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We were originally bought the Little Tikes Piano by my parents for my sons first Christmas. My son is now three and has outgrown it so it has been passed down to our littlest man, who has been playing with it since he was around seven months old and still plays with it now at 16 months.
The piano is basically a small keyboard aimed at children aged 6 months to 3 years. By pressing the large chunky keys a sound is made and the keys go up and down the scale as it would on a real piano. It doesn't require batteries as it relies on baby tapping the keys.
The little piano is visually very appealing to babies. It is a bright red colour and the keys are equally bold in green, blue, yellow and orange. My little ones took an interest in the piano straight away and I think the bright colours help with that. I have found that toys in neutral, pale shades don't grab their attention nearly as much. The piano is also a good size and the keys are perfect for chunky uncoordinated little fingers. Even as a seven months old my youngest son happily bashed away at the keys, delighted at making such noise.
It's very easy for even small children to use and the knowledge that it won't constantly need batteries replacing is a major positive. Also because it isn't electronic and it relies on the child tapping the keys for it to work, it isn't constantly going off. A lot of toys aimed at this age are electronic and go on and on and on...and Drive me insane. Even when my son is playing with it it's not overly annoying. The sounds are not to loud or too tinny and is no more annoying than a basic xylophone.
Developmentally this toys has its benefits as not only is it helping babies motor skills and hand eye coordination, it also helps establish an understanding of cause and effect. Baby learns that every time they tap the keys a sound is made, helping them make the basic connection that for every action there is a reaction.
As much as both of my sons loved this toy, it's not one of those toys that can be played with for a long period of time. Both my sons can quite happily pass time playing quietly with jigsaws, books, toy cars, animals etc, where this one loses its appeal quite quickly. Every time I get it out of the toy box my little one plays with it and looks delighted...for about 5 minutes. The novelty soon wears off and he goes to look for something else. My eldest son outgrew the toy when he was 2 despite it being suitable up until 3 years. I think maybe if it had more keys it might hold their interest a bit longer but with their only being four, they become bored quite quickly. My youngest son is still happy playing with it (albeit for a short amount of time) but I predict that it will only be a matter of a few months before he too loses interest completely.
Another minor downside is the lack of a tool of some kind so the child can play the keys on the top. I gave my little ones a small spoon for them to use to hit the keys on the top to teach them an extra way of making sounds with it, and prolong the fun a little longer.
You can buy the piano from most toy stores, I think my mum bought ours from Argos for around £10. For the price I think it's definitely worth it. It's been robust and durable and after 3 years it still looks great. I would however recommend it for smaller children, as in my experience they tend to lose interest after around 18 months
Little Tikes specialise in colourful, imagination-building, durable baby toys, playhouses, infant toys, toddler toys, indoor toys, outdoor, and ride on toys for preschoolers and other children. Grand Piano sound comes from four easy to press keys! Musical notes go up or down the scale. Smooth, gently rounded corners make it ideal for baby’s first instrument. Features - Suitable from 6-36 Months - Smooth, gently rounded corners - Four easy to press keys - Musical notes go up or down the scale