The Chad Valley Lawn Mower was purchased for the ridiculously low price of £2.47 during a sale at the end of last summer, put away in the cupboard and promptly forgotten about until last week. Supplied fully assembled in a fairly large cardboard box, the lawnmower is billed as being suitable for children over the age of two and simply requires the handle being unfolded and clicked into place to be ready for play. Designed to emulate a petrol lawn mower, the Chad Valley Lawn Mower has a very simple basic design and is formed of fairly flimsy plastic, completely unadorned with stickers. As my son has an obsession with peeling off and eating stickers, I am personally grateful that there are none on this for him to remove, but this does also mean that the lawn mower is not particularly eye-catching. The whole construction of the lawn mower both looks and feels cheap and flimsy, the handle needs to be clicked into place before play and it simply does not feel rigid enough and bends alarmingly when the appropriate pressure is placed on it, or if a child leans on it. All the edges feel a little sharp and the lawn mower simply does not have the finish you would find on more expensive, better made toys. Although basic, the lawn mower does have a few features, the most useful of which is that the handle can be folded down between uses so that it takes up marginally less space during storage. There is a small knob on the handle, that emulates the on/off switch, while this turns it does not make any sort of noise, not even a click, which means it is rather boring. The lawn mower's engine is exposed and looks reasonably realistic, but really doesn't do anything. There is an enclosed grass collection box at the rear of the mower with a clear top that is filled with tiny green beads that should jump about as the mower is pushed, with the resultant rattle being a little like the sound of grass being cut (if you have a fantastic imagination). These beads are set into action via a cog system on the rear wheel, but the construction is so shoddy that it only occasionally works. I'd love to say that this mower was my bargain buy of the year, but it is just about worth the £3 I paid for it and no more. Although it was bought as an outdoor toy for two year old Freddy, it's never been past the front door, for the simple reason that I don't believe that it would survive being played with on the grass. The whole construction is extremely flimsy, the handle bends alarmingly when leant on, and the wheels are not secured on axles and so fall off if knocked. The grass collector only works when it feels like it and edges have not been smoothed off and are sharp in places, not what I would consider a particularly appropriate toy for a two year old. The handle is also very short, I will admit that Freddy is a tall two year old, but he has to stoop to push the mower. Height-wise it is far more suitable for a twelve to eighteen month old toddler, only it is so light and flimsy that it would tip if played with by a less than confident walker. That's not to say that Freddy doesn't enjoy playing with, because rather surprisingly he does. But Freddy does have a developmental delay including poor role playing skills, so he doesn't exactly play with it as a lawn mower and is not concerned that the grass doesn't work. He does love putting the handle up and down and finds this quite easy, probably too easy in fact as with doing this as often as he has seems to have stretched the plastic a little, meaning that the handle no longer clicks into place. He also likes pushing it around the house chucking toys out of the way as he goes. I can't be certain, as Freddy is non-verbal and can't tell me, but I get the impression that he thinks it's a vacuum cleaner. As much as he enjoys playing with it, he also gets frustrated with the mower, especially when the handle won't stay up or a wheel falls off, with the result being him throwing it across the room. As the mower is so light he has no trouble picking it up and is able to throw it quite a distance, which is a hazard both to ornaments and myself, I can testify that if this hits you it does hurt. I cannot in all honesty recommend the Chad Valley Lawn Mower, it is simply a shoddily made piece of tat, not even worth the £3 I paid let alone the £20 it is selling for on Amazon. My recommendation would be to save your money and invest in a better made toy lawnmower from a retailer such as the ELC. As for stars out of five, I'm grudgingly giving it two, simply because Freddy does enjoy playing with it for short periods of time until it's poor construction frustrates him.
I bought my friend's little girl this Lawnmower around Christmas time. I got this for £9.99 which I thought was an ok price for it. She has lots of normal kind of Toys but I thought this would be good as she likes to go out in the Garden and this way she could wander about holding onto this. I know that buying an outdoor Toy was a bit strange to buy in winter but the price was alright to me and I knew that come the better weather then she would have grown into it. The size of this Lawnmower isn't that large but it is designed for a Toddler so it doesn't stand all that high to be honest. The good thing about this is that it comes already bult up so you can just take this out of the box and use. The look of this is quite cheap looking and even to look at this then it looks lighweight. I know you wouldn't want or expect anything all that heavy for a Toddler but if a child is trying to push this over some uneven ground or even some longer Grass then it is easy for the Mower to try and go in another direction from where it is attempting to be pushed. This is colourful enough and the colours on here are bright as well. Inside the Mower there is little beads in the middle. Although the beads inside move about and click together they don't make too much noise when they are all bumping together. As a child's toy this seems to be alright but the Wheels tend to stick in a bit on the grass so I can imagine that this could lead to the child toppling so not the most sturdy of things. I have watched her toddle about with this and to be honest she seems to use it more as a prop - not that I would think she would be all serious thinking she was cutting the Grass and that :-). She will walk a little with this and then just seem to stop and stand against this. Don't get me wrong it is an alright toy, but I don't think that there is that much interest from my friend's girl in regards to this but at least she has used this a bit.
Last year I used the buy two toys for £15 promotion that Argos have on a range of their toys. One of the toys I purchased as part of the offer was this Chad Valley Lawnmower, working out to £7.50. The Lawnmower comes pretty much already assembled in the cardboard packaging. Once you get it out of the cardboard box, you simply pull the handle back until it clicks in place. This sounds very simple but it's not, the plastic material that the toy is made of mean you don't want to pull the handle back to far in fear of it snapping off. I had to pull it quite hard to click into place. There are two clips at the bottom of the handle that make it clasp back down so it's easier to store. The lawnmower is a nice size for toddlers, the main body of the mower is roughly 45cm x 25cm and the handle is around 45cm long. The appearance of the mower is nothing special, it is coloured in red, blue and green. The blue detail in the middle of the mower is supposed to imitate a mower, I guess, the detail isn't really that great. On the back of the main body of the mower is a small see through box with little beads inside, just like grass on a normal mower. My daughter has never really took to the mower, after not playing with it at all at my house, I took it down to my mums so she has another outdoor toy for down there. Still, after a year of having the lawnmower, it hardly gets played with. The wheels make it difficult to push the mower along the grass as the mower is so lightweight, the grass gets stuck between the wheels and the body. It is ok to push on the garden if the grass has been freshly cut as it will be too small for any grass to get caught. The beads in the back box are meant to pop around when the lawnmower is being pushed but I've found them to just lay there flat more than popping. I'm not sure why the popping mechanism doesn't work very well, it's leaves the back box pretty worthless. Although we have had this lawnmower over a year it is still in an excellent condition, a few scuffs to the wheels from pushing it on concrete, but that's about it. I think this is mainly because my daughter doesn't play with the toy, rather than the quality as it is made from a cheap flimsy plastic. I think if she did play with it a lot, it would be prone to cracking or breaking. Even at £7.50 instead of the £9.99 it would have cost last year, I still wouldn't recommend this lawnmower. After having a quick look I can see it's part of the three toys for £10 offer Argos are running at the minute, at £3.33 I would say this is worth buying, but I wouldn't pay anymore. The build quality of the mower is rubbish and it doesn't interest my daughter at all.
In the nicer weather my daughter loves playing outside and she loves to help out her Daddy in the garden so my Mam decided she would look for a lawnmower for her birthday for her. This task was actually harder than we expected and we finally found one in Argos created by Chad Valley which sells for about £10 but was in their 2 for £15 offer so actually only cost £7.50. The lawnmower is made of hard plastic and is coloured red, green and blue so wasn't exactly all that attractive to our little girl but still it meant she was able to mow the lawn with her Daddy - or so we thought. When you unpack the lawnmower from it's box the red handle is folded flat against the main body of the toy and you have to pull it up into place, the handle was very difficult to clip in and we began to think that the handle simply would move back and forth as she played as we just could not work it out. Eventually with a loud snap the handle clicked into it's place and finally stopped falling onto itself but I would say this would weaken very easily if you were constantly folding it up and down. The main part of the toy is green but not even a very nice green with a blue section in the middle, there is a clear plastic box on the back of the lawnmower which is supposed to be the pretend grass catcher and this is filled with little coloured beads which make a noise as the lawnmower is moved across the ground. The lawnmower can't actually go on the grass as the grass gets stuck in the wheels and even though it is a pretend toy I think this is a pretty pointless toy if it doesn't allow the child to play on grass. Another issue with my daughters lawnmower is that one of the red wheels keeps falling off and will not click back into place. I really wouldn't bother with this toy, my daughter was dissapointed not to be able to pretend and got bored very quickly, the toy is of poor quality and when we packed everything away fo5r the colder weather we put this in the bin as it is certainly not a toy that will get replayed with. The most annoying thing is I since found a lawnmower in pink and of much better quality so it's a shame we ended up with what we did.
Since my house has become a meeting point for many "play dates" with my friends and their children, I have invested in more toys especially for the garden. My boys are 19 months old now and their friends that come to visit on a regular basis range from 8 months old to 3 and a half years old so the toys I buy vary. During a visit to my local Argos store I notice a sale on the Chad Valley outdoor toys which included the Chad Valley lawnmower for £3. ***Chad Valley Lawnmower*** The Chad Valley Lawnmower is a child's imitation push along plastic lawnmower. It is a square base which is 46cm long and 24cm wide. The base section is shaped like a lawnmower and made from green plastic with blue detail and red wheels. The lawnmower has a red handle which is approximately 45cm high so a child can push the toy The lawn mower has a clear plastic box on the back of the main section. Inside are lots of bright green beads to imitate grass. When you push the lawnmower forwards the beads move about and jump up to imitate grass being cut. The toy states it is suitable from aged 2 years and should be used under the direct supervision of an adult. The Chad Valley Lawnmower is available from Argos and Amazon and it has a RRP of £9.99. I purchased this during the end of summer sale for £3 which is excellent value for money. ***Playing with it*** The lawnmower comes half assembled. The handle requires clipping into place before played with. However for storage you can fold the lawnmower handle down so before your child plays with this toy you need to ensure the handle is locked into the upright position by pulling the handle as far away from the base and listening for a secure click. To release and fold you hold clips at the base of the handle and push down towards the base. This requires an adult to do this as it would be too difficult and require too much force for a young child to do this. Once in the upright position the toy is ready to play with. There is no real "learning" features to the lawnmower and it is pretty basic in what it does, therefore is just an imaginative toy. As you child pushes it forwards the green beads (grass) bounce around simulating grass being cut and makes a noise very much like a rainmaker rather than a lawnmower. This is the only sounds that the toy makes. When you stop pushing the lawnmower the green beads stop moving. The quality of the toy is pretty basic. No parts of the lawnmower have snapped or broken but the plastic that it is made from is very flimsy and feels quite cheap. If you compare the quality of this toy to plastic toys from high quality brands such as Fisher Price or ELC you can feel that this is considerably lighter and looks cheaper. At full price of £9.99 I feel this is not good value for money and would not pay this much for the lawnmower. The wheels on the lawnmower do turn but for smaller weaker children the wheels stick slightly on longer grass so they need to push quite hard in order for the lawnmower to move forwards. However on short to mid -length grass this is not an issue even for children aged 18 months old. The toy is made from plastic which can easily be wiped over with a damp cloth. The toy states that it is suitable from aged 2 years and over. Personally I feel that this is slightly over cautious and providing that the child can walk and is sturdy on their feet I think from about 18 months old is fine. If a child need to walk using aided I would not advise letting them play with the Chad Valley Lawnmower as it is likely it would tip over if they put too much weight on the handle. There are no sharp parts of pieces that could snap off and cause a choking hazard however if a child were to pull themselves up using the handle of this toy it would tip and they would fall over. My boys were 17 months old when they first starting playing with this toy. After watching their Daddy cut the grass from the window they regularly could be found pushing this lawnmower around babbling to themselves pretending to finish off his work. I actually bought this as a toy for the older children that come to visit (based upon Chad Valleys age guideline) however I feel that the toy is more suitable for under 3's so if you did purchase this for a child of over two they may have limited interest or use out of this lawnmower. My friends little girl who is two and a half years old enjoys pushing this around and pretending to cut the grass but my friends little boy who is 3 years old actually said to me "so what does it actually do then?" and "why doesn't it cut grass!" and after pushing for 30 seconds found something more interesting to play with. I also feel that for children aged 3 and over the 45cm lawnmower handle is slightly small and low which makes this quite awkward for them to play with. My boys are very small 19 month olds and seem to find the handle a perfect size. ***Overall*** This is not a toy I would have purchased at full price but for under £3 it has been a value for money buy. The lawnmower is bright, fun and encourages little ones to be imaginative. The lawnmower does state from aged 2 years however I feel that it is more suited to children aged between 18 months but under 3 years old, providing they are sturdy on their feet. For over 3's I feel the lawnmower is slightly small and also quite basic so they will lose interest in it after a few pushes. Not the best quality toy but for £3 a good purchase and hopefully will encourage my boys to help with gardening as they get older.