Mellow Mummy: The Sunday Review - Playskool Ball n Gear Centre : Taking life as it comes...

Sunday 10 October 2010

The Sunday Review - Playskool Ball n Gear Centre

Lara has been testing out the Ball n Gear Centre from Playskool.

Lara couldn't wait to get it out of the box. She was pulling the packaging off like a crazed animal. This is probably to do with the bright colours and funny faces - tempting!

The Ball n Gear Centre comprises a brightly coloured central unit, 2 plastic balls and a set of 5 'gears' or cogs. We chose it from Playskool's offering because, at 15 months old, Lara is fascinated by the way things work. She is always investigating things (this is also known as pulling things apart). Lara likes to put stuff 'in', pull stuff 'off', put things 'together', 'press' things and 'move' things. It is an age where children learn a great deal about the basics of the world around them while soaking up a lot of the detail.

Within seconds of using it, Lara knew exactly what she was supposed to do with it. This is particularly fascinating as neither myself or Mr. B. could understand it's appeal. We're both the scientific sort so maybe we're reading a bit too much into the toy. The balls plop out. The 'gears' go round when you press a button. That's about it. There are cogs and wheels to spin, and I think we were expecting them to link together so that movement of the gears caused balls to move, or cogs to spin – it doesn't.

Lara likes to explore the Ball n Gear centre. She goes back to it time and again. Lara has managed to find secret hidey holes for balls that we would never have found! She loves to press the button, to stack and slot the 'gears' and to place the ball in different places.

The Playskool Ball n Gear centre, like most children's toys this day, takes batteries. When we put the batteries in we were expecting things to turn and whizz. Actually, all you get is music and in general, I'd rather go without. Lara on the other hand likes to dance to the music – she presses the button and then bops in front of it. I wish I could have captured a video.

The music hasn't yet driven me round the bend, we haven't yet lost the balls or gears and nothing has fallen off it. It entertains Lara for upto 10 minutes at a time (which, trust me, is a long time in her world). So, the conclusion is that it really doesn't matter what I think of the Ball n Gear centre – my toddler loves it and that's what matters.

The Ball n Gear Centre is suitable from 9 months old and costs around £24.99.
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