Aimed at children aged from 6 to 36 months, LM is in the upper middle age range for this toy. You can try it out in the box so I knew it was musical before we opened it, perfect for LM as she loves noisy toys. This is a large toy, it stands about 50cm high which means that it can be played with either standing up, or sitting down for younger children. As LM is so active she prefers to stand up and place the balls into the top of the monkey's head.
Upon opening the package it is clear that you have to assemble the toy at home. This was a relatively straight forward procedure, complicated only by having to screw the top part of the barrel on to the main toy. I struggled to get the screws tight enough and to firmly attach it so Ian was called upon when he returned home from work. You will need quite a fine Philips head screwdriver to complete this. The toy also requires 4 AA batteries which are included.
The monkey arrives with five balls and to play you insert them in the hole in the top or front of the monkey. You then press his nose and he will hide in his barrel and deposit the balls into the bottom tray where they will spin around. The balls are kept in the tray using four leaf gates but these can be opened to allow the balls to roll onto the floor and allow your child to chase after the balls.
The monkey has three buttons on his hat which flash and, when pressed, play a song featuring the name of the shape on the button and it's colour.
This is a really fun, but educational toy and can help with many key toddler skills, including:
- active, physical play
- colour and shape recognition - using the buttons on the hat
- facial feature recognition - LM won't point to her own nose but she can press the monkey's nose, when asked, to release the balls!
- Hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skillls - pressing buttons and popping the balls into the toy
- Understanding processes - all six of the balls need to be put into the toy and then the monkey's nose must be pressed to release the ball
It's really hard to show this toy in use through photos so here's a short video showing how LM plays with it.
We've really enjoyed this toy. LM has played with it on a daily basis since she received it and her big brother gets involved with it too. At four he's not too old to help his Sister out. That said I do think the age range is spot on with this toy and it's a great way to bridge the age range from first sitting up to running around. At £39:99 it is a more expensive baby and toddler toy but I do think that for the complexity of the toy and the fun, and learning opportunities it offers, it is good value for money. I would recommend it.
The Bright Starts Hide & Spin Monkey is available from Smyth's Toys for £34:99 and would make an excellent Christmas gift for a baby or young toddler.
Dsiclosure: We received this toy for review purposes.