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musical shape fun!


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Recommendable Yes:

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Educational ValueExcellent

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ELC shape sorter.

This toy was a christmas present for my daughter for Christmas. We chose it because it looked bright and colourful, durable and entertaining as well as being educational. Since we finally sorted out the batteries baby Hope has really enjoyed exploring this toy and it keeps her entertained for a good amount of time!

Shape sorter toys are traditional toys which have a basic concept behind them- having various shapes cut out of a board which lift out and then the baby can learn how to slot them back in. There are now all kinds of shape sorting toys from traditional wooden ones to fancy all-singing, all-dancing ones and this toy is of the latter variety.

The basic concept of this toy is the same as a shape-sorter but it is different as there are different elements to it which add to the educational values that this toy has.

The toy is made from a very thick, sturdy plastic. It is round with five shapes. These five shapes are all different colours and in the middle of each of these shapes are an animal also in a different colour so they stand out against the background colour. The animals are slightly raised and get be pressed in. When these shapes are inside the slots they belong to, when the animals are pressed a noise occurs depending upon the setting.

There are two settings:
  • Music
  • Animal noise

    If the animal is pressed and it's on the music setting then a song will play such as 'twinkle twinkle'. If it is on the animal noise setting then the relevant noise will play such as 'woof woof' for a dog and 'moooo' for a cow.

    To change the toy onto a different setting there is a big yellow flower at the bottom which you turn to select the setting you like. This is quite stiff so not really very easy for a baby to turn themselves.

    The shapes are easy to pull out of their slots as they are raised up and they are quite large so easy for little hands to get hold of and pull out.

    This toy is great because it helps teach babies about shapes, hand-eye-co-ordination, colours, animals and sounds! The animals are really easy to press down as they are quite loose, not stiff, so your baby doesn't need to apply much pressure to create the noise which is really good, there are so many toys on the market which are stiff and so aren't very baby friendly.

    This toy also has a handle at the top of it so is designed to be carried around. The shapes do stay in the slots quite well so if your baby did carry it around using the handle then the shapes should stay in place and not end up falling out all over the floor.

    In terms of how well this toy works it does sound great from my description as it's fun, educational and entertaining, however, I can only score it 4 stars because it is rather unpredictable.

    Sometimes when you turn the flower to a setting it doesn't seem to recognise that it has been turned and so no sounds come out. Sometimes I have to turn it to the specific setting about three or four times before it clicks into place. Also, after a while it's as though the flower has moved to 'off' mode as it stops functioning but upon inspection the flower is still pointing to one of the settings so I can't work out why it has gone off unless it is because Hope has managed to knock it a bit and this turns it off. The speaker is also underneath the toy so when this is lying flat on the floor/table it isn't very loud but once it gets picked up it suddenly sounds so much louder! This is rather random, perhaps the speaker should be on teh side so it's not effected by it's position. I think also, with toys that make noises, there should be some form of volume control, there is, however, no volume which is rather annoying!

    I do like this toy and my baby plays with it every day. She does like to grab the shapes and through them around or have a good gnaw on them. Because they are made from a thick plastic it is very durable so no amount of gnawing or throwing can damage them! They are also easy to clean with just being plastic.

    This toy cost £10 from the early learning centre and I think it's worth the price as it does so much more than just a standard shape sorter. It is suitable from 6-18 months but I think it would be suitable for longer than that as it can be used to help teach about animals, colours and shapes so would be relevant to older toddlers too.

So although this toy is a bit unpredictable with trying to get the setting to work properly it is a great toy once it functions correctly therefore I recommend this.
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Comments about this review »

paulpry118 05.03.2010 20:24

Sounds very good

tink-er-bell 04.03.2010 18:06

Nicely Reviewed

brittle1906 04.03.2010 13:48

A good review, it sounds a great toy inspite of the problems you mention with speakers etc.

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This review of Early Learning Centre First Shape Sorter has been rated:

"exceptional" by (3%):


"very helpful" by (97%):

  1. sandemp
  2. TheHairyGodmother
  3. ScotShelle

and 25 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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