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My little girl seems to surprise me everyday. Shes very bright, confident and seems to act at least 4 years old than she actually is. Her tastes in programmes and toys hasn't changed that much over the last few months although she does seem to be very fond of what her brother is into e.g Spiderman, Doctor Who, anything connected with Superheros! One programme that she still enjoys and loves watching is Ben and Hollys Little Kingdom shown on Nick Jr/Jr 2. So when I saw this particular toy in my local Home Bargains store for £2.99, I knew I had to buy it for her birthday.
Why did I buy it?
I bought it because I know how much my daughter loves the show and characters. It looked quite cute and suitable for her age and capabilities and the price was so low so not expensive.
What is Ben and Hollys Little Kingdom?
Its an animated series for children that is created and produced by the team behind Peppa Pig. Its basically about two best friends Ben, who is an elf and Holly who is a fairy Princess. Each episode shows them having an adventure, normally involving their friends and family. Magic, fairies, elves, greedy gnomes, big people and all kinds of chaos happens in each episode which leads to a lot of fun to watch!
What is this toy?
It's a phone. Mainly blue in colour with a green keypad section. Chunky in design. Width at widest point is just over 2 inches, length 5.5 inches and depth just under 1.5 inches.
The main feature of this phone is that there is a circular ' screen ' area on the front. Theres a slot at the top where you place one of 3 character cards into it. When the keypad section is pressed, firstly you will hear a sound effect mimicking actually dialling a number. Then each card can speak 4 different phrases. The character cards you receive are Princess Holly, Ben Elf and Nanny Plum. Some of the phrases are as an example ' Hi, Im Princess Holly ', ' In awhile crocodile ' ' Fairies should never be without their wands '. Another effect that occurs is that when you look at the screen and after pressing the keypad section the screen slightly vibrates.
The keypad section is flat, no raised buttons. The ' buttons ' on there are simply a picture so when your pressing it down your pressing down the while area.
On the back of the phone you have a clip that can fix onto clothing.
Toy came with batteries, but requires 3 AAA batteries.
Suitable for children ages 3 plus.
So what do we think?
Firstly, it's a very cute looking phone. Colouring is completely unisex. I think the size and the shape is perfect for little hands, as its easy to hold.
Its easy to use and very basic. Taking the character cards out and puting them in can be alittle tricky, and not something my daughter can do on her own. She isn't three yet so this isn't the easiest task. In fact its not the easiest thing to do at all but not impossible nor does it take too long, just a touch fiddly.
I like the idea of the character cards, but feel there should have been more included in regards to other characters from the show. The reason why I say this is because really the phone doesn't do much, so what it does it needs to do more to provide additional entertainment. The pictures on the cards are accurate in regards to what the characters look like on the show, so easily recognised.
I like how the cards, or should I say the screen, slightly move and have a hint of vibration to them, but would have liked a touch more. This action makes the characters appear to move when they are speaking, which is a nice touch but could do with the action being more vivid and have a bigger effect.
The lack of actual keys on this phone has me split down the middle. On one hand its very easy for any child to use if they are pressing a pad, but having actually keys would have been more fun and mimic a real phone ( putting to one side the majority of todays generation of smartphones of course! )Also I think it would have made the toy more tactile and give it a more interesting look.
Volume for me needs to be alittle louder. When you try the phone out in its try me state, the volume is quite loud and easy to hear. When you first use it properly there is a tab attached to it that when you pull the volume automatically it goes a lot lower not to damage childrens ears. Completely understandable, but for me and both my children we end up sticking the phone very close to our ears struggling to hear it.
Despite the age recommended being 3 plus, I don't see an issue with younger children using this. Theres no parts to it that can fall off, be sharp or can be swallowed. The only thing I would say is the child would need help changing the character cards.
Would I buy this again? To be honest I would. It cost less than £3.00 and both of my children have probably got monies worth out of it already! Both of them do role play with it and seem to have a lot of fun with it. It looks cute and any young fan of the show would automatically love it. Is this a toy that will be played with constantly? Probably not. As mentioned, it is limited on what it can do, so once that's discovered theres very little you can do with it, so cant see it holding the attention of my daughter for huge periods of time, more like short bursts. But for the price and what it does I cant complain. If I paid anymore, now that's another story........
My little girl really wanted a phone for her birthday she loves role playing and copying anything that mummy does so rather than let her loose on my iphone I brought this Ben and holly's phone for £10 and I knew she would love it. Ben and holly is a program on nick Jr and also played on channel 5 and rather new for my little girl but she loves it all the same.
The phone is a good size and rather chunky so little one can hold it easily and as it is made from solid plastic it is very durable. There is an aerial at the top of the phone that little one can lift up and put back down and although the buttons do not do anything as single buttons the whole pad they sit on is a large button and when the cartridges are inserted that it what makes the characters talk.
The tabs are round circle cartridges and you receive 3 different character ones with them Ben, Holly and Nanny Plum all major characters in the program so well recognised by little one. They are bright fun and like for like with the characters from the TV program. They have a small tab at the top of them as to make it a little easier to insert and take out the disks when wanted.
At the top of the phone is a circular transparent pain and this is where the picture from each of the disks shows. The cartridges are added into the top and then the phrases change for each of the different characters that are added.
When you inset them in to the top of the phone and press the keypad button 2 things happen one the characters begin to move not a lot it is only tiny movement like holly's wings flap and bens mouth moves but it is still noticeable if you pay attention but this does not seem to interest my children maybe because it is such a small movement and not really noticeable until closer inspection.
Also the characters say 4 phrases each they are all phrases that they say in the programme like holly says ' Hi Ben are you coming out to play? All the phrases are easily recognisable by any Ben and holly fan. The sound is not too loud but still loud enough for little one to hear it easily but without driving mum and dad crazy there is no volume control but as it is not over bearing this is not too bad.
There is a small compartment at the back of the phone where you can store the cartridges which is good as they are small and would be lost easily in the hands of toddlers if there was no storage for them.
My downside to this is the tabs can be rather annoying to insert and unless it is put in correctly the phone does not work so for a young child to do this when sometimes I struggle is very hard. For this reason it does not really get much use unless she leaves 1 character card in which is a shame when there are 3 to choose from.
It has lasted well is made of plastic and very durable so it can withhold the rough play that my 3 year old little girl and 4 year old son give it. It has been dropped a number of times and banged around in the toy box and still works and no visible signs of damage.
Over all it is a nice phone and a good concept but even for and older child that is nearly 5 to use it can be frustrating and for that reason it mainly sits in the toy box. Such a shame as it is well made other than that but as it is the features which were the appeal for purchase I am disappointed.
It is recommended from 3 years plus and although I would not recommend it if you are purchasing for the movement of the pictures or the ease of using the cartridges for a simple play phone for a toddler it is good and sturdy and has lasted a year without being broken.