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I was given this as a hand-me down for my middle son 2 years ago. I don't think its available new anymore but its available for £15 used on amazon. This is my 10 month olds favourite toy at the moment (and has been for a couple of months) so considering it has gone through at least 4 little boys it's really sturdy. You can press down the green button on the funnel this starts the music and the train moving. The blocks have little circular notches on the bottom so when attached to the yellow carriage the characters inside spin round. The block on the main train on the green platform goes up and down and the blue carriage has a tilting table that moves with the train. The blocks are interchangeable with other fisher-price toys.
The blocks themselves all have different circus animals/acts in and the train plays a circus theme. Its very bright, very durable and easy for little ones to get the hang of. The red train and yellow carriage is one complete unit. The blue carriage with a red drop down flap is detachable and the tilt table is powered by the wheels moving so still an amusing little vehicle in its own right for babies.
It takes 3 AA batteries and is quite a high draining device. It does a lot though so as long as you have some rechargeables its not an issue.
My 3 and 4 year old will still play with this and as it really is suitable from age 6 months (unlike some others which can be too hard) you really get your use out of it.
A definate 10/10 for fisher price, if you find one buy it!
I bought this for my son's 3rd birthday as he was showing an interest in writing and I though it would help his pen control. He had a magnet board but this got quickly scratched by different children pushing too hard and leaving perminant marks on it so I thought I would see if this was any more durable. The good news is that after just over a years worth of use the drawing surfice is still unblemished even with lots of use.
It has 4 settings, drawing which is lines and shapes, upper case letters, lower case letters, and guess the letter which does the lights in a random order for the children to press the correct letter on the keyboard section. It also has 2 volume control settings both of which are quite loud, and takes 3 AAA batteries.
Both my sons enjoy playing with this machine and certainly my eldest who has just turned 4 can now write several of his letters.
I am a childminder and would however like to focus on one of the children I mind for when discussing the benefits of this toy because whilst my children have learned it has benefitted this child the most.
He is 6 and 1/2, very funny, extremely lively and a little charmer. He does however have Global Development Delay and my 2 (nearly 3) year old is sadly leaving him behind. He has a very short attention span and I have found it difficult to find equipment to hold his attention. Do not ask me what it is about this machine but not only does it hold his attention he also has the patience to copy the letters really neatly. He can't play on guess the letter yet but it has definatly helped him with recognising some of his letters (not all yet but I'm sure he'll get there.) The voices on the machine that tell you what to do are a man's voice and a very enthusiastic sounding boy. I'm not sure if its this combo or the lights that hold his attention but normally you are lucky to 5 mins of concentration and he has been known to focus on this for over 30 mins.
I am by no means saying this machine can only be used for these purposes but it is such a huge thing that it manages to do I felt it needed mentioning.
I purchased this machine for £24 but it is current;y retailing in toys r us for £19.97. I could not recommend this machine enough to people with young children who either like mine love letters or children who have any sort of concentration issues.
I purchased this a couple of christmases ago. I bought the eldest Bugsby (V-Tech) and my youngest (at the time) who was 18 months Tag Junior.
This is a clever little system that can read books I presume by the tiny little dots that are just about visable on the page. If you place it on the words it will read the whole page out and it will make different sounds depending on what else you touch, e.g. if you touch the lion in the picture it would roar.
The positives of this is it gives your child a real idea of how books work, it also has little game in it, like can you find something that roars and the child has to touch the lion to get it correct.
This also maps you child's progress and this can be viewed on leapworld.
Leapworld a brief overview - You can also view your childs learning path to see which skills they have gained or are still working towards. This is split into different age ranges and skills so you can not only check your child is meeting their own age but also if they are ahead. It tells you if your child can do something or is working on something. This path is individual to each child and also combines with their learning path from other toys, e.g. leapster explorer. Don't be too disheartened if it says your childis not even working towards something it maybe that you don't have the game that teaches those skills. Also do remember to take what it says with a pinch of salt. No children are the same and your own view of their progree and any teachers they may have holds more weight than this.
This is probably a good thing if you have one child. I however had 2 at the time and childmind (including my own) for 7 different children throughout the day so this learning path becomes completely useless.
The good thing is unlike bugsby you can install up to 5 books on the reader so there are no cartridges or anything to get lost. We now however have several books and we keep having to juggle which ones are on there and it always seems he wants the ones that aren't installed!
The other thing is unlike bugsby and the standard Tag the reader is quite wide on the bottom and must be placed completely flat on the page to read it. This had my rather impatient son screaming and throwing it in frustration! This probably would not have been an issue if I didn't get Bugsby at the same. This could be placed at the angle you would use a pen at so was probably a bit easier.
It takes 2 AAA batteries which last ages (but he doesn't use it much.) Now i don't know if its just my one but when the batteries die and we replace them its like the reader sulks or something because it won't work at all then for a day or two. It doesn't seem to matter what we do, which batteries we put in it just won't work till its sorted itself out. it was like this from day one even before my son started throwing it around in anger!
All in all I wouldn't say this was great, both children ended up playing with Bugsby and this was largely ignored. He did go through a little phase of playing with it recently but he is nearly 3 now and too be hoenst he is a very bright little boy and the topics covered by the books are now well below him. I would however still contemplate buying the older tag reader as this is i believe more similar to Bugsby even if it is still restricted on how many books can be used with it.
This currently retails for around the £30 mark on Toys r us
Why I wanted it
My eldest was a dream baby and the second he popped out I was broody again so he was only 4 monhts old when I got pregnant again. He was a hungry baby so I started him on solids at 4 months but had to feed him in a bouncer as he couldn't sit up. I had been given a highchair by a friend but although it had starps he just slid down and under the tray! I was looking for a new one and as this one said it was suitable from birth I chose this one as I thought I could use it for the new baby as well.
You can just about see a little red bit on the picture where there is a hole in the seat. This is what you must pull up to get the seat to recline, I didn't use it fully upright to begin with it was reclined by one nothc.
On the legs there are holes so you can adjust the hight of the seat. Although I had it fully up for my eldest because he was eating with us by the time I got it when my middle one was born I moved it to the lowest so I could use it easier sitting in the living room with him.
The blue bit you can see at the front of the tray has a handle behind it, you pull that forward while holding the front and it just slids off, ever so easy and smooth. It also has a tray that slots in the main tray. This is separated into different sections (as you can see in the picture)
There are 2 slots on the tray on either side where you can push is a toy, this is a teddy with a ring for a belly that has a couple of other rings through so essentially a teether. The tray is also dishwasher safe although i haven't got a dishwasher so I'm not sure how well it works. I will say my hubby get very excited with the scrubby side of the spong and he hasn't manged to damage or scratch it (unlike my non-stick pans!)
It has a soft plastcic coated cover for the seat with a 5 point safety harness to strap in little one. This is safe and easy to wipe but if little one does fall asleep in there I wouldn't recommend leaving them in, although perfectly safe, especially if you recline it if they are anything like my kids they'll get very sweaty!
It has a solid plastic bit that goes between your childs legs. This is great at keeping baby in position and as it goes right up to the tray none of my kids have managed to pull their legs out and get tangled up like they have in other highchairs. the one disadvantage of this is that the cover has a hole in it to accomodate this. This means that when baby gets a little older and a little smarter they manage to post food through these gaps as well as down the side and even the back! Unfortunately the inside of the cover is not covered in any kind of plastic so is hard to clean. I can't remember if it says its machine washable but I have put it in the washer on a 30 degree hand wash and its come out fine. The only thing I would say in regards to cleaning is the hoels where the toy goes, this get really clogged with stuff and is awkward to get out. If however you can put it in a dishwasher its probably fine.
It states it can be used up to 23kg so my eldest could still go in it and he is now 4! In regards to durability I am a childminder so I have used this now for 3 of my own children, as well as 3 different childminded children. It still looks practically brand new and I must admit I'm rubbish at maintaining stuff and my hubby is heavy handed and this still looks great.
It is now set-up in the living room again for my youngest who is 4 months old and I have a selection of suction toys I attach to the tray. He loves it and I know its a place he is already comfortable with when it comes to introducing solid food.
I must admit whilst I love this highchair (it is one of 3 and is by far the best) storage could be an issue. If you have the space to leave it up all the time great but the main seat doesn't move/tilt or anything when its folded up so even when folded it prob about a foot wide still. To be honest I was happy to sactrific ease of storage for how sturdy and reliable this is.
I can't remember where I got this from but knowing me either Littlewoods or Boots, I have looked it up and its currently on boots for £86.99. This is a lot compared to most highchairs but I can honestly say if I knew what I do now about this highchair, and how good it is I would have paid 2 or 3 times that amount.
I've just had my 3rd son and wanted to get him something that was new as most of his stuff is hand-me-downs. I decided as I had most stuff I'd spend a bit of money so opted for this one as I liked the idea of the lights to stimulate him.
Very awkward to use with a newborn, I had read some reviews before buying it that said it was too upright for a newborn. I must admit i didn't find this the case at all, it lies back really quite flat and can rock really slowly. The issue I had was the harness. You may be able to see on the picture there is a wide padded bit on the part of the harness that goes between the legs. This cannot be removed, it has a flap on it which you lift to access the buckle then when the harness is attached you put the flap back down and popper it shut. The advantage of this is that you can't pinch the baby with the buckle. The disadvantage is the popper is so stiff we didn't want to popper it because we would be pushing too hard, or you must loosen the straps so you can get your hand behind the padding and then push the popper in and so it doesn't dig in to the baby. The other thing is this padded bit is so big it came up to his chin! It is also big a bulky so my son hated it, newborns like to be in a kind of scrunched up ball shape still and this stops them being like that
3 months old
We decided to leave it for a while till he was bigger. At this age he had unfolded and it did fit better, he was also less upset by having a big bulky strap between his legs! He likes it for short periods of time now though I'd still say its not a big hit.
There is only I think 2 songs, then 1 lady singing a nursery rhyme, and another is a man telling a story. This is not necessarily bad but you can only select one, it doesn't scroll through them like other machines I've had so I would probably recommend getting some baby friendly music on an MP3 and attaching that to the swing.
Oh how disappointing, If you are in a pitch black room these are twinkly and great. Unfortunatly we all tend to be asleep then! They are little LED's or something but not very bright at all. While I don't want to blind the poor boy it would at least be nice if you could see them!
The number 0-5 on the side are not what you may think! They do not dictate the speed of the swing they depend on the weight of your child, the machine then does something fancy to work out how much it needs to swing for optimum performance!
This takes 4 C batteries so pretty hefty, but as I say he doesn't like it much so there's still plenty of juice left!
I paid over the odds for this at £119 from a catalogue and I would be disappointed if I had paid £40 for it
Now I'm not that good with the ins-and-outs of mobile phones so I'm going to give you a general usage review.
I had a samsung phone and my son got hold of it while I was cooking dinner and dribbled it (aparently that does count as water damage! lol) so my phone died completely and I was back on my old sony ericsson.
When my contract came up for renewal I phonad around all the companies to see what "very sturdy" phones they could recommend and what price plans. I got various suggestions and after lookingon the web I opted for the C905.
This phone is quite a heavy brick according to my other half, but I love it. I know if its not in my pocket (maybe cos I'm no longer leaning to that side! lol) and I feel as if I have something sturdy in my hand. I'm pretty rubbish at putting my phone out of reach and as a childminder I have a lot of children who can get hold of it. This phone however is so sturdy that I'm not worried.
The man at Vodafone (who my contract is with) assured me that I could drop this out of my upstairs window and it wouldn't break. Whilst starngely I have not tested this i was being a bit cocky when my hubby dropped his phone about 2 foot and the screen broke and he said mine would have as well. Unfortunately in all my maturity I took this as a bit of a dare and threw my phone from the living room over the stair gate and into the kitchen to land on the laminate floor and skid across to bad rather loudly into a cupboard. Whilst I admit this was rather silly the good news is the phone didn't have so much as a scuff mark on it!
It does get occasional globe like spots on the picture if the lens is dirty but on the whole it takes great pictures with everything set as auto. It has shortcuts into the camera just by openeing the lens cover and is controlled by buttons on the side
Phonebook is easily accessed via shortcuts and as with most phones you can type the name you want to find to get there quicker.
These can also be access via a shortcut, the predicitive text is good and as well as working out what word you are typing from the combo of buttons you have pressed it will also put in the word you use most from that combo. It also guesses which word you want to put next (I assume it has something in there to remember common phrases you might use) so if you always put see you soon you only have to put in see and space it will auto add the next word on. A bit like a search engine if you want it just press the right hand arrow if not just carry on typing. Great when I'm out with the kids so my eyes are all over the place but a parent texts to ask me something, means I can reply quickly while still focusing on the kids
An important thing for me is battery life and how it shows its draining. My hubby's phone goes down to 3 bars then will suddenly die, I have to have something reliable that I can trust in case of emergencies while I'm out. This phone is great, seems to go down the bars evenly but will stay on red for ages before it dies.
This phone has loads of handy features, gadgets and gizmo's but don't ask me how to use them! I have occassionally used google maps and thats about it.
I'm not much of a guru but my hubby is and he says it has good sound, and is loads better than his nokia N86 or his N95 was.
I took my children here a month ago for my eldests 4th birthday.
We got in the wrong queue when we went in (my other half just followed the car in front.) There is a lane on the right that takes you to the main carparks and parking is currently £2 for the day. Or if you go in the left hand lane you end up in a premium car park, no better but closer and this costs £6. Although I didn't really think the extra £4 was worth it when we arrived. When we left as the park was closing at 6 most people were leaving as well and the traffic to get out of the car parks was horrendous, at the point we did come out towards the beginning of the queue so this was a bonus.
The entry prices are extremely expensive, I think only drayton Manor is more expensive from what I have seen. £41.40 for an adult and £31.20 for children over 3 and OAP's. The good news is pretty must everywhere seems to have buy one ticket get one free, so I paid for myself and the otherhalf got in free. Then as they do accept the vouchers you can get from trading in Tesco clubcard we got my eldest in using one of those. The 2 year old and the baby wre free. So at £41.40 for all 5 of us a bit of a bargain.
You can also buy a little gadget called a Q-Bot. This varies in price from £10 to £15 per person depending on what time of year you go, again under 3's are free. The advantage of this little gadget is you just put in what ride you want the it gives you a time to go, you then go to a different entrance (on a lot of rides it was the saem place as the exit.) This of course means that you don't have to queue and can do whatever you want in the interim. The negative of this is you can only put in 1 ride at a time. I didn't get one on this trip so I'm not sure exactly but i doubt you can just go from 1 ride to the next and not wait I'm sure there must still be delays between rides.
There was a wide variety of rides. Most rides you had to be over 1.3 meters to go on unaccompanied. Both my boys were over this but my hubby went on with them so it was ok. At over a meter my eldest could go on all rides but the little one had I think 3 he couldn't go on. There was only 2 rides I think, a helicoptor one (it just went up and down and round and round in the same place) and the smaller dragon roller coaster that my other half couldn't take both boys on at the same time. This was great as it didn't cause to many arguements or much upset. Many of the rides were made to look as if they were made of lego which was quite cool. My hubby moaned he wanted them made out of actual lego, but I did explain this was probably not very safe! lol
A lot of the rides had pictures taken so that you could go and buy them afterwards, these varies in price depending on what you wanted (I can't remember off the top of my head how much they were.) You could get the photos and I think keyrings and stuff.
As the boys are so young they still have an afternoon sleep but the park was exciting enough that we didn't leave till about 5:45 pm and the kids were still going strong. Although we hadn't left the car park before they were asleep!
There was lots of restaurants dotted around. We went in crossed ribs BBQ next to the pirate area. I got myself and my hubby burger and chips, which was £7 or £8, it was a massive burger but in a cold bun with cold chips that had been reheated by frying them a second time, so not very pleasent at all. I got the boys pasta which I think was Annabel Karmel. These were essentially what looked like microwave meals tipped out on a plate with some mixed sald leaves. The boys however did seem to enjoy it and at I think around £3.50 including drinks it wasn't too bad.
On a positive note they don't seem to have got the same memo as most restaurants and will allow you to use the microwave to heat up food and bottles, and/or give you some hot water if you prefer.
The toys etc in the shops are great, they do have all the obviouse lego packs but they also have swords, hats fancy dress outfits etc. These all seemed to be well made. I got the boys a machette, Indiana Jones hat, Pirate hat, hook and a patch. The hook and sword are made of foam so softer than plastic and they seem to be very durable. There has been no breakages or damage at all since we bought them a month ago. As I am a childminder with 7 different children thoughout the day (all boys) these get played with loads, even the 10 year olds love em and they are quite rough with them, so deffinately good quality. The item were reasonably prices, don't think anything was more than £10, i vaguely remeber the swors being £4.99 or something and the hats I think £6.99. They were certainly better value and better quality than the food. So I'd probably recommend to take a packed lunch and buy more toys, lol.
there is different stuff that goes on throughout the day, puppet show and such. I can't really comment on those as we didn't get round to seeing any. We did however catch the end of the pirats stunt show. This was really good with boats on water and sword fight and stuff, the boys really enjoyed it and wasted no time in re-enacting it!
This was great, cleverly done and the kids were amazed. There is working trains and things running round big sections of it which the kids liked following.
Now I know smoking is not exactly in fashion and I'm a naughty Mummy for smoking but this was one of the things I hated about the park. There is 1 smoking area surrounded by high solid wood fencing and dense shrubbery. This meant that every time i wanted a cigarette I had to go all the way back to near the start of the park. Whilst I appreciate there is lots of small children around and I wouoldn't want to see any of the burned the fencing should be lower. Even though there was no roof throughout the main part of the day it was very smokey. I wouldn't stand in there as I had the baby in a buggy. Although I smoke I don't do it in the house so my kids haven't been in a smokey environment and I didn't want to take the baby in there. It was at times crowded and of course most people in there had their children with them. Whilst I can understand seperating smokers I was a little disappointed that smokers weren't either distributed more evenly around the park (there were several places where they could be built) or the fencing lower so it wasn't so smokey. Not fot the smokers benefit but for their children.
All-in-all a great day was had by all but I'll leave it a while before taking them again as I think they'd appreciate somewhere cheaper just as much at this young age.
I have 3 children aged, 4, 2 and 4 months. I discovered these after my eldest was born and have used them for all 3.
They are a decent size, and white with green stripes. They state that they help protect from redness and skin irritation, I assume they mean nappy rash. I'm not sure how effective this actually is however my eldest got awful nappy rash every time he had a tooth coming and I did notice (over the course of several teeth) that if we used different wipes the rash was worse so I'm inclined to take them at face value on that and believe them.
It also states that it contains aloe and willow herb, several people will be aware of these plants uses in medicinal purposes so I assume it is this that gives the extra protection.
My eldest has also got a rash from every brand of wipes I have tried apart from this one. My middle and youngest child get mild eczema and they have never had any issues with these wipes.
These wipes are a decent size, and although my other half tells me off for using 1 for polish ("they cost money you know!" lol) the messiest poo takes around 4 wipes. Don't think I have ever used more than 10 and that was when we were out and he had the runs and it was from chest to toes! So although more expensive than quite a few brand they are definately value for money
They are nice and moist but not watery, they also have a slight creaminess to them, again I assume this is the extra protection. Having had the normal Johnsons before I would confirm that not only are these moister, the normal ones have caused a reaction on my eldest.
These are not just for bums, they are also soft and gently enough that I use them for hands and feces after meal times.
I would definatly recommend this to anyone having a baby, or looking for a more sesitive wipe.
I have 3 boys aged 4 months, 3 and 4. Ever since the eldest was born I have said we should use talcum powder. To be honest I don't know why I just thought that was what you did with kids after a bath! Or at least it is what was always done to me. My husband however would never let me use it as he vaguely remebered reading something about Talc not being good for you.
I found this powder in the last month or so and as it said it was Talc free I bought it on the off chance my hubby would let me use it.
He made me look up on the internet what was bad about talc incase it was another ingredient. It is the talc thats supposed to be bad, apparently it is rock that crushed down and the particles are similar to aspestos! Never knew it was rock, don't know what I thought it was though. And the other review is correct it is linked to cancer of both the lungs and ovaries the particles having been found in the tumours.
The good news is that as this is talc free my other half let me use it, woohoo! lol
This is as you would expect, a fine white powder. It is made of cornstarch and any cooks out there will know this is good stuff for thickening up sauces and stuff so I can see how it would help keep you dry. It has lots of extracts, leaves and flowers etc from various plants and herbs, it therefore smells absolutely gorgeous. Its difficult to describe but its quite a comforting homely fresh smell.
I have used it on all 3 boys, and while the older boys don't seem to be any drier necessarily they do love it and now ask for it after baths if we forget. They do have to stand on a towel as it does go everywhere, although this is not that surprising! For the baby however, I am of course carefull that I don't use it on his face or anything but it is great in his little creases, especially the really quite deep crease in his neck. I wouldn't say it stays perfectly dry but then again with that amount of dribble I doubt anything could keep him dry there but it does do a very good job. Its also a nice soft powder as you apply it.
I have very sensitive skin, I can only use aqueous cream on my face, and can't even use E45 so I liked the idea of these products being all natural so I thought I'd risk a few. so far I have tried one new product a week. Both to give me time to react, my skin to adjust and so I can easily identify which products I react to.
Having had 3 babies in 4 years I do have the odd tummy crease! i have used this product on my self, and the areas where I would normally sweat, waistband, under breasts etc that you don't really want to use anti-perspirant on do not get clammy at all.
I would definatly recommend this product.
Why I wanted it
When I bought this I had 2 cat, a new very fluffy rug in the living room and working as a childminder who had 7 children in the house throughout different parts of the day a house that seemed perminantly full of crumbs!
This has a nice big capacity for a hand held. It is heavier than most but not too heavy. The filters are easily taken out and can be washed under a running tap so ideal for someone like me that is useless at maintaining stuff. It runs for 6 mins on full power which I tend to use it on but you can press a little button which reduces the amount of power it uses and then it lasts for 10 mins, wlthough this does of course reduce suction. Set on this level is fine so crumbs on laminate flooring though.
Comes with different tools, my only bug bear is the crevice tool could be a little thinner (this seems to be my bug bear with all crevice tools though!) It is however a longer crevice tool than most which is good. This is quite a big handheld as such it can be awkward to get in places like under car seats. Dyson however have thought of this and not only can you buy lots more tools for the handheld you can also buy an extension tube, a bit like the tubes on cylinder cleaners.
This is currently available on the dyson website for £169.99.
Why I love it
With the big rug in my living room I was forever picking fluff up off the floor, now not only can I use this machine instead of getting the big one out the kids think its a great toy and do it for me, fab!
I generally use it for my stairs, the car, crumbs and spilt food int the kitchen (an every meal time job with 3 children under 5 plus my borrowed ones!) I refitted my kitchen myself last year so it was up to me to clean up and this was great. Because it doesn't have conventional filters you can pick up all the brick dust, drill dust, woodshavings etc, and not only does it not kill the machine (like our old upright did) it also maintains its power!
I have had this a while now, as i said I'm pretty rubbish at maintaining stuff and although the instructions say to do it much more often I have only cleaned the filters twice and its still going strong, no probs at all. Unlike a lot of cleaners, handheld or not this doesn't smell at all when you are cleaning either.
This is so good that when my current cylinder cleaner dies I'm contemplating buying the DC35 or its attachments if I can for use on this one and using it as my main cleaner!
Also on the plus side it doesn't loose any suction power as the battery is running low, on the negative side this means that if you've happily used it a few times and put it away you can on occaion go to use it, get about 10 secs of power then it dies! Maybe I should get a little pad to note down how long I've used it for each time, lol.
It takes ages to charge, approx 3.5 hrs, this is understandable due to the power of it but frustrating if its a little job you want to do quickly, especially as I've had it drummed into me that you must do a complete charge each time, because if you do frequent little charges it will kill the battery. You must press the button to use it, whilst this is good on the battery, if i use it for the full life of the battery, 6-10 mins I get finger cramp!
Why I wanted it
I bought this for my son at christmas. He was 3 at the time but turned 4 in April, my middle son uses this as well he is 2 and will be 3 in June. I liked the fact it advertised an age range from 4-9 and that the games grow with the child. I am a childminder so I thought it would be useful for all of the children I look after. I also didn't want to buy something he would get the hang of too quickly.
This is a nice sturdy product, it has been dropped down the stairs and happily survived (much to my relief!) The buttons are large and even the 2 year old has got the hang of what the buttons do and how to get back to the main menu. It comes with a pen which I was sure they would break but 5 months on its going strong after daily use. It states it is intended for ages 4-9 but my 2 year old can use it although it does depend on the game.
Leapworld is the online area where you can download e-books, videos, flashcards and games. Credits can be used here to purchase add-ons to games you already have.
You can also view your childs learning path to see which skills they have gained or are still working towards. This is split into different age ranges and skills so you can not only check your child is meeting their own age but also if they are ahead. It tells you if your child can do something or is working on something. This path is individual to each child and also combines with their learning path from other toys, e.g. tag. Don't be too disheartened if it says your childis not even working towards something it maybe that you don't have the game that teaches those skills. Also do remember to take what it says with a pinch of salt. No children are the same and your own view of their progree and any teachers they may have holds more weight than this.
you can aldo view demo's and download some playable ones. This at least lets you see a bit more of the games and give you an idea if your child will like it before you spend your heard earned money on it.
Games can be purchased for around £20 each, these are little cartridges and the games we have a quite large so should last some time, although he did complete Mr Pencil in the first month!
It is possible to buy leaplet cards. A pack is around £10 and has 2 cards with codes on. It does say that downloads cost 1 or 2 codes but I haven't come accross any that need 2. The videos are excellent and educational with approx a 30 min run time, from looking at the options I would say for my children this is the best way to spend the codes. The children quickly learn the song and even the 2 year old now knows what sounds all the letters make. The games are quite small, the nearest comparision I can give you is the difference between buying The Sims for a PC and then buying it on your mobile. The proper games are good but the download games are no better or bigger than mobile form ones. I haven't bought any e-books yet as I also got my 2 year old a V-Tech Storio for christmas ao I can't give you a fair idea of what they are like. There are only a couple of flash cards available, I can't remeber what they all are but I know one of them is Spanish, so for a bilingual child or a big Dora fan these would be great.
When you first turn it on you get a screen with different profiles on. You can have 3 profiles and a guest profile. You can access the settings for the 3 main profiles and set the age of the child, this affects the difficulty of the games. This is a very useful feature for a machine that can be shared as it stops older children getting bored and younger children getting frustrated.
As a childminder I have several people as well as my son wanting to use the machine. I have set up a profile for my eldest, my middle child and my full time minded child. The older school children all enter as guest, it seems this profile tends to be on the highest difficulty anyway and as the school children are aged 7-9 this is ideal.
As children play the game they earn badges for completing certain tasks. These badges then show as differnt medals next to their profile. The badges also earn them credits which they can use in leapworld.
At around £60 this is quite expensive but definatelt worth it for the amount it will be used. The older children seem to enjoy playing on this as much as on their DS's and at less than half the price of a DS and educational I'd say its a bit of a bargain.
It comes pre-installed with a game called Pet Pad. This is a create your own pet game allowing you to feed and wash your pet (additional food and shampoo can be purchased using credits in leapworld.) If your kids are anything like mine get used to it declaring oops you've run out of food/shampoo and to connect for more. My kids are a bit little yet to realise a cat doesn't need washin 20 times in a row! Each profile has 3 pets which can all be customised. Note that credits are earned by the profile so you must buy food and shampoo for each profile separetly. It has 4 areas, the living room which lets you see and select your different pets. Inventory so you can see what you are running low on and an area to customise your pet. The fourth area is called health and fun, this is the main playing area.
This area is split into 4 different sections
1) Bath time, you must drag the pen over the pet to rinse it, then 4 more times to shampoo, scrub, rinse again and dry.
2) Treat time, here you can select what treat to give, then tap the screen to drop it for your pet.
3) Flingo, this is where you must essentially launch your pet and try to pop balloons as they appear by touching them with the pen.
4) Tricks, this area has all the letters upper and lower case for your child to trace over. This can be frustrating to begin with as it needs to be very precise or it makes them start again. The 4 year old has no issues with this and has worked his way through all of it. The 2 year old has been know to scream and send it flying! He can now do it most of the time though and as he has a very strong prescription of glasses his fine motor skills were a little behind and this has helped him no end.
It also comes with one leaplet card allowing you to download one thing in leapworld.
It also comes with all the relevent wires, these are the same as the ones for tag and tag junior so handy for spares if you have them all.
It takes 4AA batteries. I use rechargeable batteries NiMH 2900mAH (slighly bigger capacity than the duracel ones you can buy.) I would say this gives you about 24hrs worth of use.
All in all this is a fab machine, the only problem I have found with it is its storage capacity. My son has 2 games, 1 demo, and 3 videos. Whilst the videos are great they do take up a lot of space so my son has very little space. there is no option to add anymore storage e.g an SD card to the device. Leapworld does store all the games you have downloaded so you can download them again. If we want to purchase anything more leaplets we will have to take some stuff off and juggle them around a bit. The only other thing is that this is American so some of the words it uses are different, the age ranges in the profile are done in school years so this is also slightly different but not too hard to work out.
I had a travel system for my eldest but took it back when he was 3 months old as the wheels had gone wonky. So when my second son came along I had a buggy still but no car seat.
My main bug bear with my previous infant carrier was how it attached to the car. You had to have the seat belt going over the lap section and therefore over my son's legs, which made it awkward to get him in and out of if the seat was already in the car.
After a lot of investigation at the time I only managed to find a couple of infant carriers that didn't go in this way, one was at the very top end of the market and this one was about £35. As there is only 13 months between my 2 eldest money was tight so I opted for the cheaper one.
I must admit due to its price I was very dubious about using it for a newborn. I was however pleasently surprised.
My husband has a Mondeo and the seat tend to slope down towards the back so a lot of rear facing car seats can end up quite upright. This really worries me as the babies head kind of ends up flopped on their chest. This car seat however as well as coming with a head support also lies quite flat so even with the tilt of the actual car seats the baby doesn't tip forward at all.
Another big bonus with this car seat is its lightwieght frame. Whilst the seat generally stays in the car perminantly the small frame means its quite narrow. This is very important at the moment as it is now being used for my third child so I have to be able to accomodate 3 car seat/carriers in the back and can do so easily with this.
This car seat is easy and quick to install in the car. It can be installed two ways,
1) the more traditional way where the seat belt goes round the back and over the legs or
2) around the back and under the front of the seat. This canm be a little more fiddly to do as its difficult to see but if you want the carrier mainly left in the vehicle this is a good way to do it. The baby doesn't get their legs tangled up at all this way and its easier to get them in and out.
There are 2 draw back for this carrier though.
1) There isn't much padding, this is in no way the kind of luxurious car seat that you yourself would like to sit in. It is however padded enough for a baby that is effectively very lightweight anyway so probably don't push on the padding too much.
2) As mentioned by other people the carry handle must be moved back behind the seat when it is in the car. So you must then push it in and pull it round to get the handle to carrying position. This is very stiff and I only occassionally manage to do it before I give up and get my husband to do it.
I always read lots of reviews before I buy and must admit I seemed to have missed the downsides on this one. It was purchased to go in my husbands mondeo. This is a large family car so I assumed it would fit no problem. If you have the seat fitted with no recline it fits fine. However unlike other car seats I have had which recline this does not slide on the base there is a bar underneath which you flip forward. whilst reclining the seat this also makes the back on the seat at the bottom move away from the actual car seating. This makes it incredibly difficlut to get the seatbelt through properly.
It is also not as padded as I would like it to be. Although it does have side imapt protection if they did bang their head on the headrest whilst it may protect them from very serious injury I think they could still be injured as it is very hard. My son cried for weeks when I took him out of his Graco junior mini when his younger brother was born and put him into this. It is no where near as comfortable and alhtough it is technically from 9 months plus I would not recommend it for a child under the age of 2 or 3.
On the plus side my son is now 4 and still easily fits into the 5 point harness and I will be securing him in the car seat this way as long as possible.
I had the Maclaren twin teckno but found it too unwieldy so wanted a double buggy instead of a tandem. I originally bought a smaller tandem but my son although only 2 months old was on the 99.8th percentile and wouldn't fit laying down! So although this buggy looks and feels a bit like a train I had to buy it to accomodate his length.
I am a childminder who doesn't drive so this buggy has really been put through its paces and I would definately buy one again. Unlike a lot of doubles it can fit accessories like a buggypod and a buggy board. And yes the frame can withstand both at the same time and I have managed to relatively comfortable push 4 children this way, even if my arms are now like swarzeniger's!
Being in the back the baby was sheltered by the both his canopy and the child in fronts canopy so no wind right in his face, and it is still really roomy with a rain cover attached.
This has a huge area underneath and with the use of some buggy clips I have done a whole weekly shop and attched the bags on the handle. With the weight of the largest child at the front there is no chance of it tipping.
Much as it was heavy when we had all that snow last year I had 2 children aged 3 and one 18 months. I put the youngest in the front and lay back the back seat. One 3 year old then sat at the front of the seat and one cross legged behind. Although hard to push I could at least get all 3 in when they were tired from nursery, and if the back two's legs went over the side they even had room to sleep. Even used this way I could still push and steer it one handed and get it on and off the bus easily. You do have to jump to put weight on the buggy to get it up curbs though! It will however go up all dropped curbs even the really high ones without being tipped.
I had a teckno xt for my son and absolutely loved it. When I had my second son and my eldest was only 13 months old I needed a double. Due to my perhaps biased view of the teckno xt I considered no other double. I was however diappointed, whilst this can fit easily in doors around shopping ailse it can be heavy and unwieldy. The handles are a little to far apart for me to push confortably for long distances and as I don't drive this was a must.
Any one who already has children will know it is occassionally necessary to push the buggy one handed. This is impossible on this buggy as it will start going round in circles. Was also disappointed that the visor doesn't unzip to come lower like it does on the XT. Also wieghs a ton to pick up a curb.
On the whole probable fab with 2 newborns and someone that wants a sturdy buggy that will last years. But not ideal for someone with different aged children who needs it all the time.