Reviewed by Jonathan Edwards
With lots of friends who have babies I’m always looking for ideas of fun and educational toys that I can buy for Christmas gifts. The LeapFrog Musical Rainbow Tea Party is a recently refurbished version of the previous LeapFrog Musical Rainbow Tea Party which features a new two-tier cake stand, a 2 mode tea pot, two tea cups and upgraded cake pieces which have fruit shapes incorporated into their design. As well as being a fun, interactive toy, the Musical Rainbow Tea Party is designed to educate children in skills including counting, learning colours and shapes and sharing.
The tea pot itself lights up in six colours, five of which directly match to the fruit flavours and colours of the cake pieces. It also plays seven tea-time songs which my 20 month old daughter loves; whenever there is music on she dances along to it so if you are buying for a child who loves music then this is an ideal gift. The teapot has two modes to choose between; music mode and Time for Tea mode. The music mode plays a selection of learning songs and different sound effects whenever you open the interactive teapot lid, pour the teapot or press the heart button. In Time for Tea mode, the teapot aims to help children practise counting and learn colours by asking questions when they press the heart button.
The age range of the Musical Rainbow Tea Party is aimed at children aged 1 year – 3 years. As I mentioned earlier, my 20 month old daughter particularly loves the music mode and dances along happily to it. The Time for Tea mode doesn’t interest her as much at this age as she is only just beginning to learn and understand colours and numbers so the questions the teapot asks aren’t that useful for her. I think in the long term it will be great for helping her to learn the colours and if you are buying this for an older child then I think the Time for Tea mode would be more practically useful straightaway. In both modes the tea pot makes a boiling sound as it brews the tea and when it is tilted it makes the sound of tea pouring out of the pot. This is my daughters favourite thing about the toy and she is always bringing cups of tea to me and my wife and to her dolls. She’s already learning sharing as she plays with it and decides who she is going to share her tea with this time around.
The cake stand comes with a handle attachment and my daughter finds it so easy to pick it up and carry it around with the teapot, teacups and cake slices on. This is a fantastic design feature as it means that she can bring the toy with her if she wants to play in the room that I am in. The tea pot also has a useful automatic shut off mode which turns it off after 50 seconds without input.
The Musical Rainbow Tea Party comes with batteries in it which means that the child can play with the toy as soon as they open it. The pieces all come separately packaged within a nicely presented, sturdy box. The box is open fronted which means you can see exactly what you are getting.
Generally the Musical Rainbow Tea Party is easy to set up although my wife struggled to fit the cake stand handle into the top plate and had to wait for me to do it for her. The parent’s guide is simple and easily understandable, covering the key features and set up instructions.
Because the Musical Rainbow Tea Party is so simple to set up and has batteries included it means that your child can open it and play with it straightaway. This is another positive for a Christmas gift item. It didn’t take many times of playing with it for our daughter to understand that she needed to press the heart button to ‘refill’ the tea pot or change the song. It really is simple for a child to use.
One thing that I was a bit disappointed with is that the Musical Rainbow Tea Party appears to be very orientated towards girls; the teapot is pink, the teacups are pink and purple and on the LeapFrog website the promotional images show girls playing with the toy. I know both girls and boys who love playing with this kind of toy so it would be nice if the Musical Rainbow Toy Party came with a variety of colour options.
With an RRP of £22.99, the Musical Rainbow Tea Party is definitely value for money and a gift I would give as a Christmas present. It will be a toy that a child can play with for a long time in different ways as they develop new skills. It is also well made and durable; it doesn’t feel like it would break easily. I would give the Musical Rainbow Tea Party a 5/5 rating for the fun it provides and the variety of skills it encourages a child to learn.
Available to buy from Amazon here.