Amazon Baby Products Review
Multi-purpose baby and children's toys. In other words, stuff they can play with on more than one level. Maybe lots of different sensory inputs. Or maybe it is a toy that has more than one function. It isn't always good to surround babies and small children with too many choices. One plaything that they can explore and get a lot out of is always better.
I had a look at Amazon for a few items that fitted the bill and that were also budget friendly. Amazon is a particularly good place for that! Here's what we found, and what our reviewer, mum Theresa, thought.
The VTech Splash and Sing Submarine is designed for young babies to encourage word and number recognition. And also, to give them lots of fun in the bath. The toy can be played with in or out of the water. Normally priced at £24.99, Amazon has it on special offer for £14.99 today.
The toy squirts water in time to the music. It also detects when the submarine is taken out of the water and plays melodies and lights up. There are two interchangeable dolphin and seal characters.
"My twins spent many happy minutes splonking it under the water and giggling as the various buttons did their thing." Theresa told me. "The one feature that got the most adoration was the water fountain. Every now and again the submarine squirts out a fountain of water. Not too high, mind, but enough to make babies giggle their heads off."
Although aimed at babies, Theresa found that her four year old had just as much fun with it. Perhaps a little bit more fun than her husband had. "When my 4-year old had her turn I was very amused to hear the sounds of "aargh" as my husband, who had no clue that the submarine did that, got squirted in the eye while he was washing her hair. " This provided Theresa and her daughter with quite a bit of merriment!
Overall: Theresa's overall verdict is that this is a great toy, but expensive at the full price of £24.99. Wait for it to go on sale, as it is today.
I love Lamaze. My son had a few of these when he was a baby, and they're just so well designed. He had hours of fun with them. Really there's almost very little else you need to keep a baby amused.
Theresa tried this toy, the Lamaze Hight Contrast Pull & Play Puppy (£7.63) out with her 11 month old twins. One thing she found hard though was actually figuring out how to review the toy. From a parent's point of view, well it keeps them happy. But what does baby REALLY see or think when they look at it?
As Theresa says "Lamaze are a very popular brand and do make some ace baby-centric goodies, but it's not like I could get a wordy review from my test subject. Oh a goo gaa goo ratio of contented burbling, this got at least 8 out of ten, which seems like a pretty good review to me."
The Push and Play Puppy vibrates when you pull it, is covered in high contrast patterns that are bright and clashy, and tinkles when you wave it about. Great for babies, but for Theresa "I hate the design, if I am honest. it looks more like a shark than a dog and is frankly creepy. This is just my view, though, as the babies I tested it on seemed more than satisfied with its looks and none of them burst into tears."
Overall: "Lamaze toys are popular but I honestly think that babies won't care if you use a cheaper brand because so far I have yet to see one sit up and go, "no, I wanted you to spend more on something that vibrates." " However, Theresa was really impressed with the quality of the toy, and has had other parent's comment on the Push and Play Puppy, saying that it is robust enough to last through two or three children.
Perhaps it is because she has three kids with toys to keep track of but Theresa definitely liked the Trunki Toy Travel Box (£19.99). "Once again the Trunki has gone all imaginative and wonderful and created something that smacks of pure genius. Don't get me wrong, there are issues with this device, but the idea behind it is just brilliant."
You can use this Trunki just as a toy box, and it comes in two colours on the Amazon website - pink and blue. Theresa found that it will store a lot of toys quite easily and thought it was perfect for soft toys or puzzle boxes - things you can stack on top of one another easily.
Then it can be turned over - without your taking the toys out - and used as a Trunki substitute. Kids can ride on it. They can zoom around the house on their toy box, happily having fun.
Theresa found two problems here however. First, it is not as robust or as easy to drive as the Trunki suitcase. Both the kids who tried it (her daughter and a friend) lost interest pretty fast and said they didn't like it as much.
Second, Theresa found that you can only really use it to store soft toys or items that don't spill out. Otherwise, as she says "you are going to spend a LOT of time emptying and repacking this dude so your kids can ride on it. Which sort of defeats the whole storage purpose. I hate tidying up and also hate mess (urgh) so this is a problem for me. BUT these toy boxes also attach to each other (oohhh yes) so you can make a train and that is just too cool."
If you have a big house and lots of kids, then you have instant fun right there. They can connect up and choo choo around the house.
Then, if that's not all, you can flip and click the base into the reverse position to form a rocker. The toy box now becomes a see-saw for one. However, Theresa's four year old fell off immediately and nearly banged her head on the table. The problem she felt was that it was too small for her and badly balanced.
"I liked the idea of this feature but I don't feel it delivered on it properly. Sadly I didn't have access to younger kids to test if this was an age issue or not. Also, it didn't have toys in it so perhaps they provide a bit more counterweight? Not sure. Not a fan." she said.
Overall: Theresa said she would buy this if she had more space at home to take advantage of the driving feature and if it wasn't quite so expensive. "I think that any toy chest that can do more than just sit there and hold toys is a clever idea and just because the rocker doesn't quite work out, it doesn't mean this is a failure. Quite the opposite, in fact. The train idea is fabulous. The toy box is very sturdy. It's really tough."
And finally ...
Really, the main problem Theresa had was price. These three all seem good quality items though, and that alone can be worth investing in. However, Amazon reduces items all the time, so might be worth waiting for a price drop.