Friday, January 8, 2010
Melissa & Doug makes fabulous wooden toys... no secret there. How do the puzzles stack up?
Their puzzles are excellent quality. No rough edges, no poor fit (I have other, cheaper wooden puzzles that have splinters waiting on the edges and that need to be jammed in order to fit in the correct spot). The sound puzzles are very unique. We have the "vehicles" one, and each vehicle makes its own accurate(ish) sound as the correct piece is placed in the right spot. The illustrations are bright and colourful, and in an artistic style that makes them easily recognizable to even very young children. I've never had to replace the batteries, and we've owned it approximately one year.
Now, the main reason I wanted to review this product is because A GHOST LIVES IN MELISSA & DOUG SOUND PUZZLES. No, not really. But you'd be surprised at how often the sounds go off when no one is playing with it! Other sound puzzle owners have told me the same thing, and what we've noticed is that it's usually light-related; either a light has been turned on or off in the room, or the sun is setting and the light coming through a window changes. Not a huge deal, but when you consider that one of the pieces in the vehicles puzzle is an ambulance, it can sometimes freak you out!
Ours was given to us as a gift, but they run about $15.99 and are available at many baby boutiques and Toys R Us. Other sound puzzles available: Farm, Musical Instruments, Shapes, Pets, and Emergency Sounds.
What's a rear-facing child to do?
The poor kids. Especially the firstborns. There is seriously NOTHING to do back there! Here, stare at a headrest. Bored yet?
I bought this little contraption when my daughter stopped falling asleep every time we drove somewhere. One of the things I like best about it is the remote control! With the little plastic star-shaped remote, you can turn it on/off, adjust the volume, turn off the lights (for driving in the dark... you don't really want to blind your child), and set the mode.
Essentially what it does is light up, play classical music, and teach colour names in three languages (english, french and spanish). I could do without the other languages, but I'm sure they do no harm. The lights do a little bit of a "dance" along with the music notes, so it can be pretty intriguing for an older, alert baby. As the product description says, "Lights and melodies mode for ultimate fun!". That may be a tad of an oversell, but hey, why not. There is also a mirror attached to the panel to help you see what your baby is up to back there (conducting, no doubt.. didn't you know Baby Einstein products turn your kid into a genius?).
The panel attaches easily to a headrest with an adjustable strap and buckle. It can also perch in the back window by setting it up like a little easel and sticking it to your fuzzy car shelf with the velcro strip. The toy takes 4 AA batteries, and if I'm being honest, it powers through them pretty quickly. Still a great toy to have at your disposable though.
It was over 2 years ago that I bought it, but i believe it was around $25. Purchased at my local Walmart.