“ Brand: ELC / Age: 12 months „
The ELC wooden stacker is a series of brightly coloured different shaped rings, which stack onto a central base and pole, and is topped by a big wooden ball. It is aimed at children between 12 and 24 months.
The stacker is beautifully made from FSC certified wood. There are no sharp edges - all the surfaces have been very well sanded and smoothed. The base, pole and top are unpainted, but lightly varnished. The seven rings are painted in bright (non toxic) colours, which are largely excellent for helping your child to learn their colours. That is, however, apart from the two blue rings at the top, which my daughter seems to be unable to distinguish between - perhaps the ELC would have been better painting these in two completely different colours rather than two slightly varying shades of blue!
The central pole slots into the base, but remains loose and wobbly. The base and top are rounded. The ELC states that this is to prevent injury if a child falls onto the toy. There are several reviews on the ELC site where the reviewer is unhappy with the central pole not being fixed to the base, as they feel it makes this toy difficult to use. This could be the case for a child at the younger end of the age range the stacker is intended for. However, I feel that it is safer for the pole to remain unfixed, and that by 18 months at the latest it is definitely easy for a child to play with.
This is an incredibly simple toy, but is brilliant for a child's development and learning in many different ways, including hand eye coordination, counting skills, and colour recognition. It is also very well made and durable - we have had ours for approximately a year now, and it has been bashed around by our nearly two year old and her 4 year old twin sisters, and it is still in very condition, albeit with a few small chips on the paint!
I have seen several stackers of this type on the market, some of which are cheaper. There is a similar polka dot wooden stacker in ToysRus retailing at £5.99, which seems very reasonable although I am unable to comment on the quality of the item. The ELC wooden stacker is available for £10 on the Early Learning Centre website. Whilst this does seem a little steep for a basic child's toy, I think the quality and durability of the stacker makes the item a good, if slightly expensive, buy.
When we are learning about size in the classroom, stackers are one of the toys we frequently use, and this is one of the better ones I have found.
**Product and Packaging**
The stacker comes nicely boxed and without lots of bits of paper with the instructions- it's really self explanatory! There are a few ideas on the side of the box with the different ways it can be used - Smallest to biggest hoops and vice versa, and talking about smallest and largest hoops. I don't know whether these little tips are strictly necessary because it seems to me fairly obvious what you would talk about, but I suppose they have to have something on the box, and it serves as a reminder.
Inside the easily opened box is the stacker- thankfully with no plastic packaging. The stacker can literally be taken out of the box and used.
The stacker is made up of:
* 7 colourful wooden discs- pink, red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue
* 1 natural wooden base
* 1 natural wooden pole, which sits on the base
* 1 natural wooden ball to go on the top when it is completed.
**Who is it for?**
The box suggests that it is for children from 12- 24 months. I would tend to agree with this, but would see no reason why children couldn't use it before to help manipulate objects and generally explore toys.
**Price and Availability**
Available in store and online, www.elc.co.uk. The stacker costs #10
A sturdy toy which has taken some use in the classroom.
We have used it to help children see the difference in size and to differentiate between colours as well as the usual stacking from smallest to biggest and biggest to smallest. The colours are bright without being garish and I like the fact that there is a light and dark blue, helping children talk about the shades of colour as they get a bit older than the suggested age range. We try to sort them into rainbow colours but can't! Children enjoy stacking the hoops according to their own criteria, and can sometimes be encouraged to explain why they have stacked them this way- I find they usually use the colours to describe the different hoops rather than the sizes.
The whole toy is nice and smooth, so even if children put it into their mouths, they shouldn't do any damage. The actual hoops are large enough for children to get hold of easily but not so big that small hands are stretched.
There is no warning sign stating that it is not safe for children under a certain age, so I assume that it's safe for all.
A great toy to encourage discussion, increase coordination skills and the decide independently what goes next.
A built to last toy from one of my favourite suppliers of children's equipment
Thanks for reading.
7 stacking rainbow coloured discs.