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This smoothie maker is perfect for children and helps to get them interested in healthy eating and eating more fruit. It means that meal times are more enjoyable and less work that before because they can help to produce their own drink. It is a perfect size for children, so obviously is of little use to produce adult portions, but as this is not its design brief you cannot complain over this.
The instructions are complicated to start with, however once you have got the hang of it, they are of no use to you anymore because in actual fact the machine is pretty simple and self explanatory to use. It is battery operated with 4 blades within the machine to slice up the food placed into it. Unfortunately the battery does not last long and needs constantly changing and the blades do not cut the fruit up very well, leaving large pieces still in it and not making a smooth drink, which is unfortunate and disappointing. Having said this, it is listed under children's toys and so performs far better than anyone could ever imagine, actually producing proper drinks and not just roleplay. The blender itself is of a cool colour scheme being see through/clear and a green and white base.
Overall this is a fabulous machine because it saves me from buying sugary drinks from the supermarket and so allows me to bring more fruit into my children's lifestyle, thus in the process makes my life easier and reduces the number of arguments that surround mealtimes.
After a disastrous encounter with our kitchen blender exploding early on last year we decided it wise to not buy a new one for the foreseeable future, however when I saw this children's lets cook blender I decided to purchase it so that my daughter could continue to have her favourite banana milkshakes.
What it looks like
The blender comes packaged in a very compact box along with an instruction leaflet explaining how to use it, you don't really need this however as it is very easy. The blender itself is very small but as it is a children's toy it is only designed for children's portions, taking this into account it's big enough for our needs.
The blender itself is very attractive looking, the outer, main jug being a clear plastic with the base being white with a green rim, the lid is yellow and there is also a purple badge saying lets cook. The combination of colours gives this blender a very attractive look which is very appealing to children. I think it really stands out on the kitchen side, especially when placed next to a very colourful bowl of fruit.
How it works
This blender works like any other really; well it has the basic functions of any other blender. There is a little cap at the top which once opened leaves a wide enough hole to pop your ingredients into. There are then 4 blades at the bottom which (are supposed to) mix the ingredients together.
This blender is battery operated, and once applied the blender is ready to use. After you have put all of your desired ingredients into the small compartment at the top it is ready to turn on. To do this you simply press the rather large button on the side and leave it to blend for as long as required.
So now for the performance, to put it simply this is not the greatest but I actually think that it is ok. I have been shocked to find that this doesn't have a single good review on amazon as it is a children's toy listed under 'role play' in the toys and games section. Obviously you should not expect this to act as a normal blender would.
Although the performance is not like a 'kitchen appliance' blender it actually makes our banana milkshake rather well. Ok, so it doesn't actually blend the bananas but it does mix it well enough (when mixed with milk) to make a very bananary flavoured milkshake. We have also tried other fruits (all of which being soft fruits) and they too have worked rather well and gave the milk a lovely fruity flavour. Although there isn't a filter on this blender - which would have been handy - there is a little pouring spout which, if you position the lid at a slightly slanted position acts as a sort of filter and blocks most of the large fruit chunks from falling into the cup. My daughter always drinks her milkshakes with a straw though, just to be sure.
One of the major benefits of this blender is the safety aspect. I am fully confident to allow my daughter (4 years old) to make her own milkshakes unaided (but still supervised) knowing that she is fully free from harm. For a start the jug is made from plastic meaning it's not going to smash or cause injury that way. Also the metal blender itself does not seem at all sharp, but that doesn't matter anyway as a child would never be able to get their fingers anywhere near it. As I previously mentioned there is only a small gap to fit the fruit, this is because there is a plastic guard coving the entire top of the jug, it looks a little like a spiders web in the way it branches out leaving only small gaps. Even if a child's fingers could fit through the gaps they could never reach the bottom giving complete protection. This guard is also fastened by screws, which if not complicated enough ensuring a child can't get in, the screws are fixed with a triangle screwdriver, I know we don't have one of these in our house so I feel extremely confident that this blender is completely safe for my daughter.
Overall I don't think that this is at all too bad. Considering that it is basically a toy I am actually rather pleased that it partly works rather than being upset that it partly doesn't work. And besides it's not for me and the main decider of whether it is good or not is my daughter who just so happens to think that this is the best thing ever. She absolutely loves her banana milkshakes and she also loves the independence of being able to make it all by herself.
The main benefit for me is that, because my daughter loves it so much, I can avoid having to give her more sugary milkshakes that usually come in the form of Nesquik or Yazoo. With this blender all we have to add is banana (thinly chopped) and milk. No sugar involved. This blender does all of the things that we need and it costs less than a 10th of a normal blender. I don't think children are really to fussed about great performance, as long as they have fun, are safe and get a great treat at the end everybody involved is happy, especially the bank balance.
Of course there are also some downsides to this 'toy' blender, the main reason being performance as discussed before but one of the greatest troubles for me is the inability to clean it properly. I am yet to find a scrubbing brush to fit through the guard at the top which means leaving the jug to soak for a rather long time in the hopes that any bits of fruit left at the bottom will wash away. As this guard is designed with safety in mind I can't really complain though. Another issue may also be presented in the fact that it is battery powered; it doesn't really bother me as they last a long time, but it is something to take into consideration.
I would defiantly recommend buying this if you are looking for a fun kitchen toy for your child to get involved with. You should not however buy it if you are looking for a cheap alternative for a kitchen appliance as this just doesn't fit that bill. It is simply a lovely way for children to get involved in the kitchen in a safe and secure way while getting them very interested in fruits and food preparation. After buying this I have found my daughter to be taking a greater interest in different fruits as she is always wondering what new concoctions we can make. The blender is an all-round winner in our house.
Where you can get it
I bought this blender for around the £7.00 mark but it can currently be found in home bargains and other discount stores for approximately £3.99!
There is an age recommendation of 5 plus but I have found it perfectly suitable for my (recently turned) 4 year old and she is very much capable of understanding what it is, what it does and she knows never to use it without supervision. All children are different but I would recommend this suitable for children aged 4.
The blender requires 4AA batteries which are not provided; this blender does however have long lasting power as we have so far not had to change the batteries since we bought it.
Despite it having a whole host of bad reviews on many sites I would recommend you give this a try. For such a low price I think this is amazing as does my daughter. Just don't buy it expecting it to be and act like a blender as it does specifically state that it is a 'toy' designed for role play.