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How do you encourage your child to start taking their first steps? Buying them a baby walker is a great way to do this, but how do you know which one to get?
We came across this dilemma when we started to look for a walker for our little boy. All the walkers you come across have various activities on them, which are all colourful and introduce your child to letters, numbers and early words. Now this is a good thing I hear you say, and yes it is I totally agree. However we already have a vast collection of other toys which do exactly that, so I was hoping to find a baby walker with a difference.
So one day whilst my little boy was deep in the land of nod, I decided to start the hunt. Armed with a few catalogues, my laptop and the all important cup of tea, I began the search. I started with the catalogues first and it wasn't long before I stumbled across the 'Beanstalk 2 in 1 Activity Walker' in the Argos catalogue. Reading through the catalogue description, it sounded like a good walker. Not only will it help your child toddle, but it comes with 2 activity tables.
One activity table features 2 musical drums, a ball drop feature and sounds. The walker comes with 3 balls, which you roll down a short shoot, before they fall down the 'ball drop feature' and come out of 1 of 3 tunnels. As the balls goes down the shoot and out of the tunnel, your child is rewarded with music. There is also a sliding switch which you move left to right, which also activates the music and a butterfly which you push up or down, again to activate the music. To play the drums you just press them and one sounds like bongos and the other a normal standard percussion drum. The music and drums are neither irritating nor very loud and they don't play for too long either. There is also a rattle which you spin (like you would a tombolla); the casing is clear plastic, which contains a few coloured tiny plastic beads, and 2 metallic silver squares. The music is activated once again as you spin the rattle. Every time the music is played, there are lights which flash. I have to say the flashing lights are very subtle and not at all too bright or garish.
The second activity table includes a shape sorter, twirling gears and a mirror. One of the wheels on this side of the table reminds me of those old style telephones, where you put your finger in each number and pulled it round to dial the number (some of you may have no idea what I am talking about at this point as I am clearly showing my age). The other wheel is a medium sized round gear connected to a small blue gear which in turn is connected to a large purple gear which incorporates the shape sorter. The shape sorter consists of 3 shapes: a circle, a square and a triangle. Once you have sorted the shapes you can access them again by lifting the orange lid.
The 2 activity tables are joined together by the ball drop feature and the 3 tunnels, as well as the handle which your child will use to help them toddle.
The Beanstalk 2 in 1 Activity Walker comes with easy to follow instructions and 2 x AA batteries. I have to say this is definitely one toy where I would be happy to replace the batteries immediately. As I mentioned earlier the music is not very loud at all and not irritating like it can be on some baby toys. The walker can be assembled in a matter of minutes by one person and does not require any tools for assembly.
Our little boy loves this walker and both activity tables. He has become quite confident at using it and quite happily moves around the lounge. When he first starting using the walker he was literally racing round the lounge, as we have wooden floors in the house, the walker does tend to go quite quickly. However with everyday use he has managed to control the rate at which he moves. I am sure speed wouldn't be too much of an issue with carpets, but I assume it would depend on the type of carpets you have. However as with all toys that move and assist with child movement development I would recommend full adult supervision at all times. You never know when your child will veer off in an unexpected direction and end up on the floor, in the sofa, in the coffee table or any other furniture you have in the room. There are numerous times when our little boy has become over excited by being able to move on 2 feet, doesn't look where he is going and crashes into something. Despite the number of collisions, there doesn't seem to be a single scratch on it.
The manufacturers state that this walker is suitable for ages 6 months and over. I tend to agree with this lower age limit, as around 6 months most babies' should be able to sit unaided and would then be able to play with the activity tables. The colours may vary from the walker shown in the catalogue. The walker we purchased is turquoise, orange, green, yellow, purple and blue (see pictures below).
As mentioned above we bought ours from Argos at £22.59. I feel that this is a great price to pay for a walker with a difference. Not only does it help your child to walk, when the activity tables are used it will encourage your child to learn to stand confidently. As an activity table it stands at 15inches (38cm) tall and as a walker it stands at 17inches (43cm) tall. Personally I feel that this is a great and unique buy, as I have not yet seen anyone else with this walker in their home.
If you are after something which: doesn't sing the alphabet; doesn't count from 1 to 10; doesn't introduce your child to the concept of answering a telephone, as you already have a house full of toys which do all these things, then I would definitely recommend you buy the Beanstalk 2 in 1 Activity Walker.
Below I have had to state how the item is powered; my opinion of the volume control and the mobility of the parent unit. Although these things do not really apply to the Beanstalk 2 in 1 Activity Walker I have had to complete, but read on to understand my ratings.
Power: The walker does come with 2 x AA batteries, which are only required to power the music. The other activities and the walker do not require batteries in order to function.
Volume Control: Although there is no volume control on the walker, I have selected excellent as the set volume selected by the manufacturer is not too loud.
Mobility of Parent Unit: There is no parent unit that comes with the walker; however I have rated the mobility of the parent unit as excellent, as it is very easy to move around and therefore very mobile.