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My son loves toys with simple actions leading to movements so when I saw these roll n race chase and race ramps on offer at £6.99 in Argos I thought they would be a good purchase. They usually retail at around £16.99 so this was definitely a great price to pay. The toy is for babies aged 6 months and over. It requires 2 x AA batteries, which are not supplied. THE TOY The toy is basically a rectangular plastic block that stands freely and consists of three ramps. It is purple and orange in colour. With the ramps comes two roll 'n' race cars - one yellow and one red. Roll 'n' race cars move as they have a brightly coloured plastic ball set in them that rolls around, moving the car along. This means that they do not need revolving wheels so there is no danger of trapped fingers for such young babies. At the bottom of the ramp set there is an on-off switch. When switched on, the cars activate sounds as they reach the bottom of the ramp. There is also a roller that can be flicked round by baby. The cars roll down the ramp and move forwards and backwards as they zig zag down. PLAYTIME The simplicity of this toy and the repetitive nature really makes it appeal to my son. He will play with this toy for large periods of time and enjoys placing the cars at the top and watching as they cascade down. As they do so, he looks proudly on - pleased with what he has achieved. We got this for him when he was about 11 months. I do not believe that he would have been able to place the cars in the ramp himself at 6 months (although he probably would have enjoyed watching them move down if we did this for him). At 11 months however, he had the co-ordination to pick the cars up and place them in the ramp - although sometimes not always in the right position. At first, he would become frustrated if he put them in incorrectly but he soon problem-solved and quickly learned the position they needed to be in to move down the ramps easily. The toy can be played with the sounds switched on or off - whilst my son undoubtedly enjoys hearing the noises when the cars reach the bottom of the ramp, he does not appear to miss it when switched off. Therefore it is also a good toy for when I need some quiet play! MY VIEW This toy is good for developing my son's hand-eye co-ordination as he places the cars at the top of the ramp. It also helps his manipulation skills as he grasps the cars and spins them round to fit into the ramp or grabs them to remove them from the bottom of the ramp. It has also encouraged him to think about his actions and problem solve as the cars need to be put in in the correct position to ensure they make it to the bottom. Another good learning benefit of the ramps is giving an understanding of actions and consequences - if the car is placed correctly at the top of the ramp it will always fall to the bottom. For me, this was a toy that I bought because I knew my son would love it rather than thinking about the learning benefits it had. Therefore I am very pleased that my son enjoys playing with it and has also gained some great developmental benefits. The cars are well designed and move well, although they can flip the wrong way and become stuck in the ramp halfway down - leading to much frustration! Personally, I think this toy is very expensive at it's usual RRP - I don't believe it has enough features or things to do to warrant such a high price tag. I also think that 6 months is a little young to be gaining much from this toy - I would say an age of 9 months would be more suitable. If you can find this for a cheaper price than the RRP, however, I would definitely recommend the purchase!
This was a gift that Liam received for his first birthday and which he still pretty much plays with on a daily basis. It's consists of two roller "cars" and a plastic garage which is really just a zig-zag of ramps. The cars roll and flip down the zig-zag ramps, hit the pressure pad which activates a noise and then roll out the bottom. Repeat over and over and over - forever..... It also has a plastic shaped petrol pump on one side which has a rolling cylinder which also produces various sound effects when spun. It's a simple concept but one that does seem to captivate Liam and which he does really seem to enjoy playing with. His big sisters will sometimes play with it with him too, although they don't really find it that interesting. They are sophisticated six and a half year olds though! Liam loves the noises produced when the cars are rolled down the ramp - there's a "vroom, vroom" car sound, some funky little tunes (which we, naturally, do our own funky wee dances to), "glug, glug" petrol-filling type noises and, of course, tooting-type "beep, beep" sounds. The volume is at an acceptable level, but is not adjustable. There is an "Off" position though (thank goodness.) The red and yellow cars, by themselves, are not great as being used as just cars, as they don't really scoot properly across surfaces as they rest on the ball that they have in their centre rather than on their wheels. The wheels are moulded plastic and part of the body of the cars and don't actually revolve anyway. They tend to "skate" across surfaces more than drive and Liam does tend to only use them with the ramps, favouring other vehicles for playing with on the floor. The cars, on the whole, do roll and flip down the ramps fairly efficiently, although they do get stuck occasionally. Standard cars are not really compatible with the ramps as they don't really flip over, although they can slide down on their roofs in a Starskey-and-Hutch-esque manner..... Liam does also experiment with sliding down his wooden blocks and other bit and bobs, and I have also clocked him trying to get the cars to slide back UP the ramps on occasions. It's a shame really that the petrol pump does not have a hose and nozzle so that the child could pretend to fuel up the car, but it is possible that the introduction of small components would mean that the toy would be deemed unsuitable for younger children. As it is, I can see that this toy will have limited shelf-life and that by the time Liam turns two, we will really need to consider getting him a more sophisticated car and garage-type combo. The whole thing is plastic so it is durable, lightweight and easily cleaned with a damp cloth or a couple of baby wipes. I won't recommend immersing it in water due to the battery compartment. This has been a good toy for what it is. It can be used by a child who can sit independently, but not necessarily move around too much. It is colourful and the whole thing is good and sturdy. Being Fisher Price, it comes from a well established brand and certainly seems to be of good quality construction. Unlike some "first" garages, it is reasonably compact and only has a small footprint (approximately 11cm x 21cm) and the whole thing is about the size of a showbox. Suitable for 6 months and over, currently £16.99 in Argos, £12.00 on Kiddicare.com. Requires 2 x AA batteries (supplied) Four stars - recommended but it will have appeal for a limited time only.