Newest Review: ... regular use. This cooker does switch itself off - or enter 'sleep mode'- when not in use which helps here. Since Baby CrazyEgg was belo... more
Cooking up a storm
Casdon 477 Toy Hotpoint Electronic Cooker
Member Name: CrazyEgg
Casdon 477 Toy Hotpoint Electronic Cooker
Advantages: Realistic looking
Disadvantages: Flimsy doors
The oven comes securely packaged in a strong cardboard box that features photos of the oven with lots of callouts highlighting the products's features: "Oven and grill lights! Grilling and cooking sounds! Realistic glowing hob! [if only my oven had a glowing hob!] Just like the real thing! [Pah!]. There are photos of children at play with the oven, and the age range is clearly stated and explained: "Unsuitable for children under 3 years of age due to the presence of components which could be either small enough to swallow whole and/or bitten off, chewed and swallowed." The box also states that the cooker requires 3 x 'C' batteries. Thankfully these have not been 'eaten up' by the cooker and are still going strong after three months of regular use. This cooker does switch itself off - or enter 'sleep mode'- when not in use which helps here.
Since Baby CrazyEgg was below the stated age for the cooker I had a good prod of all the components. There was a loose screw that fell out of the back of the oven and had no obvious purpose. When fitted the batteries were sealed in by screwing down a plate at the back of the oven and that was very secure. The pans all came with lids that had round handles which could I suppose be bitten off if you were in Ozzy Osbourne mode, but it was some of the pieces of play food that posed a choking risk to Baby CrazyEgg and so we put these to one side. The food items deemed unsuitable were the very thin and snappable bacon rasher, the chips and the sausages, all too small. This left us with one very tiny roast chicken*, burger, peas, and a single lonely lettuce leaf.
The next thing I did was open and shut the doors of the double oven [DOUBLE oven! How I long to able to grill and bake at the same time!] and I found these to feel rather flimsy. I noticed also that they, especially the top oven, did get stuck if you did not get the angle right. This is something that has caused Baby CrazyEgg frustration on occasion, but I have managed to sort it out and get the door working again. She does not play too boisterously with this toy (though she has a troubling tendency to bake her Happyland people, especially the doctor), however, if the door was forced more than 90 degrees the instructions state that it has been designed to detach and you simply have to clip it back on. I cannot comment on whether this is true or easy, and I am not going to try even in the name of research).
On to the most important bit of all: is it a good toy for playing with? Well, there is a whole list on the box of skills that can be developed with this cooker and the most important and obvious one is that it is a role-playing and pretending toy that can aid the imagination. In my view one of the joys of this toy is not just that it helps Baby CrazyEgg pretend and imagine, but that I can see what it is she is thinking and doing, and I can see that she is taking in all the various aspects of her world. Now, Baby CrazyEgg has apparently got delayed expressive speech, but there are no problems with her understanding or communication as far as I can see and we have been using Makaton (thanks Mr Tumble!) for some now. So when I say she 'says' something, she is in fact making a sign to tell me or Mr CrazyEgg something. With the oven and her extensive collection of play food garnered from many discount stores, and Hamley's during a weak moment, she has concocted many a meal for us both. "Hot hot!" she says, "Mmmmmm". She puts the food on the tray, into the oven, closes the door and switches it on: "Wait, wait. Now it's ready! Not for you. For Elmo." She bakes in batches and shares out the food amongst her toys. She stands at the oven to use the hob, kneels for the ovens, showing pleasure and sometimes disgust: "EWWW yuKa! yuKa!" at her results. Don't know where she gets that from, I am of course a fabulous cook.
It is really fun watching Baby CrazyEgg with this cooker making the various hobs and compartments light up...though it is not always fun listening to the oven. It makes various sounds, but one in particular is just unpleasant to listen too. It is a loud, harsh crackle. The unitiated yelp when it bursts forth and have been known to try and switch it off. Although there is a button that does this, the sound does stop after about ten seconds and the cooker goes "Bong! Bong! Bong!" to signal that the food is ready. This is a most pleasing sound. In total there are seven buttons to press and four sounds.
The only feature of this toy that Baby CrazyEgg dislikes is the movable oven shelves. I've put them in a few times but she is not having it, as it limits which pieces of play food she can bake.
As I have said, the packaging states a number of skills this toy develops, but I think they could perhaps use the space on the box better. I would skip this bit if I were you, but in this interests of completeness I will tell you that Casdon regard the following as sales points: "lights for visual stimulation, buttons to push to activate for understanding cause and effect, ...opening doors develop problem solving and motor skills [oh, the jamming door is deliberate, I Seee], imitation cooking sounds for ...aural stimulation."
In summary this is a great toy if a little flimsy, even I suspect for many three year olds. It loses a star for this, the loose screw and the terrible sound effect. But it is still worth four stars in my view.
*scale is irrelevant in all play food collections as far as I can see. Here the roast chicken is dwarfed by the comparatively enormous burger patty which in turn has the same diameter as the fried egg.
Summary: Great pretending toy
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