Mr D and Miss E, like most children, enjoy impersonating me on the phone – often walking around ‘talking’ to daddy telling him about their day so far.
I was sent a Thomas & Friends SmartPhone for Mr D. I saved it for his birthday and when he opened it he was very excited.
The phone is a good size for a toddler and there are a range of buttons to press. There is a quiz mode which asks the user to press different buttons linked to the various characters. The voice is clear enough for Mr D to understand and as his number recognition is improving in leaps and bounds at the moment this has come at a good time for us.
Both the children love the ‘phone and Mr D packs it into his bag when we head to football each week. If you saw my post about his birthday then you will have spotted a Thomas theme. Anything Thomas themed is always going to be a winner!
I try to stay away from electronic style toys as they all too often seem to make the children just press the same button repeatedly but to be fair, Mr D seems pretty engaged with this in the way it aims to engage plus it has the added benefit of not being my phone!
We were also sent a Holly’s Magical Learning Wand (from Ben & Holly). I should start with the caveat that I had never heard of Ben & Holly prior to this arriving so the children have never seen the programme. The wand claims that it will help teach numbers, letters and colours but to be honest I’m not convinced. Miss E was wandering around with it just pressing the same button over and over and over again (which soon became VERY annoying) and when I tried to show her how to answer the questions even I was struggling! The centre bit with the face lights up and asks you to press the matching colour button but there wasn’t one! It also used a phrase along the lines of ‘I am a pretty princess’ and it really grated on me. I hate toys that are marketed at girls and use the phrases of pretty and beautiful etc.
Mr D hasn’t shown any interest at all in the wand, and less than a week after giving it to them it is sat in a box unused. It’s been such a failure with them that I’ve not even been able to get a picture of them holding it!
It could be down to the fact that the children just aren’t familiar with the programme Ben & Holly, or it could be that the item just isn’t engaging to them, but whatever the reason it’s a toy that I think we will be passing on in the New Year sort out to a local playgroup or similar.
The Thomas & Friends Smartphone however continues to be a big hit and is often found clutched in the hands of either Mr D or Miss E and is one that I would really recommend for any one looking for a stocking filler or similar.
The RRP for the Thomas & Friends Smartphone is £9.99 and the Holly’s Magical Learning Wand is £12.99