Product Type: Melissa & Doug Outdoor Toy
Newest Review: ... mainly by six year old Hollie and only occasionally by David as he seems to enjoy catching Hollie more than butterflies - much to her a... more
Butterfly or moth hunting?
Melissa & Doug Happy Giddy Net
Member Name: broxi3781
Melissa & Doug Happy Giddy Net
Advantages: Very well made, fun and cute.
Disadvantages: More fun when the sun is shining, should have some parental supervision.
Happy Giddy, the caterpillar featured on this net, is part of Melissa and Doug's Sunny Patch range of toys. As far as I can tell, this has no connection the children's television programme "Sunny Patch", but I could be wrong. He has a large green plastic head, and a body made from wood which has been covered in what appears to be a colourful striped paper which is very well sealed in a clear plastic covering, with an orange plastic handle and an orange metal hoop with a large orange net. The net itself is 9" across and the total length of the toy is 23". The net is very soft and quite deep as well, stretching out to 18", by my measurements.
Melissa and Doug are probably best known for wooden toys, but they sell a very wide range of educational toys. No matter what type of toy I buy, I have never had anything from this company that I was not 100% satisfied with. Melissa and Doug toys always seem to have a difference, a special touch above and beyond the usual mass produced toys. They sell the type of toys I would make for my own children if I had the ability. Melissa and Doug are real people, a husband and wife team - although they were only dating when they started the company in 1988 from Doug's parents garage. The company is American based but their toys are widely available throughout the UK. We have always bought from amazon, but you can find their toys at ELC and Toy R Us as well.
We bought this to add to my sons every growing bug hunting kit. Butterflies and moths have very delicate wings which should not be handled by human hands. My son's bug guns could easily damage these very fragile creatures, and while they enjoy hunting bugs very much - we do like to return most of them unharmed to the place we found them after a quick observation. Moths caught indoors are one exception, they get turned lose, but outside rather than in. Flies, which can also be caught with this net, however suffer a more gruesome fate, as food for our plants.
My youngest son chose this toy from Amazon, and it was clearly the caterpillar which attracted him to this net. My oldest seemed well pleased, and when offered his own net, said he was just share with his brother. I think this may be because he feels to old to ask for the caterpillar one, but secretly prefers it to the plain green. In addition to net, my son has the matching bug house. There are several other products available with the same character as well as a whole range with other insects for outdoor play.
I have read another review where this was used in water for pond dipping or rock pool exploration. I'm sure it could be used for this, but I feel the net would end up mucky and possibly discoloured. My sons have used this only for catching flying insects, but they have caught quite a few different insects. They returned from a butterfly hunting expedition with houses packed full of butterflies and dragonflies which we photographed and fed melted ice lolly on a sponge before I made my husband take them back to the exact spot the insects were collected to release them. It isn't fair to take them away from their homes.
All of the insects captured have flown away easily when released, and I do not feel the net has harmed them. Of course some parental supervision is required to teach children to be kind even to these little creatures. An unsupervised child could easily bring a collection home and leave them in a bug house or other container to die, or unintentionally damage a butterflies delicate wings. Worse still, some children are deliberately cruel to insects. I do realise some must be killed, and in fact we kill insects to feed plants and salamanders, and at times baby insects for fish ( midge larvae). I think any of us will kill the offending fly, not to mention fleas or head lice, but wanton cruelty is never a good thing and allowing children to torture even the smallest creature is encouraging character traits one might well regret later. Supervision is also wise to make sure children are not hurt. Hunting dragonflies near a pond alone would be very dangerous, and of course it is not an especially good idea to catch bees or wasps in this, or anything on a patch of stinging nettle. Children should be taught to use this both safely and humanely.
My oldest son says this net is a good choice because the large net makes it much easier to catch things. My youngest says it is nice because it has a very colourful design and a caterpillar, plus you can reach way up high with it, and see the bug you catch in the net before you put in the bug house. I very much appreciate the fact that this is very well made and has survived some very enthusiastic pouncing on hexbugs and demonstrating how to catch bugs - they are more gentle where living things are concerned.
Of course we do live in Northern Ireland and sunny days are not nearly as many as we would like. We have also used this to catch a tennis ball indoors, but do be careful to avoid anything breakable with backhand swings. We play on the landing where there is nothing to break. My son has also asked for some plastic bugs to catch indoors. I've ordered a wee walking cockroach to torture my husband with. He says he has started to have nightmares about bugs. We have no sympathy. Funny enough, my children don't really seem to understand nightmares well, both saying they can't remember ever having a bad dream. We have tried catching hexbugs in this as well, but they really aren't much fun for long as they are a bit too easy to catch. I'm looking for plastic butterflies now that could be thrown in the air or swooped about on a string and scooped up making this a bit more fun for long rainy days.
I bought this from Amazon for £4.99. As always with items bought directly from amazon, postage was free. Amazon has two separate listing for this and the second listing shows this as £6.49 + £6.13 for postage. Needless to say I recommend the cheaper one. Just be sure you have the right listing if you choose to buy.
Summary: Another excellent toy from Melissa and Doug