“ Brand: Disney / Type: Skipping rope „
At four, Hollie is a huge fan of the Disney Princesses. It doesn't matter which princess it is, as long as she has long beautiful hair and a stunning dress Hollie doesn't seem to mind. So when I spotted this Disney Princesses Fun Set in Toys R Us it fell into my trolley seemingly on its own power as I just knew she'd love it, not least because of her newly found love of skipping.
It's a lovely little set and well worth the £4 I paid for it. For your money you get a skipping rope, bat and ball set plus a sweet little yo-yo featuring Hollie's beloved Belle on the front. The set has been designed in such a way that all the components 'match', it's all very pretty and girly - absolutely perfect for a child like Hollie in fact!
The skipping rope is the thing that's had the most use and it's lasted pretty well. It's not the most durable skipping rope I've ever seen due to the fact that the handles are 100% (very thin) plastic and the Princess picture appears to have been printed onto a sheet of sticky-backed plastic and stuck onto the handles - and has not-too-helpfully started peeling off in such a way that it makes the skipping rope look about 50 years old! The rope (being a 'knotted' type) has frayed slightly, although this happened while it was still pretty new and hasn't really gotten much worse despite being played with on a very regular basis. Unfortunately the rope looks really dirty now, because of it being such a pale pink/purple colour but again this isn't something that can really be helped. The length of the rope is ideal for Hollie, it's fairly short in relation to other skipping ropes she owns but is perfect for the average four year old.
The small rubbery ball is attached to the bat with a short piece of elastic, this is great and an idea I haven't seen for years! It prevents the ball from becoming lost (as balls do!) and although supervision is required, the elastic string isn't long enough to pose a strangulation hazard. One thing Hollie has learned to watch out for is the fact that the ball hurts like a bugger if it catches you in the face while being bounced on the bat - she actually had a semi-black eye through it the first time she used it so you maybe need to teach your child to be a bit more careful than Hollie is!
Whenever we've had yo-yo's in this kind of set before they've been cheap, plasticky and completely rubbish so I wasn't expecting much from this one. I had a pleasant surprise though as although it is without doubt cheap and plasticky, it's not rubbish in the slightest and spins beautifully up and down the string. There's been no kinking in the string and the small loop is perfect for a small kiddie to slide her finger into, Hollie has learned the art of using a yo-yo using this and I can't see any reason to purchase her another one as although this is fairly basic that's all she needs.
Overall I think this play set is fantastic value and wouldn't hesitate to purchase again. Yes, it's amazingly (nauseatingly, some might say) pink but it features all the Princesses that Hollie loves and isn't a quick-buck set put together to extract cash from the purses of the mums of little girly girls. The minimum age range of three years is probably about right from both a safety point of view, and also because smaller children probably wouldn't be able to make full use of the set.
Last year my daughter was extremely proud of herself when she learned to skip with a rope and was in fact very proficient. Knowing this my Mum bought her the above set which at the time was being sold in our local Morrisons and is now available at Amazon as well as other toy retailers for around the £5 mark. Also being a huge Disney Princess fan it seemed an ideal gift and one she would get a lot of pleasure from.
The set consists of a child's skipping rope, a bat with small bouncy ball attached with elastic and a yo-yo. It comes on a card backing covered with plastic, which does make the toy look a little cheap and tacky but serves it's purpose I suppose. Of course my daughter was only interested in the goodies inside after being seduced by pictures of her favourite princess and the pretty pastel colours and ripped it open straight away.
The Yo-Yo was the first to be put through it's paces. It's actually much better quality than it appeared from the outside, once the nasty packaging had been removed. It's sturdy and robust, and has withstood quite a few clatters against concrete but is still going quite a few months on. While this was the first thing my daughter grabbed to play with, she did find it frustrating because of how difficult yo-yoing is generally for a small child. So it was me who got to play with this the most, until she got bored of watching me. It has come out the drawer a few times since and she's just discovered the knack herself. The yo-yo itself works very well and is nice and smooth, so we've only had a couple of knots to untangle and it's pretty much as good as new still.
The bat and ball set was definitely the most disappointing toy as the elastic snapped off the bat on the first use! Luckily my resourceful little girl still found use for it, in fact I think she preferred the bouncy ball alone than the idea of the bat and ball joined. While I was disappointed (I'd been looking forward to this toy most of all) she enjoyed playing with the ball and coming up with other games like bouncing the ball of the ground with the bat or throwing it to me and then me batting it back (or slightly to the side accidentally on purpose as the ball is small but quite solid!)
As expected though the skipping rope was the most used item from this set and for the entire summer holidays my daughter was rarely seen without it in her hand. Even on a short walk to the local shop she would be skipping along happily. This rope was an ideal size for my daughter (aged 6) as it's shorter than a lot of other skipping ropes available to buy separately. For an older child it would perhaps seem on the mean side, but it suited her perfectly. The rope is also quite thin and light and with lightweight plastic handles she found it easy to control. It did fray quite easily, which didn't really effect the play but did make it look tatty very quickly. The skipping rope was used constantly over two months and I suspect would have still being going strong if my daughter hadn't left it on the drive. Unfortunately being driven over by a car was a little too much for the skipping rope to bare and both handles were shattered.
For just under £5 I think this was quite a fun and useful set. My daughter certainly had her money's worth from it and it provided a lot of joy. The bat was disappointing but even that got played with, with a little imagination. I'd recommend this as a small party gift or a pocket money treat and would certainly buy one again in the future.