way through every available brand of non-spill drinking cup in the search for the perfect product. My youngest son is fast approaching his third birthday and is more than capable of drinking from an open rimmed beaker. He is also more than capable of spilling this everywhere (including over himself and his dinner) and there are always occasions where a lidded drinks container is needed, for out and about, so I still have a range of various lidded cups and bottles in use.
Over the years, I've purchased a number of products made under the Tommee Tippee brand, including some from their relatively new 'Kids On The Go' range. I've generally found Tommee Tippee products to be good value, long lasting and reliable so I was happy to pick this 'Big Chill' lidded cup up from Morrisons for £2.50.
This particular cup is aimed at children over 18 months old and has quite a generous capacity. When full, the cup is surprisingly heavy as the thick plastic has a double layer to insulate the contents. There are no handles, indents or grooves on this cup so I do think the recommended minimum age group is a pretty accurate figure, as a younger child might struggle to maintain a sturdy grip on this large and heavy smooth-sided cup. My son is able to hold this confidently without any difficulty and the reinforced thick plastic is robust enough to survive being dropped (and occasionally thrown, thanks to the odd toddler tantrum) without any evidence of any damage. I prefer using this type of solid plastic container for my son as he has an annoying tendency of squeezing the flexible plastic bottles and enjoying spraying the contents everywhere!
At the upper age range, I would expect a child to have outgrown this cup by about four years old as the design decorating the stick on transfer around the bottle is a little babyish, with cartoon style fish and other animals. I don't think my five year old would be keen to take this to school with him even though the size, insulation and durability would make this quite a practical choice for a packed lunch. The brightly coloured design is fairly unisex though and, as it doesn't feature any character branding it should appeal to most older toddlers and pre-schoolers. The only disadvantage to the design is that the double layer of plastic gives it a white appearance, making it look as though the contents are milk regardless of what is actually inside it. This also makes it impossible to see at a glance how much drink is left inside.
Although the packaging describes this cup as having a 'flip up straw', I would describe it more as a rigid narrow spout as I tend to think of straws as being soft and flexible. The spout section is made from a hard plastic and my son does tend to bite this as he sucks, which is evidenced by the signs of wear around this section. This is a free flowing cup, so very easy to drink from and the method recommended by dentists, to minimise damage to teeth. Fortunately, the cup has been well designed for travel and storage and the spout folds over between uses and is completely spillproof when folded down. This cup has been kept in the bottom of our changing bag whilst out and about and there have never been any incidents with leaks. Flipping the spout up and closing after use is very easy to do, even for little fingers, thanks to the slight indents either side of the spout.
Filling and emptying the cup is also very straightforward as the lid simply screws securely into position. This is easy for an adult to do but, fortunately, too secure for my son to unscrew himself. Cleaning the cup after use is very simple and the smooth interior and exterior sides means that there are no ridges for any dirt to collect. The cup and lid are both (top shelf) dishwasher proof. I have used this cup in the dishwasher for several months and the only sign of wear and tear is that the transfer is starting to peel away very slightly at its upper edge. As I'd expect from a Tommee Tippee product, the packaging confirms that the cup is BPA free.
One of the major advantages that this particular cup has over some of the many other products on the market is that this cup is insulated. We have been lucky enough to have a few short spells of hot weather recently and we have made the most of it with trips outdoors. During this time, this cup has proven to be an excellent method of transporting and storing cold drinks for my son and maintaining them at a pleasant temperature for several hours. I have even drank from this cup myself when the cup has been in the bag for a few hours and was pleasantly surprised to discover that the juice inside was still cool and had not acquired any plasticky aftertaste that can sometimes happen with drinks bottles.
This cup is currently on offer at both Tesco and Asda for just £2.31 which is a great price for a high quality and robust insulated drinking cup for young children. I would recommend this to any parent looking for an inexpensive cup to take out and about during warm weather.