Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Try it Tuesday & Review {VTech Toys}

The Christmas bells are ringing in our home. We started decorating a couple of days ago and are looking forward to the Christmas season. However, Thanksgiving is in a few days and then Black Friday begins. Have you checked your list twice? What are you buying your little ones for Christmas?
 
Today on
"Try it Tuesday & Review,"
 
I wanted to share with you some toys from
VTech.
{These toys can also be found on Amazon}
Some of you may not know my husband but he loves reading reviews before buying a product. He also loves sharing his honest and true opinion. Since he was involved with building all three of these products, I asked him to write a review for each. He gladly said yes so I was thrilled to post his review on my blog post. I loved reading his thoughts. He also writes our Christmas card letter so if you are privileged of receiving one from us, count yourself lucky. Please note that these reviews can also be found at Amazon.com as well as VTechkids.com (although I could only post a minimum amount of words).
 
Here are the products we received in the mail... 
 
Go! Go! Smart Wheels Construction Playset
Amazon
 
 
  About:
 
The whistle has blown...time to get to work! The Go! Go! Smart Wheels Construction Playset provides hours of entertainment for even the littlest construction worker.
Featuring a tall, rotating crane with working claw, four different shaped pieces can be sorted, picked up and dropped into the included Go! Go! Smart Wheels dump truck or cargo loader. 
A conveyor ramp and weight station also add to the role-playing fun. Watch the dump truck or other Go! Go! Smart Wheels™ vehicles (each sold separately) respond to six SmartPoint™ locations with different phrases, music or fun sound effects.
Ages 1-5, $34.99

In my husband's opinion:

4 stars
I’m noticing a trend with some V-Tech toys that the instruction manual is not always “me proof”. But looking at the box and using the instructions, I was able to assemble the crane pieces without problems. My only complaint about the crane sections, is that the conveyor belt piece does not attach well to the crane itself—if you move the toy or knock against the side, this piece will fall off. It’s incredibly easy to reattach, but that seems to be a design oversight, which brings down the review by a full star.
 
The pieces themselves are easy to attach to each other—I disagree with some other reviews that these pieces easily fall apart, but I guess it depends on whether you have a 1 year old using the toy or a 3+ year old. The track pieces slot well together in my opinion—the dump truck itself reacts with certain track pieces and the toy will talk to your child as he plays with it. This was pretty cool. The crane is also very easy to play with—I haven’t noticed it coming away from the base, but again I suppose that depends on how aggressive your toddler / preschooler is with their toys. My son has another crane on another toy, and this one is much easier for him to use (he’s 3). I think most 3 year old boys like smashing things, and the crane swings easily.
 
Inside the box, there are probably only a few configurations you could use to make use of all the track pieces, but there are several things to do, and the audio response from the track interaction is great. The real joy to these toys is that they work together—that obviously means purchasing more than one in the set J but even as a standalone toy, there is enough here to keep our boy happy. He’ll have no problems bringing his other cars and trains onto the track and playing with all of them—anything that keeps his imagination working makes me happy as a parent.
 
 
About:
 
Little ones can race into learning fun with the Go! Go! Smart Wheels 2-in-1 Race Track.  The set allows children to race the two included vehicles on a circular track or on a straight jump track.
To get the race started, simply place the cars at the starting line and push the flag handle to launch the vehicles into action! 
As the child races, they can go to the pit stop, where they can learn about tools. The Race Track even recognizes other Go! Go! Smart Wheels play vehicles (sold separately).
Ages 1-5, $39.99

In my husband's opinion:

3 stars
There were some nice touches out of the box. First, the stickers come attached to the parts—you don’t have to apply / reapply the same sticker multiple times to make it look perfect. VTech obviously cares about OCD parents J. There are some fun features in this toy—the cars react with various pieces of the toy, which will talk to your child and make them excited to race. The elevator works well, as does the launch functionality. The cars will race down the track easily and it was cool to see the cars launch down the track.
 
My two hangups are as follows. First, if you race two cars at the same time, they will most likely get stuck on the curved track half way up, so there’s no clear winner. Second, the toy “as is” could use more track. If you have other toys in the set, you can add track—especially on the straight jump setup, enabling this toy to be part of a bigger play set. If you don’t, this toy provides some immediate distraction, but doing the same thing over and over is unlikely to hold a child’s attention for more than a few minutes at a time. What is present in the set generally works well for what it is trying to do. I’m not currently sure of the lastability of the toy—will my son be playing with this 12 months from now? I’m not sure if there’s enough in the box.
 

About:
 
The Grow & Discover Tree House features four sides of learning fun from crawling to standing. Five numbered buttons introduce numbers and play cheerful melodies and the colorful, spinning gears develop fine motor skills.
The tree house also recognizes balls and shape pieces and introduces colors, shapes and animals. Window and fabric sides encourage crawling and peek-a-boo fun. Plays 90+ sing-along songs, melodies, sounds and phrases to keep little ones engaged.
Ages 6-36 months, $79.99
 
In my husband's opinion: 

4 stars
The first thing you’ll discover when you open up the package is that the instruction manual is a little sparse on information. By step 3 or 4, I was having to rely quite heavily on the pictures on the box itself to help me translate the 2 line explanation into a 5 minute exercise in patience. Some of the pieces were a little harder to fit together, but everything does fit and the construction feels sturdy once assembled. Expect up to 30 minutes to assemble—this could have been made easier with clearer instructions.
 
As far as the design goes, the colors are bright and friendly. There are several moving parts that are hooked up to the electronic panel, such that opening the window, pushing shapes through correct holes, or pushing several of the buttons generates a sound response. As a parent with two small children, the visual and sound experience help keep the child engaged. The “house” itself is big enough for smaller children to crawl inside and there are several attention-holding activities, whether inside or outside the house.
 
The numbers and letters may be too old for very young children, but my son is becoming interested in clocks—even though he’s growing a little old for the toy, he can spend time being a big brother to his sister and he still likes to push buttons, count, and call out the letters he sees. He’s also able to push the shapes through holes, which a very young child may struggle with (one of the shapes on our toy needs a fair amount of effort to push through the hole it goes in). The cogs at the front are also a little trickier to rotate more than one turn at a time as they tend to stick a little, but nothing an older child couldn’t handle—and the cogs feel more like a filler piece than a reason to get the toy. The balls at the back are pretty fun—they gave me a few minutes of enjoyment, so my kids will have to wait their turn. Overall, there’s a fair amount to entertain a child for enough time to get on with something in the background—at such a young age, no child has incredible focus, but this is a good toy that offers several different ways to learn by play. Many pieces are easily pushable and moveable, some require more coordination, so the toy should last most kids a couple years.
 
Pros:
·         Bright construction helps gain a child’s attention
·         Variety of activities
·         Solid construction
 
Cons:
·         Assembly could be easier and instructions should be clearer
·         The cogs and one shape needs a little effort to work with—this might frustrate smaller children 
 
Be sure to check out the following websites for more information:
 
VTech website – http://bit.ly/tHKlfD   
VTech Twitter  -  http://bit.ly/Q7J7vM
VTech Facebook - http://on.fb.me/iIPfUE

 
Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services for free from VTech in the hope that I would mention them on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
 

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