Monday, March 29, 2010
Review: Plan Toys Dancing Alligator
When trying to decide which product to highlight for my very first review, my mind kept coming back to one toy: the Dancing Alligator by Plan Toys. It's a wooden pull toy shaped like what will surely be the most adorable alligator you've ever seen.
Maybe you've seen this toy around, and maybe your frugal side has been put off by the price tag (currently $20 on Amazon.com). Twenty bucks for one small, simple toy can seem like a bit much, I understand, but I'm here to tell you that this little guy is worth the money.
The body is made up of several segments connected by a strong, stretchy string and its wheels' axels are purposely set off-center; these features create worm-like movement and a wooden clapping sound that really keeps baby's attention. Oh, I know what you're thinking, but the clapping noise is, surprisingly, not annoying - in fact, it's almost soothing next to all the mechanical bells and whistles that come out of so many battery-operated toys!
The alligator's movement is fluid and the toy is easy to pull on hardwood or carpet. I nanny a fifteen-month-old boy who is just learning to walk, and he has no problems pulling this toy around; this toy is an excellent way to encourage new toddlers to practice walking. My only real complaint is that the attached string is very thin and a bit difficult for little hands to grasp; I would love to see an easy-to-grip handle on the end of the string. However, this is a minor complaint and certainly hasn't impacted the fun of this toy!
Sadly, the Dancing Alligator is prone to being ignored by little ones in favor of more attention-grabbing toys, which is a shame, because this is such a fantastic plaything. Luckily, this is easily remedied by simply drawing your little one's attention to it - just pull the toy around for a few seconds, and your kid will be reaching for it before you know it! Sometimes I even use it as a puppet or pretend to gobble up little fingers with its tiny mouth. There are lots of ways to play and encourage creativity!
Oh, and can we talk about how cute it is? That little tail! His funny face! Those bright yellow wheels! Those eyes! Even if you never got a bit of play out of this toy, it would look terrific sitting atop a shelf in baby's room. But you'll get plenty of play out of it - the Dancing Alligator is very sturdily made out of solid wood. I just love seeing toys made of wood, because not only is it more durable and eco-friendly than plastic, it's a natural material, which means you don't have to worry about your child being exposed to the chemicals found in the plastic toys that are so prevalent these days. The toys in the Plan Toys catalog are made almost entirely of solid wood, and that's a huge bonus in my book!
I'm a big fan of Plan Toys as a company. They have received numerous awards, and they're also socially and ecologically responsible, which is very important to me in a company. The bottom line, though, is that their toys are award-winning, developmentally-appropriate, durable, eco-friendly, and safe. Any kid would be lucky to own one!
Visit Plan Toys' website here.
Buy the Dancing Alligator toy here, $20.