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My little ones were forever trying to grab and chew things that they shouldn't as soon as they were mobile. When I first saw this range of toddler gadgets created by the Early Learning Centre I thought they were a fantastic idea and a great, safe way of solving the problem.
Sadly I had not counted on how intelligent my little toddler actually was and there was no fooling him at all. He knew straight away that these were a toy that he was allowed to play with and the attraction remained for all of the forbidden adult stuff so that was a bit of a non-starter!
The toys themselves are fun sturdy plastic replicas of their adult counterparts. The set includes a remote control, 'smartphone' and a set of keys. Surprisingly, the smartphone never really appealed to my son. I think the sounds it made were just too muted for obvious safety reasons and I don't think he fully understood that it was meant to represent a phone. (Ironically he would hold the toy remote control up to his ear instead and say 'hello' with that instead!)
The control, when not being used as a phone, was more of a hit and provided a lot of entertainment. I liked the use of different languages but I'm not sure that any of that was absorbed by my son. He's certainly not proficient in any foreign languages now as a result of that early exposure! I think it's more about having fun at that age and learning about cause and effect as the different buttons are pressed, creating sound and lights to go off.
The keys probably proved the biggest hit as it is something that can easily be sucked chewed and mouthed to any toddler's content! The noises here were realistic and quite loud and the colours bold and entertaining. Disappointingly, the ELC have updated this set now and chose to go for the different colours for different genders approach again! I much prefer the bold primary colours of this original version so would advise purchasing a second hand set if possible rather than going 'pink'!
Our little son is literally obsessed with our phones and our Sky+ remote. He's always wriggling about to get to them if hes on our laps and knows when we hide them, so we figured to pacify him (hopefully) we would try and find a realistic looking toy remote and phone for him.
We searched and searched but they all looked like toys obviously. We wanted something that looked like our remote and phone as we had tried him with a yellow toy remote from Tesco and he wasn't having any of it. Eventually we found the 'My First Gadget Set' from ELC. It was available in two colour options - the bright colourful ones - green, blue and red, or a more realistic looking set that were greys and blacks. So we got the grey/black set.
The sets cost £19.99, and you receive a remote control, phone, and set of keys. They are all strong plastic, with no sharp edges or easily removable parts. The key fob in our set is a dark grey, with 3 keys - blue, red and yellow. The mobile phone mimics a touchscreen phone, is also a dark grey and has a sticker on the screen which when you press on certain icons produces different sounds. Lastly the remote, which is our sons favourite, looks very much like a Sky remote. Dark base, grey central insert and grey buttons. It looks so like our actual remote there has been a number of times we have picked it up my mistake! Each button on the remote produces different sounds and it has the options of talking in French, Spanish, English or a sound setting.
Our boy loves these gadgets! He has stopped trying to get our phone and remote, so we have fooled him for now! The set is high quality and a good price at £19.99 for the set of three. As the items are from ELC you can be safe in the knowledge that they have passed safety tests and are suitable for your child.
But not only does this set mean your own gadgets are free from curious hands, but it also helps educate the children. The remote with its number buttons helps them to recognise sounds of number. And then pressing the buttons and phone screen helps develop the finer motor skills!
I would highly recommenced the ELC My First Gadget Set to anyone! Whether you child is happy with the colourful set or you think they'd prefer the more realistic set, you coldnt go wrong buying this for their Christmas stocking!
Why us it that whenever you give a child a toy they will find your keys/mobile phone/remote control much more interesting than the expensively priced toy designed just for their needs that you have just handed them. Give it a few months and they will be able to work your iPhone with ease, put in your secret password and download expensive apps that you don't even know how to work yourself!! I know my daughter loved these things when she was very little and still does now which is why we bought her The Early Learning Centre trio of first gadgets.
The gadgets included in this set are a smart phone, a set of keys on a key fob and a remote control. They are all really bright and colourful and attractive to the eye. The mobile phone is blue and looks just like a blackberry with the same sort of icons on it and similar in look and feel. It is obviously not as heavy but still feels the same when you hold it in the palm of your hand. The buttons are there already on the screen so all you need to do is touch them and they will make sounds as well as light up. This phone actually rings as well so makes little kids think they are playing with a real phone.
The remote control is red and has blue buttons on it. This looks exactly like my Sky + remote and has all the same buttons in the exact same places including the big round button in the middle. This is a great learning tool as well because you can set the phone to say phrases in three different languages, English of course and also French and Spanish. This is a great way of introducing language and getting kids used to hearing different phrases.
The keys come in a set of three which dangle at the end of a green key fob, The keys are then coloured blue, yellow and red. Every child loves a set of keys and this is better to give them than risk losing your house key/car key etc.
I like these gadgets as they are small enough to pop into your changing bag and take out with you to have something for he kids to play with when they are out. The set is a bit expensive at £20 in my opinion but a nice well though out set of toys.
Like most babies I know, my son has a little obsession with out tv remote. In an effort to reduce this, we opted for the Early Learning Centre My First Gadget Set. We knew full well it probably wouldn't fool him, but it looked like a pretty nice set to have anyway. It is suitable from 12 months of age.
The set retails at £20, although we bought this in a sale so got it for £16. Within the set you get three plastic gadgets - a bunch of keys with fob, a smartphone and a remote control.
The key set has three plastic keys. Each key has a different colour top - red, blue and yellow. They keys are also different shapes and made from grey plastic. The edges are smooth to ensure safety. These are connected via an orange ring to the green plastic fob. On this there are four push buttons, each to 'control' a different thing. The buttons are different colours and have a black picture of what they control on them. Next to the button is a light of the same colour as the button which lights when the button is pressed. The red button has a motorbike on it and, when pressed, makes the noise of a motorbikes engine revving. The orange button controls the horn and beeps when pressed. The green button is for the car and makes the noise of a car's door locking/unlocking. Finally, the yellow button is for the house and plays a doorbell.
The keys require 2 AAA batteries to function and these are included when purchased. The fob is pretty lightweight and my son can grip this easily in one hand. He loves the buttons and these help him to develop his manipulation skills as he learns to press them. He is also learning that his actions can have a consequence by enjoying the noises made when he presses the buttons. He also loves to hold the fob and shake it so that the keys rattle, aiding his co-ordination skills.
The remote control is made of red plastic and a little smaller than an actual TV remote. The buttons on the remote are very similar to an actual remote too - there is an orange round button at the top left of the remote to turn the appliance on and off. There are then a series of blue push buttons - circle ones for the numbers 0-9 with the numbers written above, shaped buttons to control a dvd player (play being a triangle etc) and a large circle broken into sections to control volume and flick the channels up and down.
At the bottom of the remote there is a row of four coloured buttons which control the mode of the remote. Green is for the music mode, orange for English, Purple for French and Yellow for Spanish. When the buttons are pressed, different sounds are played. Some buttons play the same sound whichever mode the remote is in, for example the volume up plays a noise that increases in volume. The number buttons, when pressed, play the number in the selected language for example 1 -'one', 'un' and 'uno'. In music mode, they play different noises.
The remote also requires two AAA batteries to operate. The remote is pretty large but still easily gripped by my son. He loves to press the buttons and smiles with glee as the noises sound. This helps his manipulation skill and will help him with his number recognition. It will also help him to learn things like 'louder' and 'quieter' by virtue of the volume control buttons.
The phone is made of blue plastic and the front is covered in a large sticker. This covers up the buttons underneath so that the phone appears to be a touch screen, just like a real smartphone would be. There are 16 app buttons as well as a call and end call button. These are green and red receivers as they would be on a real phone. When pressed the green button rings and then says 'hello, how are you?' and the red button says 'bub-bye'. There is a white light between the two buttons that lights when any button is pressed.
There are 16 different apps and when each is pressed, a different noise is made. Each has a different icon too. For example there is a picture of a calendar and, when pressed it says 'today is going to be a great day'. Other apps include clock, travel, shopping and camera.
Again, this needs two AAA batteries to function. This is a little harder for my son to grip in one hand as it is quite wide. He loves to press the buttons though and, again, loves it when the noises play. As he gets older, I think this will be a great prop for role play but, at the moment, it has little other function than to make the noises. As he gets older, he will also hopefully learn to associate the picture with the noises made and this will help him to learn words and aid his language skills.
MY OVERALL OPINION
This is a lovely and very realistic gadget set for baby to own. The gadgets are really imaginative and well made. They are also very stimulating for baby - with the bright colours, lights and lots of different noises. The key fob in particular was a revelation to me - so well made and thought out and very different to the other 'learning keys' I have seen on the market for babies.
As suspected, the remote doesn't fool my son and he still makes the occasional lunge for our remote. When he does so, I hand him his and we press the buttons together and he seems happy with this (for now at least!). The level of noise on all three toys is bearable - they are not so loud that they are overbearing and my son is happy with the volume. This is just as well as there is no switch on them to adjust the volume. They is also, rather annoyingly, no on-off switch. This is irritating to us as we keep my son's toys in a toy box and that means that these inevitably go off randomly as other toys touch them. Not only annoying but also likely to somewhat shorten the battery life.
All the gadgets offer learn through play opportunities to my son and pushing the buttons is also fun to him. The gadgets are lovely handheld toys to him at the moment that he can explore with his fingers and mouth. Eventually, as he gets older, I believe they will be lovely toys for role-play - starting the car up, phoning people etc and will help him develop his imagination as well as his language skills. I am not sure about how I feel about the remote teaching french and spanish - on one hand it is good as he canm learn a bit of these languages but on the other I worry it will confuse him and would rather he learnt english first!
These are lovely toys and appeal to my son who is showing an early interest in boys toys! I am really pleased with them and would highly recommend them to others.
Just like any other toddler his age, fourteen month old Freddy has a fascination with any and everything that he's not allowed to play with. Give him half a chance and he'd quite happily disappear with the remote controls, hide the keys in his toy box or phone Daddy with Mummy's mobile phone. Considering how much it would cost to replace all these gadgets, £20 seems a fairly small price to pay if only Freddy could be persuaded that toy gadgets are more fun than the real thing, and so I bought this My First Gadget Set from the ELC a couple of months ago.
==Just Like Mummy's - A Parent's View==
The ELC My First Gadget Set comprises of three toys in one, all of which were easy to remove from the packaging, with a minimum number of those horrid plastic ties. Within the set your child gets a TV remote control, set of keys and touch screen phone, all of which require a pair of AAA batteries, of which the first set are supplied.
While many of these first gadget sets look very babyish, this set looks a lot more like their grown-up counterparts. The remote control looks very similar to a Sky+ remote, albeit a bright red one. There are lots of buttons to press which will not only make the "infrared" light work at the top of the control, but will also set off a number of different sounds. While the function buttons make lots of different crazy sounds, the numerical keypad while produce the relevant number. But that's not all, there are buttons at the bottom that change the language these numbers are said in, from English, to Spanish or French. A final button changes all the sounds to crazy noises, that almost sound like snippets from a TV.
At approximately six inches in length, this is actually slightly larger than many real remotes and being made of hard plastic it does hurt if it's thrown at you (or a certain someone decides to hit you over the head with it). The noise level that this emits is perfectly reasonable, loud enough to be heard but not so loud that it drives you crazy when the same button is pressed continuously. The buttons are all raised, well spaced and easy for little (and not so little) fingers to press. While the remote is made of durable plastic and the battery compartment is well secured (via a tiny screw) the actual decoration is formed from a sticker. So far this sticker has stood up to all attempts to peel it off (along with the occasional chew), but as far as I'm concerned it would have been better if the detail had been printed on.
The pale blue mobile phone looks very much like an iPhone, only slightly bigger. At approximately four inches by two inches it fits nicely in my hand, but is a little too large for the younger end of the recommended age group. Just like a real touch screen phone there are no raised buttons, instead there is a menu on the screen with a total of fifteen different flush buttons. Among the different options is a camera that makes a noise just like a shutter, a taxi that beeps, a ringer that rings and says "hello" and hang up that says "bye, bye". As this is designed to be held against the ear, the sounds on the phone are very quiet, they can be heard but are easily drowned out by other background noise. As with the remote the phone is well constructed and durable, all except for the fact that a sticker has once more been used for the detail.
The final gadget in the set is a key fob complete with a set of three keys. At about three inches in length, the fob is quite large and as it contains a set of batteries it's fairly heavy. All three of the keys are different and it's easy to pretend that one is the car key, while another is the front door and the third is for the garage. Just like most modern car key fobs this has buttons on it that make noises and light lights. There is a red button that makes the sound of a motorbike revving, the orange light sets off the horn, the green button makes that noise that central locking makes and the yellow button plays a door bell. Each of the buttons has a picture that corresponds to the sound it makes and has a light next to it that lights up as the button is pressed. Again the sounds are loud enough to hear, but not so loud that they become annoying and the set is well made (this time without stickers).
What I as an adult particularly like about this gadget set is how, while they are still very obviously a toy, they are very realistic and look almost exactly like the real thing. These don't look in the least bit babyish and I'm sure that they will be played with for many years to come. They are also very durable, they have been thrown across the room on several occasions without being damaged. Although they take batteries, I've not had to replace the original, demonstration set and that's with a couple of months of fairly extensive use. The only thing that I, as a parent, can really complain about is the use of stickers for detail.
==Not Mummy's, Mine - A Child's View==
This gadget set was specifically bought to try and protect our own more expensive gadgets from Freddy's inquisitive little hands and were bought for Freddy just before his first birthday. At that point he had developed a rather healthy interest in both the remote control and my mobile phone, to the point where he was constantly trying to get hold of them and then hiding them when he did. To begin with I just gave him the remote, which he absolutely loved, in fact out of the three gadgets the remote is still his favourite. Although he started by just pressing the buttons, recently he's started showing a little more imagination while he plays with it. He'll now sit in front of the TV and point the remote while pressing the buttons, pretending to turn it on/over. Lucky for us, he far prefers this remote to the real things, meaning that our remotes are safe as long as the toy is available. The only thing is that he now can't work out why other remotes don't make the noises, but the fact they don't means he'll soon lose interest.
Freddy's not so keen on the phone, when he first got it he couldn't work out how it made noises as there are no actual buttons to press. But he seems to have been watching me use my touch screen phone and in the last few weeks has been more successful at pressing the screen. He also has a much more babyish mobile (The ELC My First Mobile) and where he used to use that to phone Daddy, in the last couple of weeks this phone has replaced that. I still wouldn't say that it was a toy that he plays with regularly or makes a bee-line for, but he will use it to talk to Daddy at work a couple of times a day.
Of the three gadgets, the key fob comes in the middle in Freddy estimations. He will play with it several times a day for short periods, mostly just pressing the buttons (Freddy does like pressing buttons). Unlike his baby keys (teethers), he doesn't actually chew on these keys, I'm not sure why, perhaps they just don't feel as nice in the mouth. As with the remote and phone, Freddy is slowing starting to use these keys in role play, and he does like being just like Mummy and Daddy and having his own set of keys.
As well as being played with by Freddy these gadgets are also played with by his little friends when they come to visit. Some of these little friends are older than Freddy, and his two year little friend loves to play with these. She'll show a lot more imagination when she plays with them, using the keys to start toy cars and open doors and playing "games" on the phone. For some reason she's not as keen on the remote as Freddy, but that's probably because it doesn't actually put the cartoons on TV.
==Learning Is All About Fun==
As with any toy (even a toilet roll tube) this gadget set will help your child develop and improve all important skills. The ELC themselves state that these toys will encourage your child to enjoy using their imagination and inspire them to explore and enjoy the world around them. I guess this is just about right as children learn by copying and what better way to encourage them to copy than to give them toy versions of everyday objects that Mummy or Daddy use daily. I have actually watched Freddy go from simply pressing the buttons on these to start actually pretending that they're the real thing. I also think the fact that these do look far more realistic than many equivalent toys, further encourages role play. But as well as encouraging the already stated skills, these also reward improving hand-coordination with the sounds and lights as buttons are pressed. The remote also introduces numbers in English, French and Spanish, although I must say that I'm yet to be convinced that this will turn Freddy into a linguistic marvel.
As to the recommended age range, well I do think that the lower limit of a year is about right. Freddy was just under a year when he received these and found the phone a little too large. In fact I would say that all three pieces are a little heavy for younger children. I would think that the upper age limit is perhaps a little on the over-cautious side, as I could certainly see a child much older than three playing with the phone, especially as it looks far more realistic than many mobiles intended for their age group.
Although at £20 this is a relatively expensive outlay, the ELC My First Gadget Set is ultimately a well made set of toys that Freddy has enjoyed playing with. The very fact that he prefers playing with these to the real thing means that they are more than worth the initial cost. I'm therefore recommending this set for inquisitive toddlers who want to be just like Mummy and Daddy and are constantly trying to play with the real thing. As to stars out of five, I've just had a little talk with Freddy and we both agree that this gadget set deserves four out of five.