“ Brand: ELC „
I seem to accumulate toddler toys in my house and I am sure that most parents are the same! I just can't resist them! This doggie paddler toy from The Early Learning Centre is one toy which I have managed to resist, however, my Mum has bought it for Hope to play with at her house. It has been a big success although it does have a few negative points to it too which can be quite frustrating for a toddler.
Where we bought it
This was bought from The Early Learning Centre which is a shop dedicated to children's toys, books and games. They have very good quality products of all kinds from newborn up to older children, indoor and outdoor toys. In my experience all of the toys we have had from this store have always been very good quality so although sometimes they are more expensive than you can get in some other shops I do not mind spending extra money because you do get what you pay for. The Early Learning Centre has many stand alone stores on the high street but you may also find them inside Mothercare shops and in some Boots stores too. You can also buy this direct from The Early Learning Centre online.
We bought it because it looked cute and appealing but also because it's a bath toy we thought it would help keep Hope occupied whilst she was in the bath at Grandma's house. It cost £5 a year ago which I think was a good price to pay as it is good quality and very robust.
What it looks like
As you can see from the picture that has been provided it looks like a little yellow doggie swimming! It is about 5 inches long and made from a strong plastic. It has big white eyes, big long black ears and a big black nose which make it look very cute. It is wearing little swimming trunks that are green and blue. It is quite fat so perhaps tiny hands couldn't hold this themselves but since we have had it (since Hope was 18 months old) she has been able to hold it without any problems. I imagine that under this age it may be more difficult to do so though. Underneath the doggie's tummy is a little plastic dial which you turn to wind him up. At the front of the toy is the doggie's mouth which is where the water which gathers inside this toy can be poured out, this in itself can provide entertainment although really it is for practical/cleanliness reasons.
What it does
This toy paddles! When you wind the dial up on his tummy it winds up his front legs so that when you let go of it the legs will spin around as though he is doing the doggie paddle. If this is in the water then he will move along as though swimming, if he is out of the water the legs will just spin round really quickly- so long as nothing is in the way- and it can provide great entertainment!
Is it effective?
Sometimes this doggie is extremely effective. There are times when we wind this up and put it in the bath and it will swim along- quite quickly- and Hope will shriek in delight and now that she's a bit older she will talk to it and give him directions "No woof woof, THAT way" and she will direct him to where she wants him to go. She enjoys putting him in the direction of an obstacle so that he crashes into it before the winding up mechanism winds down. Sometimes though if the bath is quite full of other toys or he is too close to Hope or the side of the bath then doggie won't swim in a straight line and tends to get stuck on things so can be quite frustrating for Hope who is wanting him to just race off! It is always best to set him in the bath, therefore, well away from other items if possible so that he swims as best he can.
It is only effective if you wind it up properly. If you only manage to turn the dial a couple of times then he only lasts for a second or two but if you manage to turn it all the way (You find it begins to resist being turned once you get to the end) then he will spin his legs for about 60-90 seconds. Turning the dial is easy for adults- as you turn it you should make sure that you hold the legs still so that they don't begin to spin around as you're trying to turn it. It's not stiff to do but the dial itself is quite flat which is easy for adults to grip and turn but very, very difficult for small children. Hope is beginning to get quite independent now and one of her favourite phrases is "Hopey do it" so she likes to try to wind this doggie up herself. She really struggles to do so though, sometimes she manages about a hundred and eighty degree turn but that is about all so it is quite awkward to do which can frustrate some young children who really want t obe able to work this toy all by themselves without having their parents need to help them.
What I think
In terms of quality I cannot fault this toy at all because we have had this for a year at Grandma's house and it is played with every time Hope has a bath there- usually about once a week- and it still looks just as good as new. When she was younger she would hold it and bash it around, perhaps give it the odd chew and that hasn't affected it at all, the paint is still all in tact and there are no scratches or anything on this toy whatsoever so it must be very good quality. Many bath toys tend to get quite mouldy, we have had rubber ducks and fairy squirters which we have had to throw away over time because they manage to build up mould but this is one toy which hasn't done that and I think it may be because it's made out of a robust plastic instead of rubber. the little opening in the mouth makes the water flow out easily too so you can get rid of all the water that would be sitting inside it after a bath which helps to reduce the chances of mould build up.
We didn't buy this for Hope until she was a toddler but I imagine that if you buy it for a baby they will be able to get some pleasure out of it. Just it's bright colours and cute face alone can be appealing to a young child but I also think that they would like to watch him swim, his legs spin and also to just hold onto him if they can. It certainly provides entertainment for toddlers even if they do struggle to work the mechanism all by themselves. I think it would be quite fun to have two of these so that Hope could race them but at the moment she is quite happy just setting the dog down in a certain direction and watching him swim and try to reach targets which she puts down so it certainly does do t he job well in terms of entertaining a toddler at bath time!
What isn't so great is that it is hard for little hands to work all by themselves and this can be frustrating for a toddler as they are trying to be independent and like to do things for themselves. This is a shame but I presume that within another 6 months Hope will be able to work this by herself as she is learning things so quickly. It is also quite frustrating how he can bump into things and seems to get stuck on them and just keeps turning round in circles so it is always best to make sure that if you want the doggie to swim properly that you don't have obstacles in his way or start him off to close to the side of the bath.
For £5 I cannot really fault this toy especially as it's still in such fantastic condition and because Hope seems to really enjoy playing with it. Because it isn't completely fault free though I will knock a star off but I do thoroughly recommend this cute-looking swimming doggie!
At a Glance Wind him up to watch him swim in the bath Features and benefits for ELC Doggie Paddler Wind him up to watch him swim in the bath.