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While shopping for supplies for the birthday party cupboard I came across this skipping rope for £5.Usual retail is around £10 which may seem expensive for a skipping rope, but this is no ordinary rope. I decided to buy one for my daughter as well as her friend, as she had been asking for a skipping rope for a while and this looked like it could be fun and educational. The skipping rope is bright orange in colour with green handles. There are smiley faces on each handle and they have designed it well so it is bright and attractive to children. The skipping rope is thick and durable and the handles are made of strong durable plastic. It is designed to be attractive to children, but also made so it will last.
What makes this skipping rope different is the maths features. On one of the skipping ropes is a small switch that can be moved to different points for different features. It promises to mix maths with fun, so your child can learn to count as they skip. There are a few different settings. For the younger child simple counting from one to ten. Then you can increase the number as your child gets more confident right up to 100. Again as they become more confident it can be changed to counting by twos, or fives or even tens.
For the slightly older child this skipping rope can be used to learn their time tables. It runs from 1 right up to 10 and again you can set the level to suit your child. Finally is the music mode. While you skip you are greeted with music. As you swing the rope novelty noises such as pans crashing and bangs can be heard. There is a switch off function so if your child leaves it on it will not drain the batteries. We have found the batteries to last well, and we are still using the ones provided without any slowing of the voice.
As a rope
Of course firstly this is a skipping rope. It works well with a taller person, but my little girl still finds she is a little too small for it. Age recommendation is three years plus, so if at 4 she is too small I am not sure it would suit a younger child. There is a small pulley smiley face on the rope that can be moved in order to change the size of the rope depending on the child using it. While this is a great feature the rope even at its shortest setting is too long for my little girl to use properly. She still gives it a good go but I just think for its younger target audience it could have been shorter still. While it is great as it will last as she gets older, as an adult it is long enough for me so it could have easily been shortened.
As your child jumps the sensors let the interactive features know your child has jumped. In a nice clear, friendly voice the skipping rope will shout out the numbers with your child. The sensor seems to be off at times, by not counting when little one jumps, but generally it works OK. It has become a little more unreliable as it has been dropped more, but generally it is fine. The handles have worn very quickly. There are a number of deep scratches in the plastic that make it look very old. It does not affect play, but visually it is disappointing. The once bright green handles are now worn and look as though they have received years of play.
What we love is the variation in the modes. By flipping the switch you activate the different features very easily. Then there is a small button on the handle that can be pressed to change the way you are counting. So not only can you count from 1- 100 in ones, but you can change it so you are counting in twos, fives or tens. Again with the times tables there is a good range of scope so little one never becomes bored. They can just change the setting and begin a whole new game and it is easy enough that even my three year old son can do this. This sets your child a target and helps them become more interested in reaching it.
There are instructions on how to change it to a dance ribbon. This is fairly easy to do, but it does require an adult to do it rather than the child themselves. By removing the smiley faces heads on the handles; you remove the skipping rope, but leave two parts of a baton. By twisting the bottom of one of the hand pieces you can click the two together making one unit. Finally using the attachment pieces you are given with the pack you can attach the ribbon and it's ready to go.
The dance ribbon is rather long so it really needs to be swung about to lift it off the floor. Ours has become a little grubby from the amount of times it has just been dragged along the floor. Like the handles of the skipping rope it wears rather quickly, meaning that even after the first week of use it looked months old. My daughter still really likes this feature of the toy and it helps to add something a little different. While she enjoys the skipping rope it only really holds her attention for short periods of time. This adds another avenue of play once she becomes bored with the skipping. It helps make the appeal last. You can also use the interactive features for the dance ribbon, but to honest my daughter tends to just leave it switched off.
I have been impressed with this toy. While it does not receive huge amounts of play my little girl still loved it. She likes using the music mode and the counting mode, but at four she is not really interested in the times tables. It has helped my little girl become more confident with her counting skills, and as it counts in a variety of numbers it has introduced her to counting in different ways. Before there is no way she would have attempted to count in fives, but now she is confident that she can do it. Just having something to keep count with her, so if she does get lost along the way she can be guided in the right direction seems to help.
Of course as well as the educational value it has its original value of getting my little girl up and moving. She will play with this longer than a normal skipping rope. It does not increase her time jumping around hugely, but she definitely plays a little longer by using the different modes. It is a hit with friends when they come over to play as well, and the novelty feature of something different seems to be really attractive to them. I would recommend this skipping rope even at the full £10 retail I think it is good value for money.