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I am always on the lookout for good deals on toys for my son, as toys are so expensive nowadays. I frequent Amazon far too much and I am forever ordering goods from there. The prices on a lot of products on Amazon seem to fluctuate quite a lot so I always wait for the prices to drop on items before I purchase them. Whilst browsing through the toys I happened to notice the VTech First Steps Baby Walker was reduced down to £14.26, I also had a £10 voucher to spend so I couldn't resist a bargain and I paid the meagre sum of just £4.26 which I was most pleased with. The retail price of this is £24.99 however if you shop around you may find it much cheaper and it can be found on sale from time to time.
This toy is suitable for children from 6 months - 30 months; my son was 15 months when I bought this so he wasn't going to getting as much use out of it as he could have done. However it was at a great price for what it was and my son didn't have any other toys like this at the time. My son was already walking independently but I didn't buy it for the intention of using it to teach him how to walk. I personally don't believe in walkers, as I think a child will learn how to walk when they are good and ready and there is no need to push them as they will develop in their own time. Using a walker could possibly delay development slightly in my opinion. So you are probably wondering why I bought such a toy, well the Vtech walker is different from others that I have seen as it has a detachable activity centre and that is the part that I was interested in. The activity centre has so many different activities and it can be played with alone, and if you have the intention of using the walker to help aid your child in learning to walk once they have mastered this skill you can store away the walker base if you so wish and let them play with the activity centre alone. So this is a toy that will grow with your child as they can play with the activity centre from 6months and when they show interest in walking they can use the walker and once they are confidently walking then you still have the activity centre for them to play with.
VTech are a reputable and trusted baby manufacturer and this particular toy has won numerous awards. I have always been happy with any Vtech toys that I have bought for either of my children over the years, so I was confident that this toy would be of good quality.
The walker comes in a bright and colourful box and it requires assembling, there is a pamphlet that has step by step diagrams to assist you in assembling the unit. It is simple and straight forward
Pictures of VTech First Steps Baby Walker
VTech First Steps Baby Walker
and it only takes a couple of minutes to build. The activity centre requires 3 x AA batteries which are not supplied, the battery compartment is located on the base of the unit and the batteries are screwed in for safety. The walker itself is plastic and it is quite lightweight, the activity centre needs to be attached to the walker for it to be stable, and the legs are splayed out at the bottom for stability. The walker is fairly weighted with the activity centre attached to it, it weighs approximately 3kg but this doesn't stop my son from lifting it and carrying it as opposed to pushing it. The walker is 46cm high and 42 cm wide by 36cm, so it is an adequate height for little ones. The wheels have textured surfaces although this doesn't slow it down too much. The handle is nice and chunky and it also has a textured surface to provide a good grip.
The activity centre clip locks into place on the walker, to detach it there is a blue release lock located above the activity panel which is designed in a way more for an adult to remove. The activity panel has a handle so it can be carried about and taken on trips out and about.
My son never really showed any interest in the toy as a walker and I didn't encourage him too much to use it to walk with as he was already walking independently and as I mentioned before I didn't buy it for that use. However when I presented it to my son I kept it set up as a walker. He did push it along by the handle a couple of times but this didn't seem to excite him too much, he was more interested in the mechanics of the toy and he soon dropped rolled to the floor and inspected the wheels as he has a bit of a fascination with wheels, he had more joy from wheeling it back forth from the wheels whilst laying down watching it. It didn't take him long to decide to pick up the entire walker and carry it about which I was a bit shocked by as I thought it was quite heavy. Although he didn't use the walker in a conventional way, I can say that it is sturdy and it will be almost impossible for a toddler to topple it over. I was quite eager to show him the activity centre as I pressed the buttons to activate the songs and sounds. My son looked delighted with his new toy, I removed the activity centre and we played with it on the floor. The walker hasn't really had any use since we have had other than my son inspecting the wheels and I use it to store the activity panel on when my son is not playing with it, as it doesn't take up too much room.
This toy is designed to enhance a little ones motor skills, it has two modes of play with lots of educational activities with lights and music rewards. Not only will it keep little ones entertained they will learn many new skills too.
Turning it on...
There is an on/off volume slider switch located on the top of the panel which your child will always opt to have on full volume, no matter how many times you turn it back down. Once it is turned on it plays a tune.
The activity panel features an adorable puppy button which is a game a bit like 'Simon says' every time the button is pressed it will ask your child to do certain things, such as "Puppy say, dance to the music" or "puppy say, clap your hands"
The activity panel is bright and colourful so it will appeal to a little one; it features three turning cogs of differing sizes which make "whooshing" noises when they are turned, five light up piano keys, four shape buttons which are a heart, circle, triangle, and a square. There is a butterfly which has a wing that can be flipped from left to right to select the two different modes of play.
~Modes of play~
To select the music mode you just flip the butterfly's wing to the left and the butterfly makes a magical sound. My son will happily flip the wing back and forth repeatedly just to hear the sound.
In music mode when you press any of the four shape buttons different phrases and tunes and melodies are played.
There are a few different catchy songs that will have you singing along whether you like it or not.
The piano can be played and your child can play along with the songs, the keys are nice and large and they light up when they are pressed.
When any of the shapes are pressed in learning mode, it will teach your child the name of the shapes as well as the colours and number which are on each of the shapes.
When any of the piano keys are pressed phrases, words, and sound effects are made.
The words and phrases are all in a friendly female English voice, and the tunes and melodies are quite catchy, although it is a noisy toy it is tolerable and not too irritating for us adults.
There is also a phone which can be lifted off the activity panel for role-play; it has beads within so it will rattle when shook.
There are lots of activities to enhance a little ones development, the songs, words, and phrases, will encourage speech development, and helps to expand a toddler's vocabulary. Introduction to the alphabet, your child will also learn shapes, shape recognition, colours, numbers, and about animals all whilst having fun. It will promote motor skills as your child will learn to rotate the cogs and press the buttons. The activities will help your child's attention span to develop, as well as enhancing their memory skills. Music increases brain development it can also help improve memory development, your child will also learn to sing-along to the tunes.
The phone will promote role-play and your child will enjoy imitating you on the phone, this will also encourage speech and communication development.
The walker will aid in encouraging walking skills, it is sturdy so it will support a toddler and encourage them to walk.
~Care and cleaning~
The unit is simple to clean, it can be wiped over however there are a few grooves, nooks and crannies where dust will collect, and I use a damp cotton bud to get into all the awkward areas to remove any dirt.
My son was 15 months old when I first bought this toy, he would have benefited and had more use out of the toy had I of bought it for him when he was 6months of age. He has really enjoyed playing with the activity centre and he loves musical toys so he enjoys listening to the melodies when he is playing with other toys he will often come back and press a button to activate the songs. He also enjoys playing on the piano, and flipping over the butterfly wing to here the magical sound. He finds the sound effects made from turning the cogs hysterical and this toy has provided him with hours of play. He will often sit with it on his lap, and he will carry it about by the handle. The activity centre and the walker are both robust and sturdy and can withstand boisterous play, my son has fully tested it out he has stood on the activity panel numerous times and it has been dropped and it has not suffered any damage. The toy is durable and hard wearing and it is of high quality, there are no parts that will break off and there are no visible marks or scratches from all the bashing of the buttons and from being dragged about the floor.
My son is now 26 months of age and he now shows limited interest in this toy, as he prefers more active games and he prefers to look at books when he does sit still for long enough. Perhaps he is either bored with this toy, or he prefers his other toys, or maybe he has just outgrown it. I do find that he likes to have a break from toys for a while to enjoy his other toys, so I won't be getting rid of it just yet.
I am really delighted with the toy, even though we haven't used the walker it has still been money well spent as the activity centre is a great toy that will grow with your child. I perhaps wouldn't have bought this at full price as its main use is a walker. If you are looking for a walker then this is excellent value for money as this has a dual usage, once your child has outgrown the walker and is walking independently they will still have plenty of use for the activity panel. It is sturdy, well designed, and it is educational too, what more could you ask for.