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With 3 children we found it hard to find toys for my youngest son on his first Christmas as he was only 6 months old so when I came across this in the Sainsbury's half price sale I thought it looked great and purchased it for him. The toy Around the top of the base are four sea animals a turtle, a dolphin, a crab and an octopus each is bright in colour and a perfect size for little one to grab and play with. They are made with plastic and each wobble and allow a little movement when little one touches them and this actually sets of one of the features. There are 3 light up buttons between the animals which when pressed activate different activities again large in size so perfect for little hands. Although the toy is large and a great size it is not too heavy meaning little one can move it around easily and put it in a better position for them if it does manage to slip away from them. There is a large starfish in the middle on the base and when little one pushes this down that is what activates the spinning top. This can be a little stiff for younger children as it can be rather tough to push all the way down but this becomes easier as they get older and it encourages little one to keep trying and master the movement needed. When little one finally does push the spinner down they are rewarded with music and sea noises which they think is fantastic also a flashing light jumps between the buttons meaning they have music played and lights shown so they soon learn what they need to do for this to happen again. The bright colours and friendly animals help draw in little ones attention and overall it is a lovely looking toy and I can see what the first look appeal would be for children. In play As the top of the toy spins but the bottom of the base is large and sturdy it can be sat in front of little one and they can play with it easily enough without it toppling over but the spinning feature is very entertaining for little one. Around the top of the base are four sea animals a turtle, a dolphin, a crab and an octopus each is bright in colour and a perfect size for little one to grab and play with.What we like is each part of the toy little one presses they are rewarded with a light or a sound encouraging them to master their fine motor skills. If you press the animals they wobble and then a song or sound is played, again if you press the buttons a light is shown and of course if you press the star fish then the top rotates so no matter where little one places their hands they are interacting with the toy and this is great for children at the younger age recommendation. There are 2 modes music mode which sings lots of lovely songs about sea animals and the sea (rather annoying for mummy and daddy after the first few times you hear them) but my children seem to adore them and as they run on a random loop the child never knows what tune to expect. There are a fair amount of different tunes too so they do not get boring for little one and each one contains facts about the ocean. The songs are really catchy which is great as it helps children remember them well.The second mode is learning mode when you press the spinner or any of the buttons in this mode then the toy will ask little one a question like where is the turtle? Or where is the colour red encouraging little one to join in and learn something new. This mode is of course designed for older children but it is perfect in encouraging learning and interacting with the toy. When they get an answer correct they get a round of applause and flashing lights so they know they have answered correctly. This toy teaches little one about sea animals, colours and numbers and has 3 different ways to hold their attention and continue to make the toy fun for them without it growing old too quick. I did find younger children are attracted to this toy a lot more and it holds their attention a lot better but my older children do give this some play time on occasions just for shorter amounts of time and less frequently.The toy can be used when it is switched off the top will still spin without any music or lights and although mummy loves this option the children of course prefer to have it switched on. We found the top spins easily no matter what type of flooring we use it on as the base provides a steady ground anyway. This toy is very well made like I have found all vetch toys to be and after all the play time it has received , knocks, bangs and general rough play younger children deliver to their toys it has shown no sign of wear. Negatives The only downside to this toy is there is no volume control just a simple on and off button. This toy is very loud and although my children like the volume of the toy this is another that really does send you mad. Also the batteries are not included when you purchase this set and it takes 2 AAs but once these are installed they last for a long time we brought this toy over 15 months ago and they show no sign of letting up. Summary All three of my children love this toy it is recommended from 6 months old to 3 years old which I think is about right as my youngest son received this for his first Christmas and although he was not able to spin it on his own he loved the lights and the noises when his brother or sister span it for him. It encourages children to sit up and play and my son soon found out how to operate the toy and he really enjoyed it. My daughter also loved it she loves anything musical and will sit and clap her hands and spin the toy over and over again just for the music but now she is a little older she loves taking part in the challenges the toy has to offer and loves it when she gets a round of applause. My eldest son who is four does not have much time for this toy but he will on occasions sit and play with it but as the challenges are rather simple and aimed at younger children he becomes bored with it easily. You can purchase this toy for around £15 and as it is from vetch it is available at most toy stores and supermarkets. This toy is well made, noisy but my children love the songs and it has flashing lights. There is a lot for little one to interact with and where ever they lay there hand they will set a feature of the toy off so is great for young children exploring. I would recommend this toy but be prepared to find yourself singing along to the songs.
My mum recently bought this toy for my 8 month old son. The minimum age recommended for this toy was 6 months so he was well above this and it is ideal for babies that can sit independently and play. The toy currently retails at around £12.99. This is a really lovely toy that does so much and is educational too. The toy is made of plastic and features four different animals on the base, each a different colour. The base is blue to represent the sea and there is a green turtle, red crab, pink octopus and grey dolphin. In the middle of the toy there is a bright yellow starfish plunger which can be pushed down to make the toy spin. There are also three coloured buttons on the base that can be pressed as well as a flick switch to turn on/off and select between music and learning modes. When in music mode, the plunger can be pushed and the toy spins and plays a melody - various nursery rhymes, for example twinkle twinkle little star. The lights on the coloured buttons also light up so that the toy flashes. My son really enjoys watching this and listening to the music, clapping his hands in appreciation. In learning mode, the buttons can be pressed and a voice will speak. It asks questions like 'which animal is pink?' This encourages baby to touch the pink octopus, and if they do so it plays a round of applause. There are also questions like 'where is the turtle?', again waiting for baby to touch the turtle. There is also another mode that says 'count the animals with me' and as baby touches each animal, the voice counts 'one, two, three, four'. The animals also make a noise when the baby touches them, a clip clip of the pincers for the crab and a clicking noise for the dolphin (the octopus and turtle sounds are somewhat indescribable!). Therefore this toy is a great, fun, way of introducing animals, colours and counting. My baby is too young to benefit fully from this feature but, once he is older, this will be a great learning aid. Therefore, I expect the toy to have a long life span and prove really good value for money! When my son first got this toy, he seemed a little intimidated by it. I'm still not completely sure why this was - whether the movement bothered him, the animals or if the music was just too loud (there is no low or high volume settings and it does seem rather loud to me!). We ended up playing with it for a while with no noise (it can still be spun whilst switched off) and he gradually gained the confidence to explore it and touch the animals. He now plays with this a lot and, although he does not quite have the strength and co-ordination to push the plunger down himself, he knows what he has to do to make it spin. The toy is also encouraging him to improve his motor skills as there is a lot on it to touch, push and explore. The toy takes 2 AA batteries, which are included. We've only had the toy a few weeks so I can't really comment on how long they last, but they are still going strong and we have used it quite a lot (no slowing down of the music yet!). âEurof This is a really lovely, well thought out toy which teaches children so much. I'm really impressed with it and will definitely keep an eye out for other VTech toys in the future. I hope that it will teach my son in a fun way in the future but at the moment, he is just enjoying the music and movement of the toy. The only negative thing I can say about it is that it could do with a low volume setting!
Not only do my twin boys have a mountain of toys at our house, they also have another mountain at my parents' house. This is mainly due to my parents being unable to resist temptation of buying the boys "a little something" every time they pass a toy store or toy section in a store. One of their "impulse" buys was the V Tech Spin and Discover Ocean Fun toy. ***What Is It*** The V Tech Spin and Discover Ocean Fun toy is a brightly coloured, plastic spinning top. It works by pressing down on the plunger and the unit of the spinner rotates around. This has a flat base so is very sturdy and less likely to topple over. You can set the spinner to different "learning modes" which include counting, colours, ocean animals and music. Around the edges of the spinning top are 4 ocean creatures which are made from chunky plastic and stick up from the spinning top. These include a turtle, dolphin, crab and octopus. There are also 3 different coloured light up buttons which set the mode of the spinner and have different learning activities when pressed. The spinner lights up, makes ocean sounds and plays melodies. The toy requires 2 Size AA batteries which do not come included with the toy. ***Suitability*** VTech state the Spin and Discover Ocean Fun toy is suitable for children age 6 - 30 months. This was bought for my boys as they reached 6 months and I would definitely say it was suitable to play with at that age. Because of the chunky design of the stick up animals, my boys were able to attempt to press these and it was a great toy to encourage them to sit up unaided and plat with. The toy is sturdy and takes some effort to pull over because of the wide base design, but for young babies I would not recommend that they lie down and play with this. The toy is heavy and if your child does manage to pull this over on themselves it would hurt. For older children this is also quite a fun toy because of the different learning modes and activities. My boys at 13 months enjoy pressing the various buttons and listening to the sounds and flashing lights. They also enjoy the music that is played when the plunger is pressed down. My friend's children who are nearer 3 years old play with this toy and enjoy the learning games for example pressing the correct sea creature when a sea creature noise is played. ***Availability*** The V Tech Spin and Discover Ocean Fun toy is available from a number of toy retailers including ELC, Mothercare, Toys R Us, Smyths and Tesco. It is available in store and online and priced around the £15 mark. This is quite a reasonable price as it is not only fun but an educational toy which will interest children for a number of years. My parents purchased this for £9.99 from ELC during a sale, therefore it is worth shopping around for. ***Playing with it*** Like many other VTech toys the Spin and Discover Ocean Fun toy is quite complex to remove from the outer packaging. This is because it is held in by a number of ties which took my mum around 10 minutes to untie. You also need a small crosshead screwdriver to insert batteries in the battery compartment on the base of the toy. Once the toy is removed from the packaging it is operated with a simple switch which when slid along can be set to music mode (symbolised with a musical note) or learning mode (symbolised by a book) or just switched to off. There is no volume switch, which as a parent I feel is disappointing as this is quite a noisy toy when turned on. The music plays very loudly and does get quite annoying after a few rotations of the spinner. You can however still use the spinner without turning the toy on. If you push down on the plunger it will still rotate. The design of the toy is very good. The wide base of the spinner means it is very sturdy which is useful when younger more uncoordinated children play with this toy as it means it does not get pulled over. It is also quite heavy which helps the stability of the spinner but it also means that it makes some noise if it does get pulled over. The buttons and plastic characters on the toy are chunky and large meaning it is easy for small hands to press these. The plunger on the spinner is large and thick but does take some force to press, especially for children. My boys are 13 months and just have the strength to make spinner rotate but not fully as you need to push down and hold for around 2 seconds in order for the toy to rotate fully. When the spinner rotates on a full spin it probably rotates about 10 times. During this time a short, lively song about sea creatures is played. My boys play with this toy on laminate floor and the spinner rotates no problem. However on carpet the toy rotates slower, on long pile carpet I have found that the spinner actually is very difficult to rotate. The colourful buttons on the toy are very easy for very young children to press. The four sea creatures stick up and are very chunky; they are quite sensitive so are very easy to press for a young child. When my boys starting playing with this toy at 6 months old they were able to reach out and whack these creatures which are attractive as they are so brightly coloured. When pressed the creatures either state what they are, or make a noise to replicate the creature. Although this takes some imagination as turtles and octopuses are not well known "animal" noises! The other three flatter buttons on the spinner are flatter but are still large and easy to press. These are brightly coloured and light up and flash when the spinner rotates. These have learning activities attached to them. The music and sounds played by the toy is annoying because they are so loud but for children very attractive. The songs and phrases are spoken or sung in a friendly clear English accent which is very easy to understand. The melodies are very catchy and my boys dance along to these and have done since they were around 8 months old. For younger children the toy helps with hand eye coordination whilst they explore the buttons and creatures on the spinner. For older children this is quite an educational toy as there are learning features concerning colours, counting and sea creatures. This is quite a unique toy as most toys teach children about zoo or farm animals so this is a less traditional animal toy. My boys have played with this toy regularly for 7 months now. During this time it has been dropped and thrown about quite a lot and is still in full working order. The chunky plastic design makes it quite a durable toy and no parts feel like they could break off. It is very easy to wipe over with a cloth if it gets dirty. ***Overall*** This is a great toy which teaches your child about sea creatures, counting and colours using a traditional spinning top design. The toy is durable, well-made and fun for children from ages 6 months to 3 years. And all for £15 which is very reasonable. The toy would benefit from a volume switch but this is more a personal annoyance, as my boys think this is a great toy. A rotating, educational, marine themed spinner... providing you don't have long pile carpet that is. ~~~~Also posted on Ciao 2011~~~~