t's amazing how adverts on the television can affect our children, well that's why they show toy adverts on cartoon channels isn't it? It's my youngest daughter's birthday next week and her Nan had phoned her up to ask what she wanted, and she had just happened to see an advert for the Jump Dancer and decided that it was the one toy she wanted more than any other. So she asked her Nan, and duly received it. Now it's not her birthday until Sunday, but as she knew what she was getting anyway, her kind Nan said she could open it straight away.
~~~What's a Jump Dancer?~~~
Now most of you guys are going to have no idea what I'm talking about here, but something us girls used to play on the school playground was skipping. We had a couple of ways of using the skipping rope, the regular way where two people would hold the rope (one at each end) and swing it, and another where one person would hold the rope and spin it round and round while everybody else jumped. This was great fun for everybody except the one doing the spinning, who would get dizzy and often fall in an undignified heap.
With the Jump dancer, our children no longer need to suffer this indignity as it does all the spinning for you.
Described on the box as The Hands-free Motorised Jump Rope it is exactly that.
~~~How do you set it up?~~~
The jumper requires minimal assembly, and can be set up to be used in either a horizontal or vertical position. In either case you need to fill the base with sand or water (I would advise sand as water and electricity don't mix), you then need to insert six size D batteries in the motor unit, and then the pieces fit easily together.
~~~What does it look like?~~~
Well it's looks very sturdy being made of chunky moulded plastic in bright primary colours. It's definitely designed to catch children's eyes, rather than co-ordinating with any furniture.
~~~How do you play it?~~~
You can play this in two ways, as a traditional skipping rope, where two children can jump at once, by placing the arm in the vertical position, and attaching the long rope to a stationary object. In this mode you can change the speed to make it easier for younger children to jump. You really need to use this outside though. This is also the mode to use for traditional skipping games, although I personally can't remember any of the rhymes. You
The other mode is horizontal where you use the shorter rope with the ball and it will spin in a circle and upto four children can jump at once. In either case you can set the Jump Dancer to run for 1, 3 or 5 minutes.
~~~What's it like in action?~~~
In horizontal mode, it is very fast, I know this, because I've had a go. If you do get tangled in it, the rope comes away from the motor (yep I got caught), this is a very good safety feature.
In vertical mode, Ashleigh needs it to be slowed right down, because again it is very fast. In both modes it does exactly what it says on the box, that is does all the work of turning the rope while the child or children skip.
~~~Is it safe?~~~
It's as safe as rope can be. The arm is designed to be released if it snags or tangles on someone, and this feature works really well. Of course the rope should not be deliberately tangled around anybody and kept away from necks. I would also say children need to be supervised using this especially in vertical mode, as accidents can happen with any toy. And what better excuse to join in and have a go yourself.
~~~Who is it suitable for?~~~
The box states that the jump dancer is suitable for age 6 and above, and I would say that this is a very sensible guideline, at almost six Ashleigh finds it difficult and regularly catches the rope, although she is getting better. Younger children and those with difficulty with movement would find this next to impossible. However, it is also a fun and energetic way for adults to exercise.
~~~How does it help my child's development?~~~
The Jump Dancer will help your child to develop their co-ordination and timing as they practise jumping. It will also help them get the exercise that they need each day, the government recommends that children should spend at least 1 hour a day partaking in physical activity.
~~~Is it going to last more than five minutes?~~~
Well the first part of this answer is whether this is going to be a five minute wonder, and I don't think it is. if Ashleigh gets bored with it, I won't, it's a fun way of exercising. But to be honest I can't see her getting bored so long as we stick to short sharp bursts.
Then there is the actual quality of build, and it appears to be very well built and durable, I can't see it falling apart within 5 minutes as some less sturdy toys do.
The final question, is how long the batteries last. Well we're still on the first set of cheap batteries several days on, and the motor is still running at the same speed. I would say there's been a couple of hours of actual running altogether. However, it might turn out cheaper in the long run if we buy re-chargeable batteries.
~~~Where can I get one?~~~
Ashleigh's Jump Dancer was bought from Argos for £28.95, but now seems quite hard to get hold of although it is available to buy new or used on Amazon for £31.95
~~~So what does Ashleigh think?~~~
It's really fun, but really hard and it's just what I wanted for my birthday. Thank you Nanna
~~~And what does her Mum think?~~~
The Jump Dancer is a great toy if a little on the expensive side. It lived upto all Ashleigh's expectations, and she loves it. It is however very fast, and this could be considered a down point as it means my less able son is unable to join in.
But it's not just for the children to play with, I've enjoyed taking turns with them, although as I'm not particularly fit I tend to get breathless very quickly, but hopefully this will improve. All in a great toy, that is pretty good value for money, and encourages almost the whole family to join in.