Product Type: Hippychick Outdoor Toy
Newest Review: ... and allow them to strengthen their leg muscles. The large is recommended form 2.5 years to 5 years, and I would also say this is a... more
Wheely Bug Tiger Small- Wheely, wheely cute!
Hippychick Wheely Bug Ride On
Member Name: Indycat
Hippychick Wheely Bug Ride On
Advantages: Beautifully made, durable and hard wearing, looks gorgeous!
Disadvantages: Not very supportive as a baby walker
As Elliot's first birthday approached, We had the task of deciding what present to buy to mark his first year in the world. What with Grandparents, Aunties and Uncles, friends and other relatives all asking for ideas on what to get for him, we soon found we were running out of ideas for ourselves! Help luckily came in the shape of my sister-in-law, who one day happened to mention how much my 2.5 year old nephew still loved playing with his bee wheely bug and so we settled on getting one of these.
Wheely bugs are extremely cute, lovely looking ride-on/ babywalker toys made by an Australian company. This toy has won a whole host of awards in several countries and claims to help develop your child's gross motor skills and balance in a completely unique way. It's available in two different sizes, the small size being suitable from 12 months+ as a baby walker and the larger size from 3 years+. There are five different designs you can buy- bee, ladybird, cow, mouse or tiger and if you've not seen one of these before, I defy you not to be charmed by how cute they look!
After much deliberation, we decided on the tiger model and ordered it from an online retailer at a cost of £49.99. It seems the newer tiger and mouse models are more popular than the bee and ladybird and are therefore harder to find cheaper, however if you are happy with the insect variety, you can find them for around £40 online brand new and second hand ones are also fairly plentiful on ebay. This is rather more expensive than most other baby walkers or ride ons, however as it covers both aspects, is highly rated and claims to be of very high quality, I felt it was worth the price for my son's first birthday. They also hold their value very well so there is always the possibility of selling it on in the future.
At last, the eagerly awaited tiger arrived a few days before Elliot's birthday and I was not disappointed by how lovely it looked. The main body of the toy is covered in a soft layer of leather-like material, underneath which it is padded with sponge for a comfy ride. This then sits on top of a curved and well finished wooden base, which in turn sits on four castor type wheels, enabling the toy to move easily and smoothly in all directions. Over the head of tiger is a curved handle made from aluminium and hard wearing plastic. The materials used in the manufacture of this toy look and feel to be of a very high standard and the way it's put together looks absolutely seamless. It also comes completely assembled and ready to use, which makes a nice change to most larger baby toys. The tiger model itself is adorable and is a lovely bright orange colour, with black stripes over the main body and a friendly, smiley little face. Soft white fur covers his ears and the sides of his face and he has a cute little tail with a black fluffy end- very, very sweet!
When Elliot's birthday arrived, we couldn't wait to see what he thought of his tiger and after unwrapping it, he seemed quite taken with tiger's face and fluffy ears. However, when we encouraged him to use it as a walker, he couldn't seem to get to grips with it and soon lost interest. The concept of using a baby walker wasn't entirely new to him as he already had a hand-me-down Vtech one, which he'd just started to use, so we reasoned that in a few weeks he would probably get more used to playing with Mr. Tiger.
Unfortunately this wasn't the case at all, in the weeks that followed, Elliot would always favour his other walker and I soon realised that he didn't feel as supported or comfortable when using the wheely bug. This I think is partly due to the handle height- As the wheely bug is also a ride on, the handle obviously needs to be low enough for holding on to whilst sitting down on it, however this also means your toddler has to actually bend at the waist to push it whilst using it as a walker. This is something that never bothered my nephew, but of course all children are different and Elliot just seemed to prefer to stand up straight. In addition, the castor wheels which are designed to enable easy negotiation of corners, seemed to be more difficult for Elliot to control whilst walking along and he would often lose his balance and topple over. Whilst I realise this toy is intended to help with balance control, Elliot became quite wary of it after a few tumbles and despite our encouragement, tiger was soon abandoned in the corner of the room.
Success eventually came at around the age of 14 months and as Elliot gradually became more stable on his feet, tiger came back into favour as he mastered pushing him around. Typically, this also coincided with Elliot taking his first steps on his own and before long, he had abandoned all walkers in favour of getting around under his own steam!
At this point in time, my little boy is approaching 18 months old and Mr. Tiger is still woefully underused as Elliot has not yet figured out how to push himself along in ride-on mode. On the plus side, other slightly older children who visit have great fun scooting around the house on the tiger, so I am hoping that in a few months time Elliot will work this out for himself and tiger will at last get some long overdue play-time. (Toy Story 3 has obviously had quite an effect on me...)
Summary: Looks great in the living room, if only someone would play with it!
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