* Prices may differ from that shown
My boys toy boxes are brimming full of toys but that doesn't seem to stop us buying more of them. Mr Lools and I try not to purchase too many but there are occasions when we see bargains and can't help but treat our boys. One of these "treats" was the Chad Valley Steering Wheel. ***Chad Valley Steering Wheel*** The Chad Valley Steering Wheel is a toy plastic steering wheel which is packed with car functions. This includes an ignition key with engine sounds, a moveable gear stick, and flashing indicator lights. The toy includes a steering wheel and has buttons which play sounds and music. The toy essentially is a plastic base about 40cm long by 30cm high with a 2cm diameter steering wheel attached to it. This includes a number of plastic buttons which play sounds and music. In front of the wheel is a 5cm red car which moves depending on which way you turn the wheel. The steering wheel is suitable for children aged 18 months and over. The toy requires 3 size AA batteries which are not included with the toy. The Chad Valley Steering Wheel is available from Argos and Amazon. It is available from Argos for £13.99. When Mr Lools purchased this the steering wheel was on a special offer where you could purchase 2 toys for £20. ***Playing With It*** Like most children's toys the Chad Valley Steering Wheel comes in a large box complete with lots of ties keeping it in place. After 5 minute of taking off the ties you need a small screwdriver to open the battery compartment put the batteries in then close firmly again. The toy doesn't "turn on" with an on off switch. Next to the steering wheel on the base is a red ignition key. To activate the sounds and music you turn the ignition key which starts the engine and plays 1 minute worth of music and sounds depending on what buttons you press. The steering wheel is easy to turn from side to side even for a small child which then turns the little toy car which is on the grid in front of the steering wheel so your child can see the car moving when they move the wheel. My boys can sit for 10 minutes at a time simply steering and pressing buttons (usually tooting the horn). The indicator levers when pressed make a clicking noise, the horn makes a loud beeping noise and the gear lever makes varies engine noises depending on what "mode " it is switched into. The grid where the mini car is located also flashes with green and red lights. There are also two buttons which play music which is fast and upbeat. My main criticism of this toy is that it is a noisy toy and only has one volume level which is loud. For parents this toy can get very annoying because of the loud volume. The ignition switch is slightly difficult for a young toddler to turn which is why I feel this is suitable for children over 18 months. My boys started playing with this toy at around 17 months and although they enjoyed pressing the buttons and turning the wheel it took some time for them to grasp they had to turn the ignition key and then actually turn the key. Children over a year old would be fine to play with the toy providing an adult is close by and ready to assist once the music has gone off. Older children do like playing with this, my friends son who is 3 years old plays with this but because of the bright colours and basic functions children over 3 may find this toy a little too babyish. This is not an educational toy packed with learning features but it is a fun toy which encourages them to be imaginative and pretend to drive a car. The toy is fun and my boys can regularly be found fighting over who is playing with the toy. The toy is reasonably durable, my children have picked this up and dropped it a number of times and it still works. The toy is easy to keep clean and you can easily wipe it over with a cloth. I would say because there are a number of stickers on the base these could start and look tatty and after 3 months of play I have notices the corners of where these stickers are have started to lift up slightly. ***Overall*** This is definitely a toy more suitable for older toddlers and younger children. Younger toddlers would enjoy playing with the toy but may struggle turning the wheel on because you need to turn the key which is quite a difficult movement for a younger toddler to do on their own. A child between 12-18 months would enjoy this toy but would need some help from an adult or older child to play alongside them. The steering wheel is colourful, reasonably priced at £14 and is fun. This is not a very educational toy with lots of learning features but it is certainly an imaginative toy where a child can pretend they are driving and using all the functions of a car steering wheel.