Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Review - V-tech Alphabet Ride-on Train

This review is on a toy I have been very undecided with for a few months now.

For D's first birthday he got the V-tech ride on train. He was very excited about it and I remember it was out of the box minutes after it was unwrapped.

This may have had more to do with Granda's excitement than D's but still it was a hit right away it played song's and things popped out one end after you put them in.

The V-tech ride on says it promotes letter learning, hand coordination, walking, riding (look up).

This is one of the few things that really got D walking, it was just the right weight for him to find his balance and was easy to turn around to go the other way. Even after learning to walk D used the train to run around our house faster and faster as he learnt to run.

The V-Tech train is a ride on with a difference. It comes with letter blocks that can be inserted into the train in two ways;
The first way is to put the blocks in a slot at the top of the train and push it down so that it shoots out the back of the train section and into the 'cargo' section  which is under the seat. D did hate this at the start as he couldn't get the blocks in the slot the right way. He still persevered and after about two months of daily fits of annoyance he got one block in, to which he celebrated by clapping for himself! It did still take a few weeks before it went in every time but we got there. This aspect is now of no interest to D, I honestly don't know why but it has been 3 months since he Played with the train in this way.

The second is to insert the blocks into the rectangle shaped holders on the side of the train section. When you insert the blocks it tells you the phonic and a word beginning with the letter. This is where our problems started and still lay. The blocks each have a unique pattern on the bottom which pushes in little spikes to recognize the letter. The blocks have to be in exactly the right way or it won't recognize the block, D cannot do this. This aspect of the v-tech train is a massive let down for me as we had been looking forward to learning phonics using the train and it's blocks. But at 21 months D still has struggles recognizing the right way to put the block in and how to push it properly into the space and activate the response.

Another feature I wanted to talk about was the ride on aspect of the train. This is a rarely used part in our house, D actually puts other toys in it to take them to a different room. D can use the ride-on part (the seat) alone, but only alone. He has tried on numerous occasions to play with the ride-on train as a whole but he cannot get it to move, when he puts his feet down to move forward he catches the 4 wheels of the two sections (back 2 wheels of the train and the front two of the seat) which are surprisingly close together when both parts are joined. D got extremely frustrated at this and now doesn't even try to use it this way anymore, he even has a Fit if I try to attach them for him.

Although the train does have wonderful music, sound and all round audio it uses, I do feel that the uniqueness that was created by the versatile uses of tge train have been let down in the fact that over a period of 9 months D hasn't been able to use two of the key factors of the toy. The Train does have an age range of 12 - 36 months. This means that in theory D shouldn't be able to do certain elements of the train yet. Although I we do love using the train to pretend to be a train driver and listening to it's music and sounds. I was hoping we could use it to aid with learning letters and phonics. This so far has just proven to be extremely frustrating for D and ends in the train being pushed over and D sitting himself on the bottom stair until he has calmed down.

All things considered, I do like The alphabet train by v-tech but I do at the same time think that there is a gap in the age range provided where it becomes very difficult to engage D and means that it hasn't been played with in the last month or so. I do however hope D starts to use the train again sometime soon.

I apologize that there are no pictures of D using the toy I really tried to get some but he kept freaking out when I tried to encourage him to play with it. I do have one or two but they are on my camera and my sister has her laptop.

All thoughts and opinions are my own. I would love to know if you have an experience with the V-tech alphabet train, leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing about your experience!


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