Product Type: ELC Outdoor Toy
Newest Review: ... 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 l... more
Let's Play Ball
ELC Soft Ball Pack
Member Name: sandemp
ELC Soft Ball Pack
Advantages: Soft, safe, look realistic, Freddy loves them
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.
Summary: Safe balls for toddlers