I sat down with my little nephew to play with Mr Colour Maker, the new learning toy from Tomy. I'll write a quick review of what the 3 year old and I made of this colourful piece of apparatus!
First impressions were that Mr Colour Maker was a lovely bright colourful toy, ideal for toddlers and young kids. Of course we didn't bother reading any instructions, we just leapt in and experimented with the toy. Batteries weren't included, so we had to scrounge up 4 double As to get us going.
There are 2 settings to this toy. One is the singing setting and the other is the colour mixer. You can choose each setting by opening and closing the lid of the paint pot.
The colour mixer setting is quite good fun. Mr Colour Maker states which colour he would like to be, and you pour the little pots of paint into him accordingly. The toy then lights up with the appropriate colour. If you want to clear the colour, you tip up the paint pot to "pour" out the paint.
As you only have a little pot of red, blue or yellow, he can only be those three colours, and purple, green or orange too. My nephew had no idea how to make the secondary colours from the primary colours, so this was a bit of a learning experience for him. It was very helpful that all the colours were shown on the pot itself. Each secondary colour was flanked by the two primary colours that are used in its making, so it was easy to explain in that fashion.
If making a combination colour, you have to make sure that once you have added the two primary colours that you mix it up with the paintbrush which is attached to the paint pot. The paintbrush tip then glows with the new colour that is made.
The second setting is the rainbow song. The paint pot simply sings all the colours of the rainbow to teach these to your little one.
With the coloured lights, it's a great toy to play with in a darkened room.
The toy seemed quite sturdy. It withstood the weight of a toddler standing on top of it... all the while singing its merry little heart out!
There were a few down sides to the general operation of good old Mr Colour Maker. At one point, we were merrily tipping the little paint pots into the large paint pot, but we could not get it to light up at all. This "fault" seemed to be happening intermittently, and no matter what way we held the little pots, they just wouldn't activate the lights inside. As the toddler had popped the lid of the paint pot out of its hinges within minutes of use, we didn't realise that it was the lever to choose those different settings, as mentioned before. After a bit of jiggling and poking, the adults in the house finally managed to pinpoint the issue, and reattach the lid.
But the same thing kept happening while we were using the toy. We eventually figured out that when the young'un was tipping up the pot to clear it of its current colour, the string of the paintbrush was knocking the lid closed, therefore resetting the toy to the singing level. This got kind of frustrating after a while.
As the little paint pots are standalone pieces, I can see that these could easily become lost in the mountain of toys in modern kids' houses.
As for the music, my family found this a little bit freaky. The tune it plays is kind of suspenseful, like you'd hear illustrating a haunted house, or something from Jaws. I wasn't sure if that was entirely suited to a young kid.
So, in conclusion to this Mr Colour Maker review, I'd say that the toy is pretty good fun for young toddlers, but I cannot see that it would get an awful lot of repeat use once they have learned how to make the colours. It is bright and good fun, but those little niggly flaws are a downside to Mr Colour Maker.