We bought our youngest daughter this toy for her second birthday, I have always liked the Leapfrog toys and felt that this toy would be no different and liked that it would teach her about some wild animals that she hasn't encountered yet. I bought the toy from Amazon and it cost around £15 and came with free delivery which is great in my opinion as I find it much easier to shop online but don't like having to pay a fortune to receive my parcel.
The toy comes packaged in a cardboard box bright green in colour the same colour as the majority of Leapfrog toys are packaged in. The front of the box is covered in plastic, it states in the top corner that there are 25 different combination which can be made with the pieces and it tells you in the bottom corner that the toy is meant for children from ages 12 months to 36 months.
==The Toy Base==
The toy is made of brightly coloured hard plastic, the main part of the toy is bright green in colour and then it ha a carry handle at the top right hand side which is bright yellow in colour and has a Giraffes head at the bottom so that the handle is made to look like it's a giraffes neck. My daughter loves anything which has a carry handle as she has an obsession about carrying things around with her. At the top of the handle area is the speaker and on the bottom under the handle is the control which is a red sliding button which has off, low volume and high volume on it, I always think having volume controls on it is brilliant especially when both my girls insist on playing different noisy toys at the same time.
The toy has a brown archway on it which states Zoo across the top and has the Leapfrog logo and then within the archway there are two indented areas where you put the halves of the animals in. The toy has loads of detailing on it like a little butterfly in one corner and an iguana in the other corner but they are just in the main green colour so they don't jump out at you which I think is great as then your child keeps discovering new parts to the toy. On the back of the toy there is a the battery compartment which is secured by a screw which is always a good thing as you wouldn't want your child getting hold of the batteries, the toy takes 2 x AA batteries and they do seem to last pretty well as we haven't had to change them in a couple of months.
The toy comes with ten different animal pieces, there is ahead piece and a bottom piece of five different animals, the animals in the set are a seal, a toucan, a zebra, a monkey and a tiger. The pieces are all made of the same hard green plastic as the main toy and then the top of them is shaped like the animal with an animal sticker on the piece. The base of the piece is curved at the top on the head pieces and curved at the bottom on the bottom pieces and the curves are to one side too which means that your child can only put the head pieces in the top space on the toy and the bottom pieces in the bottom space on the toy.
==Playing with the Toy==
The animals are all brightly coloured and the pictures are nice and bold, there is enough detail that you can see easily what the animal is but not too much detail to make the toy complicated for young children. When you first turn the toy on it sounds of the jungle such as a monkey and an elephant and you can hear other little noises in there too, if the toy isn't played with it will every so often set the same noise off again which of course then draws your child back to play with the toy again. When you place a piece of an animal into the toy it will announce what the animal is and something about it such as blue seal and then makes the noise of a seal, if you then place the other piece of the animal in the toy will again announce blue seal before singing a little tune to congratulate your child on making a correct match. If you place a piece in the toy and the second piece you place into it doesn't match then the toy will announce what combination your child has made such as a Toucan-Tiger and then sing a song about it and tell your child it is a silly combination. The toy says that your child has made a silly combination in a nice jokey voice but I still think it would be better to say they've made a funny combination instead.
The toy is pretty easy for your child to play with, as I have already said the animal pieces are shaped in such a way that they cannot be placed into the wrong space. The pieces are magnetic so when your child places them into the space on the toy they click in really easily as the magnet pulls them in. Once the pieces are in your child needs to push down on them which activates the toy, it doesn't take much pressure to set the toy off so it is easy for young children to work. The whole toys itself is magnetic so you can stick it onto the likes of a fridge for your child to play with, I don't bother and my daughter just plays with it on the floor or at the table but the option is there if you want to use it.
My daughter wasn't that bothered by this toy to begin with as she kept trying to put the pieces in the wrong way and getting stressed with it and then not bothering to play with it. I played with the toy with my daughter lining up all the heads the right way over the top of the toy and all the bottoms of the animals the right way at the bottom of the toy and then we played together and she loved it. When you get the monkey noise she likes to copy off it and then she giggles like mad at it, seems like I might be right when I call her a little monkey!! She loves it when she gets the right combination but for all the toy says when it is right of wrong there is no change in the tone of voice and you get a song no matter whether right or wrong so I think it is quite hard for a child to know if they have managed to get a correct combination or not. The toy not only teaches animal names and animal sounds but also teaches colours too and if you press on the Giraffes head it will play 5 different tunes for your child too.
This toy is supposed to be suitable from 12 months and up but I think this is wrong as the animal pieces have stickers on them and any child of that age is still putting things in their mouths and so the pieces will get damaged. I think this is a great toy, my daughter loves playing with it now and she loves the animal sounds, the toy is durable as long as it isn't getting chewed and it is very brightly coloured so your child wants to play with it. I was actually amazed at how quickly Emily has managed to work out which ones match and which ones don't and she now tells you off if you try and put the wrong combinations together, this is a great toy and gets 5 stars from our household.
"Mix and match the animal tiles to make 25 possible combinations! Learn colours, animal sounds and facts while playing. Listen to songs to celebrate correct matches or fun songs about silly animal creations. Press the giraffe's head for 5 lively jungle tunes. Tiles and housing stick to most magnetic surfaces. Matching: As children play with the pieces, fun audio and animal facts reinforce correct matches. Colours: Children explore colour names as they associate colours with different animals. Fine Motor Skills: Grasping and moving the animal pieces encourages fine motor skill development. Suitable for ages 3 Years + Safety Information: Warning. Not suitable for Children under 3 years."