Chicco The Hello Baby Animals telephone
Price: rrp £24.99. The cheapest online was Play.
Suitable from: 12 months
Initial Reaction: A large brightly coloured plastic phone, it comes with very nice big round buttons for little fingers and a handset that fits perfectly into small hands. You can press buttons on the top of the phone so that it talks in either English or French. It has a telephone keypad that says the numbers when pressed and an ‘address book’ that you flip to hear the words dog, rabbit or cat, and their corresponding shapes appear on the flashing display. It plays tunes, and when the handset is picked up, you hear different phone-like noises. Combinations of buttons can be pressed to call the different animals, and talk to them.
My 21 month old son took to this immediately, and over a month has learned how all the different features work, even managing to press the correct key combinations once or twice. He picks up the phone now, says ‘hiya’, has a conversation in baby language (or, possibly, french?), says ‘bye bye’ and puts the handset down again. This is extremely cute to watch and it’s worth buying just for this
However, in only just over two months it appears to have broken. It started to sound muffled so I changed the batteries but it just got worse and worse and now you cant hear anything at all. I am seriously disappointed.
Pros: It develops language skills by saying the numbers and animal names. My son can’t talk much but he makes the noise for cat and dog and signs rabbit when he is playing with it. There are also actions such as clap hands that you hear, and he has started doing this too, when he hears them. This shows that it develops listening skills too, as well as learning actions and consequences.
He loved it straight away, so it has instant appeal as well as being a toy that the child learns from. It’s a toy that they can play alone, or you can play together with it – I pretend call him from my mobile and he picks up, or he will pass me the handset and have me talk to the animals.
Cons: I only have a smattering of French, so it would be better if there was something in the instructions that says the exact French words, because I can’t really make out what it’s saying when it’s in French mode.
The biggest con is that it died on us in just over two months. That is very poor value.
Value for money? No, we enjoyed it but it didn’t last long.
Overall Reaction: Its a shame it broke so quickly because my son loved it.