Monday, December 7, 2009

FIsher-Price Laugh and Learn Line

I love Fisher-Price. I think lots of us grew up with some line of their toys. Recently, for Max's birthday, Nick found some classic Little People toys from the 60's and 70's for Max. They reminded me of being little and playing with those (or similar ones) when I was much...MUCH younger. So, when I got pregnant, Fisher-Price was some of the first toys I looked at. Of course, there a BILLIONS of them out there so today I'm going to just focus on a couple of toys in the Laugh and Learn line we got.

The first one is the Learning Puppy. We got this when Max was about 4 months old and it has travelled with us ever since. It is really cute. Take a look:

Right away Max was drawn to the songs (which he didn't know at all then) and the colors. The heart glows red, which was also a great draw when he was really little. You can squeeze each hand, each foot, its tummy, its left ear or press the heart to hear an assortment of reactions. The right foot has three settings - off, "learning time", and "sing and play games". The learning time involves calling out colors (green hand, blue ear) or learning the alphabet or counting or just chatter. The singing and playing games has an assortment of familiar kids songs - This Little Piggy, Head and Shoulder Knees and Toes, or the Itsy Bitsy Spider. When Max was little..he just liked the voice of the dog and was fascinated by the light. Now that he is older, he has learned how to push the buttons himself and interact with it a little more. He also recognizes some of the songs and it really entranced by the dog singing them. My only complaint about this toy is that, in order to make it baby friendly, they made the buttons VERY sensitive which means Max can gently brush by a button and it will completely change what the dog is doing. I almost feel like there should be a way to ensure the dog runs through the whole song before switching to something else. But, overall, I think this is a great toy and we have gotten a lot of use out of it and at a year old, Max still enjoys it. There aren't many toys that have gotten 8 months of use out of this kid.

>Nick< This bear is great and I love the musical aspect. Touching each of the activation areas toggles between a short song and a sound byte such as "I love you" and "Foot" depending where touched.
As Tali mentions, they can be over sensitive and can stir a resting little Max if I happen to trip over it and it starts merrily singing along while I try to quickly deactivate to prevent the little man waking up.

Alternately, we also have the Fun with Friends Musical Table (and for the record-  that isn't Max in the photo!):

We got this set when Max was about 8 months old. The legs come off so a baby just starting to crawl can play with it on the floor or it has legs so it can grow as a baby is learning to stand and walk. As you can see, there are lots of bright fin colors and toys. There are actually several different settings - speaking, music, and sound effects and all can be used in English or Spanish (although I would guess in Canada it is English or French). The four main components are the piano, the computer, the phone, and the storybook. Everything lights up and makes music of some sort. There are lots of letters and numbers, learning of the alphabet and different words and some really fun sound effects - computer keyboard, dialing, and even the phone ringing. Max has ALWAYS loved the computer and loves to open and close it (which unfortunately for us has translated into him feeling compelled to come over and close our laptops whenever we are on them). He also loved to use it as a walker when he was less steady on his feet. He used to push it all over the room. It doesn't have feels so doesn't quite move as quickly as an actual walker so it was just the right pace when he was starting to stand and make his way around the room.

My only complaint - the handset that comes with the phone is not attached to the actual table. Max immediately took that out and threw it away and now it lives somewhere at the bottom of our toy bin and has never resided on the actual table. I think a better design would have had some kind of attachment so even when knocked off it would still be close by. Other than that, it has been a lot of fun and I think it is a great toy. Leapfrog has a similar table (the Leapfrog Learn & Groove Musical Table) and the reason we went with this one is that we love Fisher-Price and we loved the bits and pieces on this table more than on the Leapfrog one.I have had friends who have had the Leapfrog one, however, and it was also great (I cannot tell a lie...I loved the phone and the computer elements). But both tables are around the same price..within 5-10$ of each other.

So far I have really enjoyed the Laugh & Learn products. To check out what else is available in this line, check out the Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn website here.

- Tali

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Haba Fantasy Blocks

Maximoo has gotten some GREAT birthday gifts from his family and friends so I thought I would take the opportunity to mention a few of the really unique/surprise hits and today that is the Haba Fantasy Block set. This colorful wooden block set from Germany had Max entranced for a good 10 minutes straight before I had to pull him off them to open his other gifts. This non-toxic set filled with different crazy shapes and patterns (including one that is rather breast-like and Max inevitably keeps grabbing that one and sticking it in his mouth. Clearly a nurser)an make even the most impatient little guys stop and take a look. Here is the set:

Since opening the box, Max has sat quietly with them and inspected all the different blocks. One of the blocks has a hole large enough for the other cylindrical to fit in and my little genius (I may be biased) figured out how to get them together immediately. We have piled blocks and knocked them down, checked out the different patterns and textures, and just generally had a good time chewing on these. All in all, a great gift that captured Max's attention and enthusiasm for great toys! At 12m, Max is just at the right age to start appreciating these kinds of toys but I can see the appeal for these going well past the 1 year mark. I think we will be having fun with these for months..if not come (they make a great sound when knocking the towers over and onto the hardwood floors).

Haba, the company who makes the toys, has a great reputation (the reviews for this toy alone were pretty good on most sites I checked out) and several award winning toys. They are available all over the world and for easy access you can buy Haba toys on Amazon. If anyone else reading this has played with any of their other sets, I would love to hear about it!

For more information about Haba and their other toys, check out their website here!

- Tali

Thursday, December 3, 2009


There are many things that I have thought I would like to write about on this blog. So many toys that worked out great and so many that were a bust. I don't know where to start. But with the holiday season coming up and, more importantly, our son's first birthday tomorrow (how has it been a year already) - I thought this would be the most relevant.

The Amazon Baby Registry (or Wish List).

It is absolutely heaven sent - for multiple reasons. When we first found out we were pregnant, we knew that there was a load of things we needed. Basically...we needed everything. On top of that, we literally had family all over the world. Nick's parents are in the UK, my family in Canada, friends and a baby shower here in the US. Initially, I set up a Toys R Us wishlist thinking - how easy to go to the store or online and always have your list with you. Unfortunately, Toys R Us was not only more expensive than amazon, but they also had less options, were more often sold out of the good options they had, and - and this was the real issue - you couldn't use it outside of the US. In order to use the baby registry you had to have a US address and credit card.

Hmmmm. Now that won't work for our international family members.

So we started a baby registry and it was AWESOME. Easy, efficient, stroed the address of people who sent gifts in the "Thank You" section which made life so much easier for thank you notes. Additionally, the Amazon selection is huge as they pull in options from all over the place and often include "marketplace sellers" who aren't amazon so you can do some comparitice price shopping.

Now that Max's first birthday has rolled around, I decided to keep the Baby Registry going and make that his wishlist for this birthday. Once he is a little older - he can even do his own little wishlist for his birthday. The prices are also phenominal at Amazon and often you can find a way to avoid paying shipping charges. No deals like that with the Toys R Us list we had originally.

So - in the end, the Amazon Baby Registry (or wishlist) is such a convenient and inexpensive way to make sure no one goes out and buys you something you just don't want! I LOVE it!

Now...I am off to enjoy the last few hours of being a mom of a less than 1 year old.....omg I'm the parent of a toddler!!

- Tali