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May 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 5
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Infant/Toddler: Baby Loves Bathtime

Whales and Hippos Teach Cause and Effect


Lucy (3) appreciated that she could control the flow of water with the arrow handle.
This month, the Infant/Toddler Roundtable participants evaluated the Whistling Hippos by Alex, which was a hit with the younger kids because of its size and bright colors; the Whale Bath Toy by Tiny Love, which was most enjoyable for the older kids; and the Bathtub Fun Center by Ravensburger’s Mini-Steps, which was fun for some.

Participating were: Penelope Pauley, mother of Lucy (3); Christy Chambers, mother of Nigel (2); Diana del Pozo, mother of JoJo (1); and Sharri Hefner, mother of Sydney (8 months).

Whistling Hippos by ALEX
Category: Bath
MSRP: $13.99

TDmonthly rating:



What It Is: Four colorful hippo toys that whistle different tones as they bob in the water.

What the Moms Thought
Neither Christy nor Diana was excited about the packaging of the Whistling Hippos. Penelope was frustrated by the lack of instructions on the box. Once the package was open, however, all the moms appreciated the quality, design and color. Christy thought the size was perfect for Nigel’s 2-year-old hands. Penelope said, “Let’s be honest: Who doesn’t love a hippo?” The hard plastic drains easily and won’t mildew.

What the Kids Said
JoJo (1) loved the size, sound and colors of her first water toy. Responding more to the color than the whistling, Sydney (8 mos.) immediately grabbed for the hippos when she got into the tub. The older children did not use the toy as designed: Penelope said Lucy (3) created stories for the hippos, giving each a role to play. Lucy’s mom and dad had to join in, dancing and singing along. Nigel (3) wore the inner tubes as bracelets and used the hippos as whistles.

What the Kids Learned
The moms of the younger kids thought that the hippos were an effective way to teach colors and cause and effect. The moms of the older kids felt that their children did not learn much from this toy. All agreed that Whistling Hippos is a fun bath-time toy.

How to Improve It
The moms thought that the product could benefit from better instructions and information. Christy said simply, “Make it sound more fun on the box.” Penelope felt that some improvements could be made in the design because the hippos don’t easily whistle. Diana thought a rubber lining on the tubes might help the pieces stay together, allowing them to float more effectively.

Would You Want Another Toy Like This?
The kids loved this product, but the parents said it was too much work.

Bathtub Fun Center by RAVENSBURGER
Age: 1 to 2
Gender: Boys and Girls
Category: Water Activities
MSRP: $19.99

TDmonthly rating:



What It Is: An interactive bath toy that attaches to the tub and moves pieces with flowing water.

What the Moms Thought
Diana thought the toy looked fun even while in the box, owing to its size and the activities offered. Penelope had a wonderful time teaching Lucy (3) how to use the arrow to change the quality of the activity. Christy felt that the toy didn’t live up to its packaging. Though I thought it looked too complicated for Sydney (8 mos.), once the package was opened, she giggled with joy as she watched the water flow in different directions.

What the Kids Said
Lucy (3) loved the big whale scoop and the floating duck. She appreciated that she could control the flow of water with the arrow handle. Lucy even played with the whale away from the Fun Center. She made it swim around the tub, jump out of the water and do flips. She gave her other toys “showers” with the spout. Nigel (2) enjoyed the small duck that spins in the cup. However, because the duck had a hole on the bottom, it would fill with water and stop spinning, frustrating him. JoJo (1) loved the water moving through the toy. Sydney (8 mos.) enjoyed splashing water with the whale.

What the Kids Learned
Diana felt that JoJo (1) learned cause and effect while playing with the toy. Penelope thought the toy taught Lucy (3) directions (up, down, right, left) while stimulating her imagination. Christy thought that Nigel (2) learned patience while repeatedly getting the water out of the duck. Sydney (8 mos.) learned how to rotate the knob.

How to Improve It
Christy suggested fixing the hole in the duck and changing the shape of the scoop so the water won’t spill so easily. Diana thought the Fun Center could use bigger suction cups so the toy would not slide from its own weight while JoJo (1) played. Penelope thought the toy was a little too big to keep in the tub, and cumbersome to remove and replace for baby’s bathtime.

Would You Want Another Toy Like This?
Most of the moms in the roundtable said YES!

Whale-of-Fun by TINY LOVE
Gender: Boys and Girls
Category: Bath
MSRP: $14.95

TDmonthly rating:



What It Is: A small whale-shaped bath toy that sticks to the side of the tub and squirts water.

What the Moms Thought
Penelope thought this colorful, creative bath toy was a great way to get Lucy (3) in the tub. For her, the suction cups were really effective — the toy stayed put! Christy thought the toy was cute, and geared for small hands. Diana was impressed she could see and understand the toy while it was still in the packaging. The button was too difficult for Sydney (8 mos.) to push.

What the Kids Said
Nigel (3) loves doing things on his own, so he really enjoyed the squirter. JoJo (1) laughed at the moving fishes inside the whale. She kept pouring more water in the whale to keep the fun going. Lucy (2) liked being able to control the water coming out of the toy and making the clicking noise. She also enjoyed giving the whale a bath. Sydney (8 mos.) did not respond to the toy.

What the Kids Learned
JoJo (1) learned cause and effect and how to push. The toddlers learned a little about whale spouts from their parents.

How to Improve It
Diana thought the toy could be a little bigger. Christy and Penelope thought the toy was perfect as is.

Would You Want Another Toy Like This?
Most moms said yes, but as mom of the youngest, I said no. Christy, mom to Nigel (2), mentioned that simpler bath toys are better for her family.



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Sharri HefnerWriter's Bio: Sharri is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. Most recently, Sharri wrote a one act titled "Spice" for Gene Rhee’s "The Trouble With Romance," which stars David Eigenberg ("Sex and the City"). "Georgia Heat," a script Sharri wrote with fellow NYU alum Mora Stephens, is slated for production Summer 2007 (Janet Yang, Executive Producer). Sharri received her MFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Before NYU, Sharri was graduated summa cum laude from California State, Long Beach. While Sharri was completing her thesis, USAToday selected her as one of the top college students in the country. Sharri is the proud mom of Sydney, who was born in June 2006. Read more articles by this author

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