“ Brand: Early Learning Centre / Age: 3+ „
We actually purchased this set from Amazon although they are ELC toys I often find that Amazon has a lot of sales on ELC items so while browsing I came across these and thought they would be perfect for my children. You can purchase them in a lovely pink colour but as I have two boys and one girl I decided to go with the neutral colour balls so they could all enjoy them.
I brought these when they were half price a few years ago and although they retail at £7 compared to other stores this is a little steep but I do find that ELC are made of high quality so worth the little extra and this has turned out to be true with this set.
In the set you receive three balls one is a football, another a basket ball and the other a rugby ball all are made to resemble the real size balls just on a smaller scale. The detail is great the markings on the balls or resemble the larger ones perfectly and my children loved to tell me which ball they were going to pick to play with and it helps them identify the three different types of balls.
The material they are made off means they are water proof so to clean they just need a wipe down with a sponge which helps pro long the life of them especially after they have been used outdoors.
Although they are very soft the outer material is almost rubbery which provides a great grip for little one while in use meaning they can easily catch and hold the ball rather than them just slipping from their fingers.
This set is great for a child's first ball although they are small they are perfect for little hands and help develop their hand eye co ordination. The balls them self are very soft so if the child misses the catch and it hits them it will not cause any damage at all yet they still have enough weight to be practical while using them outside to throw and catch.
They can be used in doors again because if they come in to contact with anything they are not likely to cause any damage. The different shapes of the balls are fantastic as it means children learn to catch a range of shapes and sizes rather than just a round ball.
This set has received a lot of play from my three children they love to play catch together or try to throw the small ball through the basketball hoop in the garden. They have received hours of play and unlike a similar set we purchased from Matalan there is no sign of wear on them there is a few scratches but nothing major and nothing that affects the use of the balls.
The set is recommended from 18 months old plus which I think is a perfect age range as this is when my son was really steady on his feet and wanted to join in with his brother and sister running round the garden.I would recommend these balls although they are great for younger children my nephew at 8 still likes to have a kick around with my son who is four and the smaller ball provides a bit more of a challenge for them both as it is so small but at the same time they enjoy it.
They are long lasting and well made and most important provide little one with lots of fun while improving their eye hand co ordination. A great product for family fun weather you're a small child or an adult.
=Early Learning Centre Soft Ball Pack==
Jack's bedroom is jam packed and it is only now that we are moving and having to pack it all up that I now realise how much stuff he actually has got. I guess this is a combination of having parents that spoil him and a lot of friends and family that will always treat him throughout the year and at Christmas and on Birthdays.
Jack has had this set of three play balls from the Early Learning Centre now for a good few years and although they are not a played with daily toy they are however played with every now and again when the desire to play a game of catch or even football in the house takes him.
This set is prefect for the indoor play as they are super soft and very light which means that they are not likely to knock any ornaments over or break anything. Can't say exactly how much as paid for the set as they were a gift for Jack on his 2nd birthday I believe and I am ashamed to say I can't even remember who bought them for him now either. Having had a quick butchers online I can see that the set are currently selling at the ELC for £5.60p but they do have some money off and they normally sell for £7.
I must say I feel this price is a little steep as I have seen a similar set, even though the balls were slightly smaller, in Poundland. That said though the quality of these balls is really good and I shouldn't think that the same can be said for the Poundland ones.
The set comprises of three soft balls imitating those from different sports. There is a rugby ball, a football and a basketball. The rugby ball is the largest of the three although they are all of similar sizes and the rugby one is probably the least used by Jack. The rugby ball has the printed on look of a real rugby ball stitching and is put together well with the actual stitching that is holding the light weight stuffing in being strong and hardly seen.
The football is actually made up of stitched in panels and again the stitching is really sturdy and hasn't come loose in all the time we have had it and looks pretty much as good as new. This I the one that Jack plays with most, not that you would guess because it is still in great condition.
The basketball is the one that now looks worse for wear but I can't say it is because it wasn't made well enough as this is more to do with Mums dog Harry who took a liking to it and has chewed it and pulled out all the stuffing. Having just come across this ball at the bottom of Jack toy box whilst packing up I have now sent it to the graveyard that is the bin!
On the whole I must say that this set is really quite good especially for those days a little ball game indoors is needed. The balls can be used outdoors but because of their light weight feel they are not the easiest balls to throw any real distance especially if there is any sort of wind. The age range of the balls says for those aged 3 and over which seems a little steep as there are no small parts and the balls are pretty safe for any aged child to play with in my mind although I would think that the ELC are just covering themselves.
I think this set is a good one even if we are one ball down due to a dog related incident but this is not anything that the ELC could have prevented and therefore I feel that a top score of 5 out of 5 stars is well deserved. I would recommend the set although personally I don't think I would pay out the full price of £7 for them.
I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you
Many thanks for taking the time to read.
To be perfectly blunt we only bought this set of balls to complete a three for two offer in The Early Learning Centre, I'm not sure I would have bought them otherwise as they are quite expensive at £7 for the three.
==Let's Play Ball Pt.1 - A parent's perspective==
Available in two colour schemes these soft balls come supplied in a non-reusable plastic bag. As one of the colour schemes is very obviously girl orientated, what with the pink and flowers, we went for the other standard colours. Within the pack there are three balls, a football, basketball and rugby ball, all of which look almost exactly like the real thing. The football is made of white hexagons interspersed with black pentagons, these are even stitched together just like a real football. With a circumference of approximately 36cm it is considerably smaller than the real thing and being made of a soft squashy material, it's considerably lighter too. As with all three balls the outer material is easy to wipe clean and water-resistant (note not water proof, so it's not the best to take into the bath). Being made of such a soft material there isn't a lot of bounce to this ball, it does bounce but it's a bit of a pathetic bounce. But on the upside these balls don't do a lot of damage if they hit the TV screen and are so light that even trainee ball throwers can manage to make them travel a reasonable distance.
The basket ball is the same size as the football and is the traditional orange with black detail. While the rugby ball is slightly bigger and funnily enough rugby ball shaped. All three balls are extremely well made, although they are stitched together, the stitching is very tight with not a sign of coming loose. They are also very easy to keep clean and I have no worries that my little man is going to damage either himself or anybody or thing else with them. Although I do think that they are a little on the expensive side, they are far superior to cheaper soft balls I've purchased in the past and as an adult I would probably give them four stars out of five. With that star being lost only because of the relatively high price.
==Let's Play Ball Pt.2 - A Child's Perspective==
Year old Freddy's gross motor skills are delayed, meaning that until very recently he got around by rolling rather than crawling. In fact he only started crawling yesterday and it's become very obvious just how much he loves this set of balls, especially the football.
The balls are all a good size for Freddy to hold, up to yesterday one of his favourite ways of playing with them was to lie on his back and hold the ball between his feet. While he will still do this the way he plays with these balls has changed considerably over the last twenty four hours. Freddy now loves to push the balls along the floor and then chase them, I think these are great motivators for the newly crawling child, Freddy's certainly spent a large portion of the day playing with them (when he's not been trying to turn the DVD player off).
We also play catch with these, although obviously Freddy can't actually catch them, but he loves it when I throw them for him. They also make brilliant spare balls for his skittle set, well the football and basketball do anyway. I love that we can play with these indoors without worrying that they are going to break. Obviously as Freddy gets older we'll be taking these outside and I'm pretty sure that they are going to survive that play as well. Talking of surviving, these balls have been thrown, pushed, kicked and chewed on for the last five months and show no sign of damage, there are no holes in them and the stitching shows not a single sign of coming loose.
==Let's Play Ball Pt.3 - An Educational Perspective==
First thing's first, although these balls are billed as being suitable for children over the age of eighteen months, I can see absolutely no reason why they should not be given to younger children. We bought these for Freddy when he was about ten months old and he's loved them from the word go. As long as a baby is able to hold these balls then I don't see why they shouldn't have them, they might not be getting the absolute most from them but they'll still have fun. After all no even David Beckham wasn't born knowing how to kick a ball and if he hadn't played with that first ball he might be doing something more constructive now.
These balls are a brilliant and safe way of helping your child learn and master gross motor skills. From chasing after the balls, whether by rolling, crawling or running, to learn to roll, throw, catch and kick balls, these are fantastic. I'm sure as Freddy gets older we'll be using these for kick-arounds in the garden and even playing piggy in the middle.
==Let's Play Ball Pt.4 - Final Words==
Although initially quite an expensive purchase these balls are well worth the investment. They are extremely well constructed and look very much like the real thing. Being soft they are safe for both indoor and outdoor play. More than anything, Freddy absolutely adores playing with balls and will actively seek them out. So I am recommending the Early Learning Centre Soft Ball Set to the parents of any toddler from about six months onwards. As for stars out of five, I'm going to stick to the four out of five as I do still think they are a little expensive.