Reviewed by David Ashworth
The Leapfrog Shapes & Sharing Picnic Basket is a fun and accessible product for younger children that encourages sharing, imaginary play and teaches good manners. The basket is recommended for children aged between six and thirty-six months, but it is also fun for slightly older children and may be useful for encouraging kids to try different foods and understanding knowledge of basic food groups. The switches and buttons are large and colourful making them easily accessible for small hands and the picnic basket requires very little time and effort to set-up. It also comes with batteries included.
The picnic basket is brightly coloured, fun looking and comes with very detailed cups, forks, plates and 8 items of food as well as a picnic blanket, which is a nice touch. There are two of each item meaning the basket can be used simultaneously by multiple children. All parts fit comfortably into the basket and a carry handle is on top for easy storage and transport. The basket and accessories are smooth plastic making them easy to wipe clean if using outdoors.
The pieces accompanying the picnic basket are large and robust making them ideal for small hands and the detail on each individual piece is fantastic.
The picnic basket plays music and sings with impressive sound quality as well as requests certain food items based on shapes and food groups to be placed through the shape sorter and recognises them by shape and type, commenting on each item as it is placed through the shape sorter. It also has shape sorter on the two plates allowing children to learn about shapes and sizes by organising the food onto the plates or into the picnic basket. It encourages good manners, pretend play, vocabulary building and sharing.
In addition to the educational properties, the basket is also good for imaginary play inside and out and will keep children occupied on a play date or actual picnic.
My only minor issue with the picnic basket is that the cups that come with the Leapfrog Shapes & Sharing Picnic Basket have two small holes in the base, meaning that they cannot be used for actual beverages. This is only a minor issue and obviously alternative cups could be used but I personally feel this is an unnecessary design flaw and it would be nice if the cups could be used for drinking to make the kids feel like they were having an actual picnic.
The most impressive feature I found with the Leapfrog Shapes & Sharing Picnic Basket is how quickly it encourages good manners. Within minutes of playing with it my two-year-old was saying “please” and “thank you” regularly, unprompted and at correct times which was a pleasing development. The imaginative play aspect is also fun as the kids could pretend to prepare and serve the food and drinks.
In conclusion I would award the Leapfrog Shapes & Sharing Picnic Basket 4 out of 5 stars.
The appearance and sound quality are excellent, and it is great for encouraging positive character traits in young children such as good manners and sharing. It is very easy to pick up and start playing with at home or to take out with you to a park, playdate or actual picnic and as all the pieces are large and brightly coloured they won’t get lost easily.
Leapfrog have managed to fit a lot into a small package as there is plenty of fun to be had with the Shapes & Sharing Picnic Basket.
For more information and where to to buy visit www.leapfrog.com.