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My son Christopher is almost 8 months old. The lucky boy has received many presents since he was born, one gift he got was the Tiny Love 1-2-3 Discovery Lane - a 3 stage crawling toy from Santa or should I say his Granny for Christmas. This is one of his favourite toys to play with so far!
~ Description ~
The 1-2-3 Discovery Lane stimulates and excites Christopher through sight, hearing and touch playing. It produces emotions of happiness and pride as he masters easy challenges. This toy increases his chances of success at achieving age-appropriate goals by designing the pieces to fit his little fingers and hands; making the individual toys and components easy to use.
~ Parents, you will like this toy too! ~
The Lane is completely baby safe. It is easy to assemble and take apart. Storage is a snap too; simply return the toys to their original thick clear plastic packages. All of the separate pieces of this toy are also machine washable.
~ More about this toy ~
The 1-2-3 Discovery Lane consists of four 4 separate, slightly curved sections, each made out of durable felt. These sections are slightly padded and sewn together securely. Each of the four pieces can attached to any of the other pieces be without difficulty, due to the use of Velcro tabs. You can construct the “playground” in any way you want; you can even attach a single panel to your baby's cot or playpen. It is designed for the 3-18 month age range, and for once, this age designation is accurate. I think my son will actually enjoy this when he’s older too.
The play mat comes packed in a large see-through bag complete with a sturdy plastic handle (plastic bags can be dangerous. To avoid danger of suffocation, keep this bag away from babies and children), the set features four padded, 2-foot-long fabric panels. The primary colours, blue, green, red or yellow make up the background of each section, which is bordered in red. All four sections have removable parts, which Christopher and I can take off and put back on easily. It is a bright and very colourful toy. Each piece is made of a very soft fabric that can stand up to wear and tear.
Section one consists of an unbreakable, detachable (with Velcro) mirror with a yellow flame border (representing the sun). A black and white polka dot "squeak" star
Pictures of Tiny Love 1-2-3 Discovery Lane
The three stages
is attached by Velcro to one of the flames. Christopher loves to look at his image, although somewhat distorted (takes after his daddy lol), and with a little assistance from mummy, squeak the star!The second section is slightly more complex. It consists of 3 barnyard animals: a cow, rooster and dog. Each one makes its own animal sound when pressed - very realistic. Each animal is attached with a Velcro tab and covers a "hole." A backdrop attached behind the mat covers the "holes." I think the noise is a bit to loud for baby’s ears. I wish there was a way to control or even stop the noise. As I am sure most parents will agree, It does get annoying after you’ve heard the same noise continuously lol
A black and white smiley face, yellow and red triangle, green and yellow half circle, green and red circle, yellow and blue rectangle and yellow and blue square plaster the third section. Each shape has a Velcro tab on the back so they can be easily removed and replaced anywhere on the discovery lane. This is Christopher’s favourite section! He loves to chew and suck on the pieces (yes, he’s teething), good thing all of the pieces are washing machine safe. Christopher loves watching mummy rip the pieces off and put them back on the mat. Such fun!
Finally, as if 3 sections weren't enough, the fourth section is a water mat. A thick plastic mat can be filled with water to allow the fish, stars and other shapes to swim. These objects are supposed to encourage reaching & curiosity. I suggest being diligent about replacing the water every few weeks, as bacteria can grow in there. After a sincere effort to continuously replace the water in the mat, we stopped filling it after a few months. *NOTE: We never had a problem with leaks either. The plastic is used here is very thick and durable. What a great addition! Not only is this fun for Christopher to look at and play with, it also offers him a different feeling which other toys cannot offer.
~ Development Stages - How it grows with your baby ~
With four very distinct sections, the 1-2-3 Discovery Lane offers a variety of ways to play! It is designed for 3 separate age groups: 3-6 months, 6-12 months and 12-18 months (ages are approximate).
First stage: ~ Newborn Play ~ The 1-2-3 Discovery Lane can be laid out in a circle, very easy to do - remember those Velcro tabs?! This enabled Christopher on his tummy to explore most, if not all, of the options available on this mat. The black and white star and brightly coloured shapes and animals allow visual stimulation to this age group. The different textures and noises from the animals and sunrays stimulate tactile and audio senses. Of course, if your baby is anything like mine, the sense of taste must be included as well lol. Yummy!
Second stage: ~ Around 6 months ~ at around six months your baby will have mastered the art of sitting up. You can leave the toy in the circle for a time, or you can spread it out into a long, curvy “lane” (‘S’ shape), again, this is easily done using the Velcro tabs. This new extended version of the mat will encourage your little one to reach out and crawl to the other activities. At this age, many of the toys can be played with for their intended purpose (i.e. squeak the star, pull off the shapes, etc.). The colours, texture and sounds still provide sensory development while also developing coordination and strength (from reaching, grabbing and crawling). Parents can help by activating the animal toys, or by showing baby how to pull off the Velcro shapes. Christopher loves this stage, and can spend hours crawling along the mat :-)
Third stage - ~ Older Babies & Toddlers ~ the "final" stage (12-18 months) of the 1-2-3 Discovery Lane acts as a shape sorter and object collector. By simply attaching two sections into an open topped cone in an upright position, your child can place objects in the top of the cone or through the sides! There is a ball that also comes with this mat - very fun before this stage too - that can be thrown or placed through the "holes." As I mentioned above, the barnyard animal section has 3 separate holes, which are covered up by a second, smaller mat that is attached in the back of the main mat. At this stage, the mat should be removed to reveal the holes. This makes the mat a shape sorter of sorts. The mirror is also removable to allow objects to be passed through that section as well. This is great for eye-hand coordination, perfect for sit-up play, memory and imagination games, peek-a-boo, and other hiding games.
~ Durable & Washable ~
The 1-2-3 Discovery Lane is a very durable toy. Each piece has been chewed on, puked on, crawled on and tossed about without showing any signs of wear and tear. The pieces are to be hand washed then line dried to prevent any fading or tearing of the pieces.
The water mat must be changed out each week to prevent any growing of mould or fungus. It's relatively easy to change, simply remove the plug in the back, drain and refill!
~ About TINY LOVE ~
TINY LOVE was founded in 1991, although they had been in the toy business for over 25 years. This company prides itself in creating innovative, safe, and stimulating toys, and concentrates all of its efforts on “…soft toy development for babies from birth to age 2.” They are the original creators of the arch gyms for infants that are now produced by so many other manufacturers. TINY LOVE products are sold in over twenty countries around the world, including the United States. TINY LOVE guarantees the quality and safety of all of its products.
~ Awards ~
The TINY LOVE's 1-2-3 Discovery Lane toy has won the following American and International awards:
USA - Parenting Magazine - Toy of the Year 1998
USA - Parents Magazine - Best Toy of 1998
USA - Dr. Toy - Best Children's Vacation Product 1998
USA - Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association - Show-off Award
USA - Parents' Choice - Silver Honors Seal
England - Practical Parenting Magazine - Reader Recommended Best Buy 1998 Award
England - Mother and Baby Magazine - Gold Award
France - Parents Magazine - Choisi Award
France - Monde de l'Enfant Show - Timbale de l'Innovation Award
Israel - Shilav Stores competition - Parents Choice Award 1998
Italy - International Toy Show in Milano - Toy of the Year 1998
~ Only Con ~
This is not the easiest toy to keep clean, especially if you have pets (pet hairs tend to stick to it). All manufacturers out there, take note.... make it easy washing!
~ Bottom Line ~
So, has the Discovery Lane held it's standard from the first time I saw it? Yes. My son loves his Discovery Lane as much as I did the first time I saw it.
I would definitely recommend this toy to all parents for their little ones. It is a wonderful toy that helps to stimulate the senses and grow with your child. Each piece is full of entertainment and encourages them to crawl, roll and more! Tiny Love has created another winner!
Thank you for taking the time and trouble to read my review :-)