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My daughter received this Colour me a song by Crayola for Christmas. It wasn't really played with on the day, because to be honest no-one really knew what it did without looking closely at the box, and with all the excitement of the day it was put to one side until things were a bit quieter.
Colour Me A Song is basically a closed plastic briefcase lookalike that acts as a drawing board. Its board is the size of an A4 sheet of paper, and the whole unit isn't much wider or taller than this, which makes it ideal for little hands to be able to carry around. It's quite lightweight with a chunky handle, but considering the majority of the inside of the unit is hollow then this would explain why it is so lightweight.
With Crayola being big name in the art and craft industry, it was obvious that this was going to be along the same lines. But it would be really dull and boring if it were to just be a portable drawing board.
Colour me a song acts as a musical drawing board. As long as it's turned on then technically the faster the child draws (or scribbles in our house) then the faster the music will play. I could see the novelty factor when we got around to looking into this toy, but wasn't really sure of why it would attract children apart from the noise.
There are four different instrument buttons in bright colours at the top of the unit. Each of these will play a different song when pressed. We immediately found a large flaw in Crayola's design the first time we used it. You don't actually have to draw to get the music to play. As long as my daughter had her hands on the drawing board and moved her hands around, it would chant out tunes at you regardless of whether paper was on the board, or crayons were being used. The motion pad for the music would have to be sensitive for small children to use, but I think perhaps a little too sensitive in this toy.
We did like the little drawer that is hiding on the underside of the unit. It contained sixteen triangular shaped crayons which were quite different to look at. My daughter liked the fact they looked different, and they were chunky and didn't break easily.
This toy was played with a little around Christmas, but to be honest it acts more as a drawing board (when the off button is in position) than it does for what it is intended.
I did look into how much this was retailing for, and it varies a lot from different retailers. I have seen it for as little as £4.99 which to be honest is as much as I think it is worth; right through to £19.99 where I think you have been robbed if you paid this.
The toy is suitable for children age two and over, and I can see why due to the crayons, but two year olds are generally intelligent little creatures, and I don't think this will hold their attention for very long unless they love music a lot. My daughter is just as happy scribbling on some paper, without having to use a special board with music.
I bought my son the Crayola colour me a song which is part of the beginnings range from Morrison's when it was reduced from its RRP of £19.99 to £9.99. I had seen the advertisements for this toy on TV but hadn't really thought about purchasing it before as my son had plenty presents but with such a bargain I couldn't resist
What is it?
It is actually a drawing board with a difference. It actually encourages little ones to draw and colour and the faster they colour the faster the tempo of the music.
The base is battery operated and has a bright yellow switch which has a lower and higher volume which automatically once a child is old enough to operate the switch they always choose the higher volume. It also has four additional sounds buttons which are an orange trumpet, yellow keyboard, green drum and blue guitar. These buttons can be pressed in any combination and by pressing each additional button and instrument is added to the base tune. The top has a section to clip a piece of paper under and the base area is slightly smaller than a piece of A4 paper. I personally fell it would be better if it was slightly larger so could fit a piece of A4 paper. It has a soft grip handle for carrying around.
It has a draw which holds the crayons and it actually comes with 8 triangle crayons. While a draw is particularly useful it is divided into two sections which makes it a little fiddly for little ones and my son has broke the tip off the end of one crayon trying to out them away. There is however space in this draw for 16 crayons if you want to buy extra to give your child more choice.
The toy comes with batteries included with the try me plastered across the front .It requires 3 AA batteries. The ones included have not run out yet after about three weeks of play.
The toy itself can be activated with your finger which is how you are expected to try it with the try me mode and I made the mistake of showing my son this when he first open the toy and now if he is in the mood will just run his finger round and round but I guess it is still learning.
The idea that it encourages drawing is true my son does love this concept that I do question is how it will encourage him to draw neater. Even in the few weeks that he has owned it he has worked out that in order to get the game to play faster he must scribble faster and his pictures now have significantly more colour on the paper however he will need to draw much slower in order to draw neater and to colour anywhere near staying in the lines but he is a long way from that stage for now. My son loves the additional musical instruments and always tends to add these when colouring.
It is not a toy he has used every day since Santa bought it him but it is one he has so far played with on a regular basis and does enjoy when he plays with it.
I have found another benefit that if I am writing a letter or a shopping list my son always wants a piece of paper to join in but wants to then sit on the sofa and draw but won't lean on a book but does happily lean on this toy so gets more satisfying results.
This product is recommended for children for two years and over and I think that this is definitely the most appropriate age for this toy. Once a child starts drawing that are recognisable or trying to colour between the lines this toy will lose the usefulness however I do recommend this for toddlers.