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My in-laws have been collecting toys from charity shops when they see them for their grandchildren, including my son, to play with at theirs when they visit. One of the toys that they have picked up cheaply and in pretty good condition is this Teletubbies Pop in and play by Tomy. At full price, it retails for around £15-£20. It is suitable for children from 12 months of age. THE TOY The toy is essentially a plastic dome with various features for children to play with. The top of the dome is a grass mound or 'Home Hill'. Underneath are living quarters. There are pink slides located in various places that twist around the model. With the main set you get four plastic models - one of each of the teletubbies. These are quite small but still suitably chunky to fit neatly in a 12 month old's hands. On the bottom of the toy, on the plastic floor there is a model of noo-noo, the vacuum cleaner from the show. This can be rotated around in a circle by turning a red circular knob around. There is also a windmill that can be spun around to make a clicking noise and a button that can be pushed to fill the custard machine up. There are three holes in the top of the toy, on the mound. Through these, the teletubby models can be posted and they move down the slides. Depending on which hole they are posted down, the models spiral down to either the bedroom, lounge or outside. The teletubbies each have wheels built into their backs so that they roll neatly down the slides. PLAYTIME Despite not really watching the teletubbies or having any idea what they are, my 14 month old does enjoy playing with this toy - although I believe the models could be anything else and he would still enjoy it! The toy is brightly coloured and attractive and really seems to appeal to him. He particularly likes the little models which are smooth to the touch and solid. The rubber antennaes on their heads seem great as a teething aid too. These fit neatly in his hand and he enjoys passing them from one hand to another. He also loves the action of posting these through the various holes and watching them as they spiral down the slides - enjoying the movement. He can then pick them up from the bottom of the various slides and post them through again - an action that he repeats over and over again! At 14 months, he lacks the skills and co-ordination to be able to turn the circular disc to move noo noo, but he does enjoy to watch it move if you do it for him. He likes to push the button to fill the custard machine up and spin the windmill though. He will play with this toy for a good length of time, despite there not being all that much to do with it. He likes to play with someone with this though rather than independently - enjoying passing the teletubby models back and forth and having you collect them from the bottom of the slides for him to post again. MY OPINION This is a nice toy for younger toddlers to sit at and play with. It helps develop manipulation skills through the handling of the models and pushing buttons or turning knobs. It is also great for helping with hand-eye co-ordination and developing precise movements as the child posts the tubby through the holes and reaches to collect them. It also teaches about consequences to actions - if I put the model through the hole it will slide to the bottom - and provides the child with choices. As my son gets older and starts to learn to talk, the teletubby models can be used to teach him colours (green, red, yellow and blue). The toy can also be used to practice and learn basic vocabulary such as 'down' and 'push'. Therefore, I feel that this toy is fun but also offers some educational value at the same time. The toy is well made and there are no parts that can easily be snapped off or ruined - it is fairly solid and chunky. The version my son plays with is second hand and, whilst it has obviously been played with and enjoyed, it has very little damage or signs of wear and tear - just a few scratches here and there. This, for me, is the sign of a well made toy. It is not a toy I would ever have chosen myself - I have never been a fan of the teletubbies and there is no overwhelming educational benefit to it - but my son does enjoy the repetitive actions to the toy and the movement aspects. I don't believe that it is worth anywhere near the £20 mark it seems to be selling at but I'm sure it could be picked up cheaper on ebay and the like (or indeed in charity shops themselves). At a reasonable price, I would recommend this for 12 -24 month olds as it is a simple but fun toy.
This was a gift we bought for my youngest daughter's 1st birthday. Being the younger of two girls, it was difficult to think of a present for her that we didn't already have in our rather extensive toy box, but we saw this in Toys R Us for half price (£14.99 at the time) and bought it. The reason we chose this for her was because she's one of those children who likes to put things inside things and find out where they go, I suppose it's how she learns about cause and effect - 'if I put this in here, where does it go and how do I get it out again?' - That type of thing. So this toy was perfect. It's called Teletubbies Pop In and Play and it's suitable from 12 months. The toy itself is basically a plastic dome shaped unit which resembles part of the Teletubbies home on the show (if you've seen it) with Home Hill and then various parts of the interior. It's a lot smaller than I thought it was going to be but thinking about it, it's the perfect height for a small child to sit and play at. Also included are obviously the four Teletubbies. The idea of the toy is for the child to 'Pop' the Teletubbies into the 3 holes on the top and see them whizz down the slides and see where they end up. One hole leads to the living area, one leads to the bedroom and one leads to outside. Each slide is a different size and shape, the one that goes to the bedroom is long and bends round (this is the best one); the one that leads to the kitchen is a bit shorter and just straight, and the one that leads outside is very small. What I haven't quite worked out is why there are only 3 holes when there are in fact 4 Teletubbies, surely it would make more sense to have 4 holes so then your child has a place to put each of his or her Teletubby toys. Another strange thing is that there are only 2 beds in the bedroom, surely it would be an improvement if there were 4 beds, so all 4 Teletubbies could have a rest together. I know that would mean making the toy a bit bigger, but they seemed to have cut corners on a number of things which I find is quite frustrating for a child who wants all 4 Teletubbies to be together. Noo Noo (a weird vacuum cleaner type thing) is also included with this toy and this is set on a predetermined track and you can wind a wheel to see him move round and round in circles sucking up all the tubby custard. You also get the custard machine which is just a small loose item that actually has never stayed with this toy since we've had it. It serves no real purpose and would have been better if it had been fixed down. Another useless item is the famous windmill that appears on all the shows; this is quite small and detachable and is often unattached and quite far away from the toy when my children are playing with it. You can turn the windmill to hear a clicking sound but my kids have never bothered with this. They usually just remove it from the toy and forget about it. This would also have been more successful had it been attached to the toy. The actual Teletubbies that come with the toy are small and the perfect size for little hands. They have a small wheel on the back to enable smooth passage down the slides (but I actually think this wheel is quite pointless because they would just zoom down the slides with or without the wheel). A unique thing about these little creatures is their antennae (I don't know if that's what you call them but they all have some weird shape attached to their heads); they are made from a rubbery type material which my youngest daughter just loves to chew on. She is currently teething and her first big teeth are coming through and these seem the perfect size for her to gnaw on which she seems to really enjoy. I don't know whether this was the intended purpose of the rubbery bits, but it sure is handy for my daughter. She has a quick play, then a quick chew, then another play etc etc. So onto the playability of the toy. When my daughter opened it, it was obviously still in its box and required a certain amount of assembly, but if I remember correctly this was just slotting a couple of bits together and then done. There were also a few stickers to add which only took a few moments. Once it was assembled, my youngest daughter (who the toy was intended for) did not a get a look in during the first day, my nearly 3 year was enthralled by it and played with it none stop for the full day (luckily the birthday girl had other new toys to play with). She just loved putting the Teletubbies in the holes and seeing where they ended up. She also loved Noo Noo and kept making him disappear and reappear again. I couldn't actually believe how much fun she had with this toy especially since it's aimed at 1 year olds. So when my 1 year old finally got chance to play with it, she wasn't actually sure what to do until I showed her that the little Teletubbies could be put in the holes, so that's what she started doing. It took her a while to figure out where they were going because she just kept popping them in, then peering down the hole to try and find them. The problem is that depending on which side of the toy you sit at, you can't often see where the all the Teletubbies end up and have to move around to the other side to see them. Now my nearly 3 year old is clever enough to figure this out for herself, but my 1 year old is not, so if she is sat at the wrong side of the toy, she will put the Teletubbies in and will then assume they have vanished and move onto something else. But this is where I can join in with her and magically produce a Teletubby when he has just vanished. We can sit and play like this for ages and she really enjoys it and loves putting the Teletubbies in the holes over and over again. I hope as she grows older she will learn to move around the toy and find out where they end up, and thus be able to entertain herself, as my older daughter has done. The other aspects of the toy, such as the 2 beds and the living area have not provided much play time for either of my children, but I think these bits have just been added to add more detail to the toy. I think the main focus of the toy is the slides and I do think it's an excellent idea. I've never actually seen anything like this before, apart from as part of a toy garage or something similar. What I would have preferred to see on this toy is 4 slides rather than 3 and perhaps more bends and curves on them. There is only one slide which I think is of a good size, the other two are a bit naff and in my opinion could have been longer. But having said that, neither of my daughters have shown any distaste about the size of any of the slides so why am I complaining?! I just think toy companies don't put enough thought into their toys sometimes! It's a really good toy and has provided lots of enjoyment for my kids, but I am not giving it 5 stars because I think there are too many bad points in the design aspect for it gain full marks. Currently available on Amazon for £24.99