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We were given one of these rockers by a friend of ours for our youngest daughter when she was about 9 months old. To buy now the Little Tikes Rocker costs about £20 and you can buy them in many places such as Toys R Us and Argos or if you would prefer to buy online then they are available from Amazon.
The toy comes in a couple of different colours however as the one we were given was from a boy it is blue in colour. The toy is made for ages 1-3 years but Emily is very tall and could manage to use it from about 10 months old. The maximum user weight is 23kg which equates to about 3 stone 8 which is a good weight limit.
The toy didn't have any packaging as we were given it although I have seen it in shops and it comes in a heavy duty looking cardboard box.
The toy is made of hard plastic, it is curved at the bottom to allow the toy to rock from front to back. There is a dip in the middle of the toy for your child to sit in and it has a friendly looking head with 2 bright yellow handles for your child to grip on to. The toy has mane and tail detailing and I think it is probably meant to look like a horse although it doesn't look very accurate to the animal.
My daughter loved this toy when she first got it and she was able to climb on and off herself from standing and also manage to rock it back and forth without help. This toy is one that was played with everyday whilst it was in the house and even my elder daughter would be caught on it every now and again. Once the toy was moved outside Emily lost interest a bit which I think is because there are so many other toys outside that she likes but it was still well used.
The toy is very stable when in use as it is pretty wide giving it a good base. The toy rocks gently with the power of a young child but can rock more vigorously with a little more weight but still gets nowhere near tipping. Emily managed to stay on the rocker no problem and we had very few slipping off incidents once she had realised that it was a good idea to hold onto the handles.
We initially had this toy in the house although it was moved outside last summer and has been outside ever since, there has been a bit of fading due to the sun but that it the only signs of wear on the toy and I will be passing it down to another child shortly and imagine it would see them outgrow the toy too.
My mum bought this Little Tikes Rocker (or Rocking Horse, depending on where you purchase it from) nearly four years ago for my daughters first birthday, it's now her sixteen month old brother that's clambering on it each and every day so I think I can start the review by saying how well played with this toy has been! It's basically the younger childs version of the Teeter Totter; looking very similar in design (despite the Teeter Totter obviously being a whale rather than a horse), being constructed of the same chunky plastic and even having the same colour. It's a very basic rocking horse, only because it's made by Little Tikes it's been designed to be practical AND fun for very young babies - although I think it actually looks more like a Rocking Sheep than a Rocking Horse!
Both Hollie and David have loved this toy, it has been kept outside ever since we received it and other than a very small amount of fading to the plastic it's still in tip top condition. The fading has happened a little patchily so it's never going to look new again, but to have been braving the elements for four years (rain, sun and snow) I'd say that's pretty impressive!
The design is done cleverly to allow even very young babies to use this toy independantly. The seat is very low so providing your little one can clamber into something resembling a standing position they should be able to figure out a way of getting their bum onto the seat. I remember Hollie worked it out very quickly, but David (an infinitely lazier baby) would cock his leg half over the seat and then just kind of perch on the edge side-saddle style until I picked him up and plonked him in the correct position. It's a roomy seat, with a high back to help keep baby in the correct position - at a year old they should be stable enough in their sitting abilities to stay upright on their own, but the back of the seat does help to keep the child where (s)he should be even during a fairly strong rocking motion.
Due to the fact that the seat is so low and the rockers are extremely wide in relation to the body of the horse, the centre of gravity is perfect and therefore the toy is very stable. As Hollie got older she would rock herself very forcefully, to the point where I was absolutely convinced that the toy was going to fly backwards - this never happened though, which I found hugely surprising, and I class this as one of the safest outdoor toys in our collection. The rockers are wide enough to act as 'shelves' for the feet, giving the child purchase to rock themselves and also allowing them to keep their balance while it's in motion. David worked out very quickly that the further forward he put his feet the faster he could rock himself, it's really comical to watch him get himself into position and suddenly start throwing himself backwards and forwards to get the horse rocking! Hollie, being a girl (haha!), was altogether more composed when playing on the rocker and would daintily get her speed up - troublesome David simply throws himself into it and risks whiplash each time he sits on the rocker!
The handles are well designed and in the perfect place for small hands to grip while they're playing, actually these handles also help David to keep his balance while sitting on the rocker. He's realised that if he lets go of the handles he'll eventually fall off sideways, so hanging onto these chunky pieces of plastic help him to stay in an upright position - and also help the little daredevil to coax the rocker to go even faster as he heaves his (not insubstantial) weight against them!
I have nothing but praise for this Little Tikes Rocker. It might not be the most exciting looking toy your child will own, but to get four years use from something that only cost a little over £20 is incredible in my opinion - especially in these days of the 'throwaway toy' where even an item costing double this may only last for one or two summers. The same toy is also available in a dark (and very dull) pink, but I personally prefer the more classic blue in this instance as the pink really isn't a particularly nice shade. Cleaning is a doddle; a quick blast with the hosepipe is usually all it needs to remove any dirt or muck from the garden, although sometimes I'll give it a good going over with a bucket of hot soapy water and a strong cloth to bring it back to its best - which considering the age and the fact it's left outside all year round is pretty damned impressive.
My boys have a huge toy collection and not only do we find our family and friends buying gifts for them, we also find they are keen to give us their old toys. At my aunties house my boys were attracted to her collection of Little Tikes garden toys. After Mr Lools took them to visit one day they came home with the Little Tikes Rocker.
***Little Tikes Rocker***
The Little Tikes Rocker is a hard plastic rocking horse suitable for indoor and outdoor use. This has a wide plastic base which then has a horse on top with a seat moulded into the horse. This has handles for a child to hold onto. The base of the rocker is 91cm long and 58cm wide. The rocker is 74cm high at its highest point although the seat position is around 40cm from the ground.
Little Tikes state the rocker is suitable for children aged 18 month + and for a weight up to 45kg.
The rocker is available in 4 colours; pink, red, blue or green. We have this in green.
As this was a gift we did not go out and purchase this however the rocker is available from a wide number of retailers which include Toys R Us, Argos, Smyths and Tesco. The price of the rocker varies however all of the retailers listed sell this for £20-£25.
***Playing with it***
Even when bought from new the toy is fully assembled therefore it is quite bulky. On the occasion Mr Lools brought this toy home I spotted the rocker in the front seat with him as we had a double pushchair in the boot plus the children in the back of the car. Although the rocker isn't at all heavy it is bulky so carrying for long distances would also be a pain.
My boys loved to sit on the rocker and rock back and forwards singing and giggling. Initially I did find myself placing them on the seat of the rocker but even at 13 months they understood to hold onto the handles and rock back and forwards. The handles are well designed and even for small children easy to hold onto. Within weeks my boys had mastered how to climb on and off the rocker themselves. You do need to take care with children (young and older) that they do not stand on the seat, holding the handles and trying to rock. My friends 3 year old has done this, and my boys attempted to copy. The height of the seat is less than 40cm so not a high seat to fall off (especially as we put this on the grass) but if you are using indoors on hard flooring or outdoors on concrete it could be more of an safety issue which is why you need to supervise use of this toy.
Rocking wise the Little Tikes rocker moves back and forwards very easily. The low position of the rocker and the fact it has a wide plastic base means little ones can rest their feet on the top of this base which helps build up a rocking rythym. Even my boys at 13 months could rock quite fast, but because the base is so sturdy and wide I was confident that the rocker was not going to tip over as they rocked.
The rocker states it is suitable from 18 months plus. However my boys were given this toy at 13 months when they could stand unaided and within 2 weeks they were able to climb on and off the rocker on their own. We also have the Little Tikes Teeter Totter rocker which is suitable for more than one child and I feel this smaller Little Tikes Rocker is much more suitable for younger toddlers compared to the Teeter Totter. The Little Tikes individual rocker is firstly lower to the ground which is why my boys had no issues climbing on and off. In fact we own a Fisher Price Bounce and Spin Zebra which is a similar concept to this rocker and that is suitable from 12 months and in fact higher off the floor than this rocker. Secondly the Little Tikes Rocker has a back on the seat that is moulded into the horse. The back of this seat supports a child even if they decide to let go, whereas the Teeter Totter and the bounce and Spin Zebra a child could fall off backwards as there is no seat support. Obviously with children this young I always fully supervised them playing on the Little Tikes Rocker but I definitely feel the 18 month age guide is a little misleading.
Older toddlers and children play on the Little Tikes rocker and I feel my friend's 3 year old prefers to play on this rocker when he comes to visit as opposed to the Little Tikes Teeter Totter because he can rock faster. For children over 4 years old they probably will lose interest after a quick rock as the toy is quite tame and not quite the same speed or height that they get from a see saw or a similar toy. My auntie who gave us this as a gift said her 5 year old would describe the Little Tikes Rocker as his "see saw for babies".
Durability wise this is an excellent toy and made to a high quality. The rocker we have was bought almost 4 years ago and has been played with by my cousin for 3 summers and my boys have also spent since March this year playing with it. The green plastic is slightly lighter than when it was first bought due to it being outside in the sun, however this is not massively bleached in colour. The plastic is so strong and sturdy that there are no dents or chips. Because the plastic wipes down it is very easy to wash down. I keep this in our garage but on occasion the rocker has been left in our garden for a week or so and I just wipe down with water and antiseptic cleaning cloths.
This is a great toy for under 4's which can be used inside or out. The rocker is fun and another example of a Little Tikes toy which is made to a high quality and is durable. Even after 4 years of use the rocker is still in excellent condition even after numerous summers of rough play.
My main criticism of the rocker is it's bulky. For those limited by space you may find storing outdoors is the only option as you can't dissemble the rocker at all.
A great toy that my boys are learning to share!