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The run up to Christmas 2010 was a real fun time for me and Mr Lools; both of us loved shopping for Christmas presents for our twins' first Christmas. Buying presents was a minefield as there was just so much choice so the recommendations of other parents were extremely useful. One toy that came highly recommended was the Fisher Price Bounce and Spin Zebra.
***What is it?***
The Fisher Price Bounce and Spin Zebra is one of those products that does what it says on the box. It is a zebra that bounces and spins!
Parents do not be alarmed you are not actually buying your child and real zebra; this is a hard plastic shaped zebra that your child can sit on. With a handlebar type handle for extra stability when your child bounces. The zebra is attached to a wide plastic base for extra stability and allows your child to spin around 360 degrees whilst sat on the zebra.
As your child bounces on the toy, sections on the zebra light up and flash whilst music and sounds are played.
The toy uses 3 AA batteries. Although you only need to put batteries in the toy for the light and music features to work as your child can bounce and spin on the toy without the need for batteries.
***Suitability*** The Fisher Price Bounce and Spin Zebra is suitable for children 12 months plus. In fact I know my friend's child who is 5 still has one of these toys. The toy is sturdy enough to be played on by older children and I shamefully admit that I have had a bounce on the toy and it with held my weight without any problems!
I started using this for my boys at 12 months.
***Availability*** The Bounce and Spin Zebra is a very popular toy by Fisher Price and sold by a number of retailers in store and online. It is sold by toy retailers such as Mothercare, ELC, Argos, Toys R Us, Tesco, Smyths to name a few. The RRP is usually £55 however it is worth shopping around as a number of retailers often put this on special offer.
In November 2010 I purchased this for £38 from ELC which included free home delivery.
The Fisher Price Bounce and Spin Zebra comes in two colours. Multi-coloured - which is a black and white zebra, attached onto a green base with and orange handle. Or Pink- a pink and white zebra on a pink base and a pink handle.
***Using It*** Putting together the zebra was very easy. When taken out of the box you need to attach the zebra to the plastic base which requires a screw driver and with reading the instructions only takes 5 minutes.
At 12 months both my children could sit on the zebra remaining upright and balanced however my boys are a lot smaller than children their age (they are the size of an average 5 month old baby at 13 months). This means they could not touch the floor and bounce meaning they were less stable and I had to push down and bounce them. The boys can both stand unaided but are not yet walking. Both can pull themselves up on the zebra but can't actually climb onto it. This did not seem to spoil the bouncing experience though. And love me bouncing them whilst they sit on. Both boys squeal with delight and make bouncing actions which I imagine translates as "more bouncing mum!"
The handlebar is very thick and sturdy and makes it very easy for young children to hold onto. In fact my boys can hold on with one hand and play with the rattle in the centre of the handlebar quite confidently.
Something I did find an issue with the zebra when the boys first played with the toy is that they were distracted by the rattles connected to the sides and top of the handlebar. Because they could not touch the ground they had to hold onto the handlebar. However they also at the same time wanted to pull and spin the connected rattles which stopped them from balancing on the zebra, meaning they kept slipping off.
When my friends come over for coffee their children also regularly use out bounce and spin zebra. Their children are 17 months and 2 years old. My friend's two year old has no problems climbing on and bouncing. My other friend's 17 month old who is an average height can just touch the floor when on the zebra and can just climb onto the zebra herself, although we prefer to stand next to her as she climbs on. Even for taller 12 months old I would say this toy needs constant supervision and parents to play alongside the toy and lift their child on and off it.
As your child bounces on the zebra music and sounds are played. In total there are 5 different pieces of music which are triggered every time the child bounces. These are tunes as opposed to songs with words. Like with a lot of Fisher Price toys, the zebra is has two different sound settings. On half volume, and on full volume. The full volume is very loud and you will need to raise your voice to talk over it, whereas the half volume is just enough to have a conversation without shouting. You can also have the zebra sounds switched to off but your child can still bounce and spin on the zebra. The lights only work on the zebra on full or half volume.
The Bounce and Spin Zebra is a very good quality and very durable. My friend purchased this for her son 4 years ago and it still looks as good as new. My children have thrown toys at our zebra and it has not chipped or scuffed the plastic. The only criticism I have heard from some parents at our parent and toddler group, is that with excessive use the zebra develops a slight squeak as it bounces however I have not found this.
The toy helps with balance and physical development in younger children as bouncing and actually remaining on the zebra takes some work. I have found after a few months my boys are sat a lot sturdier on the toy and feel a lot more balanced. For older children compared with some other toys, the Bounce and Spin Zebra does not have a wealth of features to promote learning but is a fun toy that children love and keeps them active (and tires them out) by bouncing up and down!
From a practical perspective this is quite a large toy to store because of the wide plastic base the zebra is attached to. Unless you are willing to dismantle it every time your child uses it, the zebra will take up a lot of space.
***Overall*** The Fisher Price Bounce and Spin Zebra has been a great purchase for us, and after speaking to my other friends with children this is a very popular toy as most of them either had it for their little ones or would recommend it. Although the toy doesn't boast lots of features to help your child learn, it does help with younger toddlers physical and mobility skills, and for older ones keeps them amused.
This is a toy which initially seems expensive to buy but your children get so much use out of it, it's a very wise investment. In our case my boys love it so much I am sure we maybe purchasing a second one to stop them fighting over who is sitting and bouncing on it!
My only criticism is that if you are lacking in space this is quite a bulky toy to store. However as it is such an enjoyable toy for children, it will more than likely spend most of its time in the centre of your living room with your child bouncing on it. Another winner from Fisher Price!
Also posted on Dooyoo 2011
Pictures of Fisher-Price Bounce And Spin Zebra
Fisher-Price Bounce And Spin Zebra.......... tested by mummy for durability!