If you’re looking for that perfect toy for baby’s first Christmas, you can’t go wrong with something from Playskool’s Explore & Grow line. We’ve played with both the Tumble ‘N Twirl Top and the Busy Ball Popper for weeks, yet my girls squeal as much now as they did when I first took the toys out of their boxes!
The Tumble ‘N Twirl Top, for 6 months and up, is probably my toddler’s favorite of the two, only because she can easily carry it from room to room. If you prefer a toy that’s not battery-operated, then this is it! Your baby will love the bright colors and excitement that this ball-spinning top provides! Put the balls in, pump the plunger to watch them spin, or open the sliding door to watch them shoot out, and then have fun chasing after them. You’ll never know where the balls may land! It comes with the spinner and 4 light-weight, colorful balls that are compatible with other Explore and Grow products.
The Busy Ball Popper, for 9 months and up, is tons of fun, especially with lots of kids around. My toddler played with this for 45 minutes straight the first time she set eyes on it! There’s something about the colorful, air-powered ball-popping and upbeat music that is both exhilarating and unexpected. All it takes to start the fun is to pump the plunger and drop the balls onto the spiral track. When the balls reach the bottom, look out, because the balls pop out of the top! You’ll be running around the room chasing after them. With 8 different songs, and 5 colorful balls that are also compatible with other Explore and Grow toys, the Busy Ball Popper will keep your kids entertained for a long time! It requires 4 “D” batteries (not included).
I’m always looking at the benefits of play, and Playskool’s Explore & Grow toys are chock-full. Kids will:
- Be motivated to start crawling. When the balls pop out, they’ll want to go after them.
- Learn about cause and effect. What happens when you push the plunger? Open or close the door?
- Improve hand-eye coordination. Catching the balls as they pop out is a challenge! Figuring out how to make eyes and hands work together is hard work.
- Develop gross motor skills. Pushing the plunger over and over requires upper body strength. Going after the balls takes muscle movement as well.
- Practice fine motor skills. Picking up balls and dropping them back in the toy takes small movements like the “pincer grip,” the same skill that allows kids to hold a spoon and feed themselves.
Great for independent play, these toys are also a fun way to sit down and teach your child about colors and counting. How many balls are there? What color ball just popped out? See the toys in action!
The Busy Ball Popper retails for $22.99, but is on sale on Amazon at this very moment! The Tumble ‘N Twirl Top sells for $14.99. Both are available at most major toy retailers and on HasbroToyShop.com.
One lucky reader will win Playskool’s Explore & Grow Busy Ball Popper. To enter, please leave a comment on this post telling me who you’d give this to if you win!
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Contest ends December 15th, 2009 11:59 pm EST. US entries only. Leave a separate comment for each entry & a valid email address/blog URL. One person per household may enter. Winner, chosen at random, has 3 days to claim their prize. Hasbro provided the product for review.