“ Manufacturer: ELC / Type: Kids Sport Equipment „
Crazy Bowling Summer had arrived in England, or at least what we now see as summer with those couple of weeks of sun and the rest rain and out came the garden toys for the children. As we have a flat garden, my mum brought some of my brothers and sisters toys down to play with my daughter and one of those included this crazy bowling set from the Early Learning Center. EARLY LEARNING CENTER The Early Learning Center was originally a mail order company that opened its doors in 1974 near Swindon. Less than ten years later it was already opening many shops to the public and has since grown vastly with well over 200 shops in the UK and over 80 in 19 other countries around the world. The opened their own website in 2001 which brought in even more sales and a couple of years later expanded from toy to a range of baby equipment such as pushchairs and cots. The Early Learning Center have a wide range of top quality toys and work in partnership with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to ensure their toys are of the highest standard. Many stores even open their doors specifically for parents to bring their children in to play with the toys on specific days. We have not been there for one of these days though on experience of going in the stores I find them very relaxed in allowing children to play with numerous toys around the shop floors anyway - this is ones shop my daughter doesn't mind going in when shopping! LETS GO BOWLING Crazy bowling consists of a completely inflatable playset with one brightly coloured bowling lane, six pins and 2 bowling balls. The lane is easy enough to blow up though does take a little bit of puff to get it going as there are a few separate parts to blow up. Once up, it is very eye catching and around 250cm in length. At the far end where the pins sit, it is raised vertically with some plastic comb effect material to create a backdrop for the pins to fall into. The edges are rather like bumpers and the colours of the alley are bold purples, blues and greens. If the alley part gets wet, be aware that it can get quite slippy! The six pins are in the same boldness of colour as the alley, though in a red colour which actually does go with the rest of the set even though you might think it wouldn't. There are also two blow up balls which are bright purple. These can either be blown up with breath alone or can be partly inflated and the center filled with water which makes the balls swerve rather than just go forward. It also makes it (obviously!) slightly heavier so much younger children may find this difficult. There are instructions of how to inflate all the items in the box though to be honest it is all common sense - I mean do you really need to be told how to blow something up? At least the instructions are in English though - that's a first!! PACKAGING The bowling set comes in an average square box with bold yellow surround with the name of the set in white - it does stand out quite well, though, as the white letters have a slight blue shadow to them. There is the same image on back and front of the bowling set being used by a young child, and some small instruction on one side of how to part inflate and part fill with water the ball. I am unsure of how the set was packaged inside though as my mum had already opened it, though I believe they were all individually wrapped with clear bags. Unlike most packaging, the box is of decent size to the toy itself - no paying more for the wasted packaging. PRICE AND AVALIABILITY I checked on the ELC website and it doesn't appear to have it on there though I do seem to remember seeing it in the local store not long ago. This is a specific product to ELC though as with many of their products, this self same, or similar product can often be found at places such as Argos and online stores such as Amazon. Early Learning Center do brilliant toys and you can always guarantee that they are safe for children, though they are also one of the most expensive toy shops so do look around as you may be able to see one similar or the same with different production name upon it. You can pick this set up for around £20-£25 at Early Learning Center though personally although the product is great that is quite expensive for what it is (though a lot cheaper than a lot of toys). STRIKE ONE This bowling set has the age of 3 plus on it, though to be honest there is no real reason why it can not be used by younger children as there are no small parts - the only safety feature I can think of is what I mentioned above about the alley becoming wet and slippy though there is no reason why you have to use water in the balls as they inflate completely without water if required. My daughter is coming up to two years of age and my brother and sister are seven and five (yes a large age gap between my siblings and myself though that's such a great thing as I can lower down to their age without the responsibilities of being their parent!). My brother, although will happily play along with his sister and niece, has really out grown this and would prefer to play with real footballs, though my sister will still play quite happily with it. My daughter absolutely loved it too, although found it difficult to aim the ball. I did find that by filling the balls with water made it slightly better for her, and there was no leakage when we did this at all. The bowling alley does need flat ground opposed to sloped, though my siblings did used to play with it on sloped ground though with the main part of the game being balls, they found they were running down the hill after the runaway balls a lot, and the pins wouldn't stay up (even though they do have a harder base.) My daughter usually gets quite frustrated with toys that she can not work properly, though there was nothing but fun had with this game. Even after a few hours, she was still happy to stand the pins up and throw the balls towards them. I think that this is a lovely little toy for young children, with its bright colours and easy to set up for adults. It is compact when put away properly too, so easy to take on holidays which is especially great for any camping holidays and the slightly older children can keep score to make the toy more like real bowling. This toy is very durable and does not tear or rip easily which is always a huge plus when many children are fighting over whose turn it is next. None of the pins or balls have ever popped yet and the balls keep the water in very well without any leakage. This toy is what made my brother get into real bowling and bowlingo and loves going with my mum and his friends to the real bowling alley now. FINAL WORD It is worth tracking this toy down for the summer (or even if you have a big enough room in the house) as it gives children hours of fun and is very easy to set up and pack away. It is completely safe with no small parts and so I believe even younger children than the specified 3 plus states on the box. I would certainly recommend it for all though with most ELC toys I would recommend looking around for the same product cheaper as for what it is, it is a little on the expensive side.