Little Tikes Activity Garden review
So it’s official -our Bobs is now a crawler, and not just a slow one, a ridiculously fast one (especially if there’s a banana at the other end of the room). And even “worse”, she’s now over the last few days, started to pull herself up onto things. Our little girl is growing up fast (she thinks she’s people, dammit!)
Over the last month or two on ‘Temporary Affluence Day’ – also known as ‘Pay day’ to most people – I’ve been trying to find some cool interactive toys for Bobs to start playing with. Preferably toys that can survive a nuclear blast, since girlfriend loves to beat the hell out of everything she has, and drops everything from the table (whilst looking you square in the eye, the little madam!) The current array of her toys ranges from shiny biteys to noisy biteys, with very few variations in between. Luckily we’ve recently been asked to review the award winning Little Tikes ‘Activity Garden’. To which I said “how soon can it get here” and “how soon can Yawnofthedad build it” (surprisingly quickly was the answer to both of those questions, even more so the second one!)
If you’re like us and you’re trapped indoors some winter days because the garden leaves much to the imagination, i.e. it’s a small bit of decking that becomes a death trap as soon as any moisture hits it, then you’ll absolutely love the Activity Garden. In terms of what it is exactly, it’s less of a garden and more of an open-plan house for your little crawlers to explore, interact with, and learn. Each side of the playset has something for little hands to get involved with:
- On the front side there’s a button-operated 3 key xylophone on top of the closable gate, a fully manoeuvrable telescope, and mailbox with shape sorter.
- On the left side there’s a slide for little bums to slip down. It’s a really shallow one, so there’s no worry that baba will go skidding off into the kitchen if he/she goes down it! Bobs is currently spending her time getting onto it, then shouting at it because she’s not yet mastered how to climb up it.
- At the back there’s an arch window complete with opening/closing shutters, perfect for a game of peep-oh! Above and below the window is a ball sorter which, at the moment, is Bobs’ most favourite thing of all time (even though “all time” is only 8 months, but still). Toddlers who are walking can drop the balls in at the top of the window and watch as they bounce through the flower pot into the bottom tray, whilst babies who aren’t standing just yet can do the same, but on the lower sorting holes. Our little one got the hang of the game pretty swiftly and now often rewards her ingenuity with attempting to eat one of the plastic balls (luckily they’re too big, even for her enormous vacuum of a mouth).
- On the right side is a two-sided interactive panel. On one side it has a learning clock with movable dials, hands and buttons, whilst on the other side it has a battery operated 3 language interactive telephone (English, Spanish, and French). All the buttons give the sound of the number that’s pressed (“one”, “uno”, “une”, etc.), and the phone can be picked up when it starts to ring. Luckily it’s on a cord which mean it won’t end up under the sofa like a lot of toys do these days. The telephone side is a really cool addition to the set as a whole, especially with the bonus of your little ones picking up a little bit of 3 separate languages too.
On to the construction. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I didn’t build the set myself. Anyone who’s a regular visitor will know that I leave all that fun to my other half, Mr Yawnofthedad. I’ve seen him build tons of things like furniture, playsets, Lego models, and bikes with the usual furrowed brow and beads of anger-sweat slowly dripping down his face. Tired from a hard day’s work he started building quite late at night and I can honestly say there wasn’t a single swear word used. Although, in his own words, it would’ve been even easier had the instructions been in colour, he found it all very manageable. I think I even saw a few smiles through the whole building stages, as he learned what each bit did. So that all definitely gets a thumbs up from me.
The only slight downside to this is the size. It’s ideal for one toddler (Bobs is comfortable lay down/sat up and she’s a very fat 8.5 mths old now), so if you had twins or two babies about a year apart it could get a bit cosy. That being said, it is the perfect size for an indoor playset/playhouse because if it were any bigger it’d have to go outside and inevitably not get that much use (Manchester = rain). Our living room isn’t that big (even now with everything shifted out so Bobs can roam free) and it surprisingly doesn’t take up that much space inside.
Psssst, did I tell you that it currently has £20 off…. I think it’s a bargain for £49.99 and would make an awesome Christmas present (I promise no one has paid me to say that either!).
Mirror for peek-a-boo play
Movable clicking bugs
3 language interactive telephone
Movable, look through telescope
Open-close window shutters that feature a ball drop flower pot
Assembly required: yes
Battery: 3 x AA (not included)
*For the purpose of this review we were sent the Little Tikes Activity Garden free of charge, however all opinions are our own*