Reviewed by Jenny Bray
This item is a toy aimed at children aged 18 months and over. It arrived in a sturdy box with a big picture of the item on it. The contents were wrapped safely and there was a basic instruction leaflet in the box. There was no plastic packaging in sight, in-line with their sustainable ethos.
Upon opening the item it looked chunky and well made and the blocks looked bright and eye-catching. My children, who are 4 and 2, were keen to get their hands on it and test it out. The toy is made from wood and has a square base with 16 coloured shaped blocks, a ball and a piece with Velcro on that can be added to the base. There are different block designs that you piece together on the base to form a track for a ball to roll round. The additional piece is used to Velcro on the base to make the base wobbly. It is designed to enhance fine motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination. There are several official ways you can form the track to incorporate all the blocks and these are shown on both the box and the leaflet. My children much preferred experimenting though and weren’t fussed if some blocks led to dead ends or the ball falling off the base, which happened a lot with some of their first designs and caused lots of giggling. They just kept playing round with different options until they found one they liked.
They both loved making different tracks and wiggling the ball around the track by using the extra bit on the base so it wasn’t level on the floor. I can also see how not having that piece attached would be really useful for younger ones playing with it, who are less co-ordinated so need the base to stay still. I therefore think it’s great that they decided to make that an optional bit that you can choose whether to Velcro on or leave off.
My 4 year old actually spent longer playing with this than my 2 year old, so the toy has longevity rather than just being a standard baby/child’s toy marked up as ‘developmental’ but that only lasts for a few months until they outgrow it.
There is detail on both the box and in an inside leaflet showing the stages of how the product has been made sustainably and that the product is chemical free. This is a great plus for me as, although the product is for babies 18 months and older so was tested by my 2 and 4 year olds, my 5 month old will be on the move soon and putting most things in his mouth. It’s therefore good to know that this item doesn’t contain any nasty chemicals should he get his hands on it. I also think that there are far too many chemicals used in products aimed at children these days so this item is refreshingly different in that respect. The only other thing that would have wowed me more would have been if the product had been made in the UK rather than abroad.
My children loved this item and it kept them entertained for longer than I expected. I think it is excellent value for money, especially when you consider the sustainable way in which it was made.
I would love to have the ability to buy a larger base and additional blocks to make it more challenging for older children.
I rate this product 5/5 and will definitely be recommending it to friends and family.
Available to Great Gizmos here.