Friday, 24 May 2013

Play to Learn with TOMY

TOMY play to learn toys, TOMY toys, educational toys

As mentioned before in my previous post on TOMY's  Aqua Fun toys, their toys cover play time, creative time and bath time with Play 2 Learn, Aquadoodle and Aqua Fun range. We have reviewed 3 fairly different toys in their Play 2 Learn range to show you how they cover play time.

TOMY toys, Wibble Wobble Duckling, no batteries toys

TOMY toys, Wibble Wobble Duckling, no batteries toys

This Wibble Wobble Ducking (suitable for 10 months +) seems like a really simple toy. You press its head down and it's legs will turn, making it wobble while 'walking' forward.

Before we tested the toy out, I thought that it was probably too simple for Clay who just became 2 yesterday, but he absolutely adores it! When I showed them how it worked, it made both Abby and Clay giggle because the way it ran (it wobbled quite quickly!) across the table was so funny! It has one of those really cute face with cheerful colour that makes it really likeable. The only problem was that it didn't work on our carpet, which seems like one of the most common problem we have with several toys. The main smooth surface he could use was his sister's little table, but it wasn't a problem for him at all. You can really see how much he loves the little duckling!

Occasionally you'll see him struggling with pushing the head down, as he was pushing it slightly sideways (instead of straight down). It could happen more frequently so with younger children, but I suppose it helps with their muscle development.

The Wibble Wobble Duckling (approx. £11.00) encourages co-operation skill as well, which would have been easily achieved if there was a big smooth surface to make children crawl/ run after the duckling. Clay just doesn't seem to be able to resist the duckling wobbling away!

TOMY toys, Pic n Pop, no batteries toys

TOMY toys, Pic n Pop, no batteries toys

For active play, this Pic 'n' Pop (suitable for 18 months +, rrp £19.99) toy stimulates movements and teaches cause and effect. It includes 5 duo coloured balls, and requires no batteries to run. The child just need to press the green  levers (or just one) and a ball will pop out from the tube. Roll over the ball and the mechanism will scoop the ball back into the tube like a revolving door does.

The Pic 'n' Pop is very colourful and we all had to have a go! When it rolls it makes loud clicking sounds that reminded me of a toy I used to have that made the exact sound. Although it's just going 'click click click...' the kids seem to be happy with it, and Abby actually said she liked it!

It was absolutely fun popping the balls out, although Clay only managed to press the green lever occasionally. With some guidance he could do it better, and when he did manage to pop a ball out, it made him really happy! Occasionally the last ball will get stuck, you just need to roll the Pic 'n' Pop a bit further until the ball falls back into the right position before popping it, however it never bothered 2 years old Clay, he's more than happy to just play with the 3-4 balls and not really fussed that he didn't pop the last one as well.

The picking up bit was slightly trickier, and I can only imagine it being more difficult when played on a smooth surface. When the Pic 'n' Pop rolls towards the ball, the ball will have to get close to the "revolving door" first before it can be scooped up into the tube. Sometimes if you run too fast towards the ball, it might roll away before it could get scooped up. I think the easiest way is to slow down slightly and walk normally towards the ball and then roll over it. Of course Clay wouldn't understand what I mean, but honestly speaking it seems like he preferred to pick up the balls with his hand and manually shove it back into the Pic 'n' Pop anyway!

Once you get used to the toy, it's quite easy to pick up the balls. Though again, the last ball to go in will need a bit more effort as the tube is fairly full already. The Pic 'n' Pop will make a really tight clicky noise when it got the last ball in, meaning that it's time to pop again!

Although the toy wasn't working smoothly for him, it didn't bother him at all as he prefer to use his hands to touch the balls anyway. He will either pop the balls out or remove them from the base, and then put them back in or roll over them, and just that was keeping him going for quite a while!

I also think that the Pic 'n' Pop arrived just in time as Clay has developed a liking of our handheld vacuum cleaner!

TOMY toys, Mr Colour Maker, educational toys

TOMY toys, Mr Colour Maker, educational toys

Mr Colour Maker (suitable for 2 years +, rrp £24.99, now £14.99 at Smyth Toys) has become one of Abby's favourite toy, believe it or not! Although she's already in reception class, I noticed that quite a few of them hasn't quite learned the colour combinations yet. Mr Colour Maker comes with 3 basic colour pots - blue, red and yellow, and when you tip a colour pot over the colour maker, it will register the colour in itself. If you stick the 'paint brush' into the pot, it will magically take on the colour in the Colour Maker on the tip of the brush too. And if you pour 2 colours in one after another and use the brush to 'mix' in the pot it will change colour, like magic!

The sound and tunes are fun too, with 50 phrases and 3 learning modes (play, learn and sing). It has a magical "bling bling" sound when colours are mixed correctly, "I'm a Little Teapot" tune with it's own lyrics, a tune to the colour of the rainbows, and interactive sounds asking children to pick or mix a particular colour, etc.

Not only is it fun and colourful to play with, it's very educational as well. Clay doesn't know the names of the colours yet, but he knows that by tipping the little pot over it will change the Maker's colour and he really enjoyed doing that. I'm sure he'll soon learn the 6 basic colours, and perhaps the 7 rainbow colours too if he's following the light and the tune!

The only thing I'm uncertain with was how to change the mode. It seems to have done it by itself, or the children has activated it in some way while playing. I like how Mr Colour Maker teaches colour, is fun and colourful (and magical!), encourage imagination play (the pouring and mixing), and the fact that you can tidy it away easily! All 3 pots and the brush will fit neatly inside the maker with the lid closed, and you can carry it around with the handle too!

With the Wibble Wobble Duckling, Pic 'n' Pop and Mr Colour Maker, play time is filled with fun while the children learn something either actively or quietly. Take your pick!

All TOMY toys are available online or in stores, and you can follow them on Twitter and Facebook for further information and competitions too!

Disclosure: We were sent a selection of TOMY toys to review; all opinions are honest and our own