by Luschka van Onselen
on 21 July, 2011 at 5:00 pm
As much as I’m not normally a fan of toys that make a noise, I must admit, the Sing and Discover Piano from VTech is a fantastic toy.
It is a chunky musical keyboard with a ‘songbook’ with turning pages (the sounds automatically change to match the page that’s open – how they did that I have no idea). The songbook ‘chapters’ are shapes, animals and nursery, and the characters are a bird, cat, elephant, pig and monkey which all come to audible life when the corresponding buttons are pushed.
There’s also a row of five musical notes which teach pretty realistic animal sounds, instruments and colours. Depending on which ‘chapter’ you’re on in the songbook, you can have 15 nursery rhymes played and six sung out and changing the pages changes the songs so that they’re tweeted by birds, oinked by the pig, trumpeted by the elephant, meowed by the cat or screeched by the monkey – which isn’t as bad as it sounds.
Below that are the function controls – two volume settings which are both reasonably pitched – and two play modes and an off switch.
Below all that five keyboard keys with pictures of the characters and their instruments, and in the same mode as those above, these keys are simple keyboard keys.
To the left of all this is a beat box which plays for about four seconds before needing to be pressed again, (which is fine in the context of this game). There’s a microphone too, but I don’t actually remember that ever working for us. Perhaps my daughter damaged it before she was really able to use it. To the right is a musical director dog, and twiddling him gets barks and funny sounds and he says “It’s show time!”
Switching over to the other mode gives a whole new range of sounds and songs, with talking and story like comments, i.e. “trumpet like the elephant” or “screech like the monkey”.
Moving down to the keys, in this mode, each key produces a few seconds of ‘jam(ming) with the band’.
All in the Sing and Discover Piano is a fantastic toy. It’s hardy, can handle knocks, and has so many different options to entertain. My daughter always goes back to it, and it’s one of the few musical toys that I’ve never yet found irritating.