“ Manufacturer: VTech / Age: 3 Years+ „
VTech Thomas Calling All Friends Phone
I bought this for my daughter on her first birthday (she is now 5), because she absolutely adored all things Thomas. At first I thought that she would bore easily as she couldn't understand all of the games but I couldn't have been more wrong!! She is still playing with it now even though I have tried, unsuccessfully, to get her to part with it and give it to children who don't have many (as my house is starting to look like a very large but very real Toys R Us!)
I think that it cost me around 15.00 from Argos although I do know that now you can purchace it there for 8.99 and on Amazon for around 9.98.
The toy itself has a Thomas shaped train onto a red backing board with an easy grab handle and a blue telephone reciever attatched with a yellow, easy open cord.
Thomas has telephone type buttons on him (12 in all), each with a different number, picture and sound. Underneath Thomas there are 3 train wheels, one blue, one green and one red to press to change the game type.
The three game types are Find and Learn, Call Our Friends and Follow The Lights.
FIND AND LEARN - Gives you an area (either next to, above or below) where a character is situated and the object is to find that character.
CALL OUR FRIENDS - Dialling numbers and "talking" to others.
FOLLOW THE LIGHTS - As it says- - Follow The Lights. (May sound rather tedious but to a small child the acomplishment of doing something right and feeling so clever is immense!)
This is recommended for ages 3-6 but I think that it is suitable for younger children as they can still play with it and become familiar with it for when they are older and can fully understand the games.
This toy can teach children so many valuable lessons from learning numbers, their left from their right, colours etc.
The best part of this toy for me is the cord which is detatchable in the middle, an important and invaluable safety feature and I think that VTech are brilliant for taking the time to install it.
Overall a brilliant toy for all ages of children no matter what age is given (although ages are sometimes used due to safety prcautions so proceed with care and always supervise if your child is playing with something for over their age range).
My little one loves phones and so was bought this as a Christmas present. It has a handset that you can pick up, and plenty of light up buttons to press including three different types of games- Find and Learn where you have to find a character on the keypad beside, above or below someone, Call our Friends where you have to find and dial a number and Follow the Lights, which is self explanatory! It also has an additional two buttons to play songs.
The voice on this toy is a rip off of Ringo Star, but you can tell it's not him because it doesn't sound like he's boredly reading from a book or stressing the wrong words in the sentence.
It retails at around £10 and the age range suggested is between 3 and 6 years old. I would say that the older end of that scale is probably better, as the three and a half year old who last played with this toy got really frustrated with the Find and Learn game, because he thought the point was to find the Character said, not the one "to the left of Percy" It is quite good fun for younger kids and toddlers though, as they can just bash away at the keys. However, the fact that the telephone handset comes off really easily from the detatchable string (I'm guessing this is a safety feature) is quite annoying- two of toddlers favourite activities are to drag things and lose things, which aren't helped by this feature.
The other bad thing about the design is that the off button isn't instant. So when you are tidying up during the little one's nap and press it by mistake, it has a long winded goodbye instead of just shutting up!
Overall, a good toy for older kids, but might be frustrating for the younger ones.
The VTech Thomas Calling All Friends Phone is much more unique than it first appears to be. It looks a lot like a toddler toy does, yet it's actually suitable for children aged 3-5yrs because of the games and functions it has to offer. When I looked this up on the internet, I was amazed to see a lot of reviews grumbling about how it was too complicated for their two year old Thomas fan to manage! That's because it's not meant as a toddler toy, but as a pre-school through to reception aged toy.
On the surface, this toy can be used just as a role-playing telephone. It's got a nice, smooth and chunky telephone receiver which is just the right size and shape for small hands to manage easily. The cord which attaches it to the phone can also be detached by older children if they want to go for a cordless effect! It's got a robust handle on the top that is part of the base unit, so there's not much chance of it breaking through being carried and swung about the place.
The buttons and the wheel slides on this are what really take this toy onto another level. There are some fun and simple games programmed into this that will provide both entertainment and education for children old enough to count, follow instructions, understand patterns and enjoy undertaking simple challenges. This toy doesn't stretch a child's knowledge in any particular area, but it does help to hone in their concentration and encourage them to pay attention and follow the rules which are important skills to help them learn in school. Slightly younger children of two or three years old may well find it helps them to learn their basic numbers and colours though.
The two big winners here in our house are all the flashing lights behind the keys, and the music you hear when you press Thomas's face. If this toy had been designed specifically for autistic children they couldn't have made it any more appealing to the grandson than it is! Autistic children are often fans of Thomas the Tank Engine and lights, so this is a pretty great combination! It's also ideal that the music that plays is gentle, and most importantly, quiet. It's plenty loud enough for the child to hear without startling or annoying them.
As I said before, this seems like it's the same as a load of other toys which are already on the market, but it really does have something slightly different to offer in that the games on it are not aimed at toddlers. A lot of pre-schoolers and reception aged children still love playing with toy phones but find a lot of them too babyish. This one is specifically designed for their age group, and well designed at that.
The retail price is a very reasonable £14.99, and some shops have it available for less than that. Argos have it on sale for £8.99 at the moment which is a bargain if you can find stock in your local store.