Thursday, 19 April 2012

Tolo Roller Ball Run

The Tolo Roller Ball Run is another favourite toy around these parts. We bought this for Felix when he was 14 months old. We definitely could have bought it a lot earlier as he got the hang of it right away. I'm very much looking forward to Dexter growing into this toy.

So the basic gist of the toy is that you pop the balls through the holes in the top and they roll down the ramp. Simple? Yes. Addictive? Yes. Mesmerising? Absolutely! The first thing I love about this toy is how well it is made. It is a weighty, solid, quality plastic. I'm usually a bit of a stickler for wooden toys, I dislike plastic crap and I generally detest toys requiring batteries. But this plastic is different. It's not cheap and nasty, it's the type of plastic you can imagine dropping onto a floor and the floor breaking instead of the toy.

On the side of the toy is a twisty switch. If you lock it, you prevent the balls from falling off the first ramp. This means you can lock off the switch, pop all three balls through the holes and the balls are safe inside the toy. Great if you want to transport it or like me, if you rotate your toys regularly and therefore want to store it for a time.

The three balls are a good size and weight. There are green, blue and orange balls, each is half bright colour and half black and white pattern. Two of our balls have what sounds like a smaller ball inside so they make a slight rattle, kind of like those baoding balls that hippies so love. The colour of the holes in the top of the toy correspond with the colours of the three balls. This provides a good opportunity to introduce colour matching. The balls also need to be pushed through the holes with a small bit of force so we build co-ordination and problem solving skills there too.

At 21 months Felix has well mastered all aspects of the toy, including the switch on the side. However, he will still take out this toy a few times a week and play with it for a while. It's also a high value item when friends come round to play. I would estimate the ideal age range for this toy as being from about 9 months through to about 18 months.

Have any of your children played with this toy and enjoyed it? Do you have a similar roller ball toy you would recommend? I'd love to hear what you think.

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