With a 3 year age gap between Max and Ben, it’s fair to say that I didn’t expect it to be easy to find toys that appealed to them both and that they could both play with together. But when I was asked to review the Cruise Around Activity Elephant from Infantino, I wondered whether this might just be the one that fit that brief.
How Does It Work?
The Infantino Cruise Around Activity Elephant is aimed at 9 months plus, and is designed to grow with your child, encouraging them to pull themselves up, and then teaching them counting and ball skills once they get to the later toddler stage. It’s a great sensory experience, with bright colours, flashing lights, and 3 melodies, as well as having different textures with it’s bobbly tusks, so it appeals to so many of your baby’s senses.
It has the holy grail of controls for parents – 3 levels of volume; off, low volume, and high volume. This is an absolute must for any noisy toy in my experience – there are times when you just need that volume off!
It comes with 5 different coloured balls, which you pop into the elephant’s head, and they whizz around inside, setting off the whirring cogs, music and flashing lights inside, as the balls find their way through, coming out through either the elephant’s trunk, or one of his two legs.
A great feature for when your baby gets older is the little basketball hoop on the back, which you can flip the balls into using a little paddle at the bottom.
What Did We Think?
As soon as we popped the balls into our elephant and the music and lights started, Ben was absolutely entranced! He’s only 9 months, so right at the bottom of the recommended age, but I can see already how this will entertain him now and for the next few years. He’s already reaching up to the see-through window, drawn to the moving balls and flashing lights, and I can see him using the elephant to pull himself up on in a few months. It feels nice and sturdy for him to be able to do that as the two legs and back make a nice little tripod.
Max is nearly 4, so at the very top of the age range for this, and I was surprised at how much he loved the elephant too. He was much more drawn to the back of the toy, with the basketball hoop and flipper, and is happy to spend ages trying to flip the balls in, sometimes successfully, sometimes not!
The one feature that I found a bit disappointing was the counting feature, which I had expected to actually say the number as it counts the balls. Instead, you put the balls in and it beeps the appropriate number of times for the amount of balls. But in reality, the counting aspect is the least interesting part of the toy for children! And one useful feature for improvement would be a little place to store the balls, as it’s very easy to lose them when the toy isn’t being played with – I keep finding them all over the living room!
But the thing that I was so impressed by, was the way that this allowed the boys to really play together. They both sit in front of it, and Max will pop the balls into the top for Ben to watch them going round. Max will then chase the balls all over the room as they come out of the bottom, returning them to the elephant. It amuses them together for a good 10 minutes at a time, which is an absolute godsend when you have 2 kids to look after – just enough time to whizz around and get the rest of the room straight! I love watching them genuinely play together and bond – it’s something that I didn’t expect to happen until they were much older, so it’s wonderful to find a toy that works so well for them at this age.
The Infantino Cruise Around Activity Elephant retails at £49.99 and is available from Amazon and The Range.
Disclosure: We were sent the Infantino Cruise Around Activity Elephant for the purposes of this review. All views and opinions are our own.