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Last Christmas my daughter received an absolute stupid amount of toys and presents, she had just turned one the month before so our house really did begin to look like a toy store. One present that gets used a lot is this toy vacuum cleaner from Chad Valley, she received it from my uncle who thinks it's funny to buy the loudest toys available just to annoy me.
***** The hoover *****
This vacuum cleaner comes in two parts in the box, the main hoover part and the handle, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out how to put it together as the handle just slots into the main body. The hoover then looks like any normal upright vacuum cleaner, just smaller.
At the bottom of the hoover is a foot that can be moved so that when the child is 'hoovering' it can just simply be pushed down so that it looks like it is picking up the dirt from the floor. As the hoover is being pushed the main cylinder, which looks the same as cylinders on adult hoovers, has little bead balls inside that pop around and make a huge sound. The handle has a nice shape and is easy to grip for small hands.
***** Our experience *****
My daughter wasn't really interested in the hoover for a month or so after Christmas, I think this was mainly due to the huge number of toys she had to play with. But once she started to play with it she has played with it almost daily. The handle is quite high, so when she did start playing with it the foot of the hoover wouldn't touch the floor as she was only one year old and the handle is so high so when she did push it it was at such an angle that the foot wouldn't go all the way down. Now she has just turned two and the foot of the hoover will just about touch the floor when she is hoovering so I can kind of understand where the not suitable for under three years old come from, but there are no small parts or sticky out bits that could cause a problem for younger children.
The one gripe I have with the hoover is the noise. The small beads in the cylinder make a lot of noise whilst the hoover is being pushed around as it has a popping mechanism so pops the beads up, there are so many beads that the noise is insane and unless you yourself are hoovering at the same time it's enough to drive any parent round the twist.
Kacie loves to follow me around whilst I'm hoovering, and I believe it has helped her overcome her fear of my hoover as it is so loud she never used to like me hoovering. Now she can hoover with me I think it takes her mind off the big hoover. She doesn't play with the hoover very often if I'm not hoovering which is nice, as the noise is unbearable.
***** Overall *****
This Chad Valley hoover is available from Argos for £15, and I believe it is fantastic value for money. Although the noise is loud and annoying for parents, it is mostly used to 'help' mummy with the hoovering so it is just about bearable. It has helped overcome my daughters fear of my hoover so that is a definite plus for us too. 4/5!
Back 2 Christmas's ago I bought my twin boys a Henry Hoover each, the toy version of course. Although they dislike cleaning for real they like to be very independent so I've encouraged their independence with toys such as irons and ironing boards, hoovers, plastic foods and cutlerys, a lot of roleplaying toys that they can use their imagination with.
The Henry hoover though wasn't that good, a total waste of about £20 each, so last Christmas I went on the search for a more suitable toy hoover that they would get better use out of.
I quickly opted for an upright hoover, but there are of course many to choose from. Browsing Argos I came across a Dyson version of an upright toy hoover - this one however looked way to fiddly and difficult just for a simple toy hoover - very much like the Henry hoovers I'd bought them previously. I soon spotted the Chad Valley toy vacuum cleaner though. A simple design but a perfect, toy upright hoover which could be played with perfectly to re-enact Mama's hoovering about the house.
Although a very simple design it resembles an upright vacuum perfectly, so no mistaking it for something else and a child could easily recognise it as a vacuum which is a must! The hoover is not reccomended for children under 3, however I don't see why a child aged 2 and above can't use it.
It's simply a plastic hoover, which comes packaged in a chad valley decorated upright box with a picture of a child pushing the hoover on it. It comes in 2 parts in the box - the main body of the hoover and the handle. The handle easily slots into place in the hole at the top of the body of the hoover and voila there you have it an upright toy.
It has it's handle for children to grip hold of to be able to push it around, it has it's hoover foot shaped exactly like a typical upright hoover would be. It even has a cylinder in the middle which would act as a hoovers cylinder for storing any dirt and dust that's collected whilst hoovering. This cylinder however is filled with tiny, multi coloured balls and as your child pushes the hoover around there is something within the bottom of the cylinder which flicks them around and the balls make an almighty racket until they decide to stop pushing. There is no trouble for your child to push the hoover around it has three wheels altogether on the bottom, 2 large ones at the back and one smaller roller wheel at the very front, so the foot of the hoover doesn't get stuck, or just stops anywhere, instead it just glides across the floor with ease - even carpet! The balls within the cylinder are not a hazard for a child either which is a plus as children can't get to these and take them out they just remain within the hoover. Not only do the wheels help with the ease of pushing it around, the hoover itself is fairly lightweight too which helps as there is no real effort for a child to push it and they wouldn't feel like they are lugging a heavy hoover around.
Although just a simple plastic hoover, it has provided many hours of fun for my boys, they love it when I get the hoover out as they can get theirs out and help me with hoovering the house. It is a little noisy sometimes when I don't have my hoover on to drown out the noise of the balls but it's not a toy which is used constantly. Instead it is used when my boys are playing games which involves roleplaying and when I get my hoover out
The hoover costs about £15 from Argos and is well worth the money in my opinion. There are no attachments and fiddly bits like the Henry hoovers had. These in my opinion are a bit too much and can take away from the fun of just pretending to hoover. These just allow them to pretend to hoover around the house and enjoy their short space of 'independence'. I'd definitely recommend these vacuums to anybody looking for one for their child.