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I got my son this Caterpillar Dump Truck for his second birthday. It wasn't something that he had necessarily wanted or requested and, in truth, I bought it as an extra present as it meant that I qualified for free delivery on an order for something that he had wanted. It was priced at £6 on offer at Smyth's Toys at the time and delivery would have been almost as much so I looked on it as an extra. Looking at the price of it now, £14.99 on Amazon, it seems a very good purchase at that price!
The truck is a realistic version of a real life Caterpillar Truck. The dimensions are 20.3 x 15.2 x 15.2 cm and it weighs 680g. It is suitable for children from aged 18 months plus.
The truck is a bright yellow colour, with a black undercarriage and black tyres. The inner parts of the wheel - the hubcaps - are made with the same yellow plastic as the truck. The tyres are a black plastic with deep, realistic treads. The wheels are threaded securely on metal axles and feel very safe and secure. The cab of the truck is a thick yellow plastic with black headlights and grill detailing. There are no window panes, just holes where the windows are. Inside the cab are two black plastic seats.
The back of the truck is a big yellow tipping part. It is hinged above the back wheels so can be lifted from the front of pushed down from the back to tip it's load. The bottom of the tipper is smooth but the sides and top have a ridged, textured feel. The dumper part doesn't tip far - to about 10-15cm - but it is enough to dump the load. There is a caterpillar sticker attached to the top of the dumper part and a CAT sticker on either side.
My son loves cars and planes but is less fussed with construction vehicles so I wasn't sure how much of a success this truck would be. He enjoyed pushing this along the floor and, being so big in size, it is easy to push with one hand whilst crawling along with it. However, my son enjoys pushing things freely and making them go right across the floor. This truck is not so good for that - it is too big to go far by pushing alone and it tends to swerve about a lot too. This just led to him becoming frustrated with the toy.
My son did enjoy filling the back up with toys - bricks mainly but also smaller cars, figures etc - and lifting the dumper up to tip them out. He would do this several times in a row and filling and emptying seemed to keep him quite amused for short lengths of time at least.
In the end, we decided that this truck would probably get more use as a garden toy. It is quite big and filled up a large portion of his toy box so this made sense from a storage point of view too. As a garden toy, it was a much bigger hit with my son and his friends. They had great fun filling the back with sand/ mud and tipping it out (my garden was somewhat less impressed!!). The tyres also made great tracks in the sand, which they loved to discover and then enjoyed pushing it around and mounding the sand up with the front of the truck. The truck is fairly easy to clean with water and cleans up well. The only visible wear and tear that this has caused is that the stickers placed on the truck have been removed or torn - on the side and front of the vehicle. This is just superficial damage and does not detract from the play value of the toy at all.
The truck is well made and sturdy and made from a thick, good quality plastic. However, it still remains lightweight which is ideal for toddlers to push along (and means no damage is caused when the inevitable crashes happen). It has proved durable and stood up well to my son and his friend's somewhat aggressive play - it has not cracked, dented or even scratched. The plastic tyres have not even worn substantially - just a few scratches here and there but I would have expected a bit more wear and tear on this having decided to use it for outdoor play.
I do not personally think that it is worth the £14.99 I have seen it selling at online. Other than the tipping motion of the dumper, it doesn't actually do much and, for that sort of price I would want a lot more for my money - sound effects, levers to activate things etc. However, for the £6 I paid, it is decent value and I can have no complaints (other than the amount of room it takes up storage wise but I should have read the product specifications before purchasing!).
I would probably recommend this toy only to those that are construction vehicle mad. Some of my friends' children are and they definitely get more from this toy than my son - the mere sight of it (and it's size which is obviously very large to young children) brings huge excited smiles to their faces. It supports imaginative play well as they are able to use the truck to transport, tip and pick up things and make the sound effects as they go. So, overall a nice toy - overpriced - but one for construction fans I think!
For Christmas shortly after my sons first birthday we bought the Caterpillar 14 CAT Juniors, Dump Truck. My son really liked cars and tractors and liked to push things around the floor so this toy was ideal.
The dump truck is quite big and very chunky. The whole thing is made of hard yellow plastic with the wheels being made of hard black plastic. The back of the dump truck tips up and can be locked into place. There are no doors or anything that open on the truck but you can put little people in through the windows as there is no plastic over these. The truck is big and measures 38cm long by 21cm wide and is 23cm high without the tipper raised.
The truck is very hard wearing even though it is only made of plastic and we have had it for three years now and it still looks as good as new. We haven't had to make any repairs or had any breakages with this toy at all which is unusual in our house.
My son really liked this truck and liked to fill the tipper part with all sorts of things and drive them around the house. I have a younger son who is 20 months old and he has loved this truck since he discovered the joys of pushing things around the carpet. I have found that when the children are crawling or just toddling this truck is excellent because it can take the weight of them leaning on it without tipping or breaking.
The only trouble we have with the truck is that sometimes it can be difficult to put the tipper back down once you have locked it into place. It feels like you are forcing it but it usually clicks back with a bit of effort. The only other thing I would say against this toy, which I didn't think of when we bought it, is that it is quite big and does take up a lot of storage space.
We bought our Caterpillar Juniors Dump Truck from Toys R Us for about £9.99 but that was 3 years ago. There were other types of caterpillar construction vehicles available but we chose the Dump Truck because of the tipping part.
I would recommend this toy to anyone with baby boys at it is sturdy, hard wearing and can handle the punishment that rough little boys will give it.