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My youngest has recently turned one and several family members asked what he would like as a present. When it comes to presents for my children I always ask for things that my common sense won't let me buy for them myself but that I know they would absolutely love. I saw these stacking cups on Amazon and fell in love with them but my brain saw the price and started murmuring 'you already have two incomplete sets of stacking cups....and you can buy a simple set for £1 in Poundland and he doesn't need them.......' So I sent the link to my brother who duly purchased them for my son's birthday for £8.99.
They come packaged in an open fronted cardboard box and further imprisoned in two layers of clear plastic boxing. I was expecting a real struggle to get them out but the box opened easily and the plastic inner just slid out onto the floor. One snip of sellotape and the inner broke apart and the cups fell out into my hands. Having already wrestled for ten minutes to get a police car out of its wired, screwed and glued packaging this was a pleasant surprise.
As you can see from the picture you get seven brightly coloured cups, each one a different colour, each fitting into another. The plastic is very sturdy and around the top of each cup is a softer plastic pattern, again each one is different and in another colour to the main cup colour. The bottom of each cup is moulded into a shape; geometric squares, circles and triangles plus other more organic shapes such as a flower. They nest easily and also can be stacked on top of each other to form a sort of pagoda tower.
The moment my son opened the wrapping and saw the box he started jiggling on the spot, wiggling his legs and shuffling with glee. He sat on my lap as I unwrapped the cups and he slid off straight away to start playing with them. My son loves to chew and mouth them as the sturdy plastic moulded shapes and softer plastic patterns on the top of the cups makes them deliciously tactile and the bright colours make them hard to resist for babies. They are very easy to nest and stack and even my five year old wanted to 'help' her brother play with them. The lip around the top of the cup means they are much easier to stack than ordinary cups as they don't slip so easily out of little hands; less dexterity is required and so the whole process is much easier for a younger child. The resulting tower is slightly stronger than ordinary cups and can take a little more pressure before falling, so an accidental uncontrolled movement doesn't result in disaster, frustration and tears. All the cups fall with a satisfying clatter though when thwacked.
These type of stacking cups have multiple uses beyond stacking and nesting as you can also use them to teach your child about colours, counting, sizes and shapes. Previous sets have additionally been used to bang together, as drums, in the bath, on the beach, in the garden, in the play kitchen as pans/crockery/cups, to hide things in, as boats for Duplo people, emergency picnic cups, impromptu hats, to collect things such as blackberries, stones or even once worms! But this set are so lovely that I am going to make the effort to keep them together; they are a definite upgrade on previous sets which are bog standard cup shapes. Their size means that they are easy to pop under the pushchair or into my handbag if we are going out, as nested they are only about 20 centimetres high and 15 centimetres wide. My son will quite happily sit on the floor for twenty minutes or so, quietly putting the cups in order which is pretty impressive for a normally completely hyperactive whirlwind of a child!
As you can probably tell I am a big fan of this sort of toy for babies and this would make a lovely present for a baby from newborn up to the age of about 18 months. If I was starting again with the toy buying with my two children, rather than having a house floating in miscellaneous coloured plastic, I probably would have chosen these over other cups for their obvious extra play value, durability and extra bright colours. I can see these being around for a good few years, especially as my five year old still finds multiple uses for her old cups; and I will be buying another set for the latest new baby in the family. I would certainly recommend this rainbow stacker for parents and grandparents, especially as it makes a super gift.