Consumer Product Reviews And Opinions

Stand-Up Ball Blast - They'll Have A Blast

Our Godson Pierce is nearly a year older than our Son Jake which is very fortunate for us. Because of this age gap it means that we can assess the toys Pierce has and get to know what is good value and what is a waste of money before we actually buy products for our Son. On the 'recommendation' of Pierce we have bought many toys for Jake which he has grown to love, indeed we've also inherited a lot of his old toys too which has saved us even more money.

For Jakes first Christmas he recieved a great toy from Pierces Mummy. The toy in question is the Stand-Up Ball Blast. She bought it for Jake after seeing how much Pierce loved it and how it encouraged him to stand upright. Knowing how Jake was premature and knowing how much we were trying to encourage him to catch up to the toddler stage it was very good of her to think along our wavelength and buy him a toy which would help us.

What is the Stand-Up Ball Blast?
If you take a look at the picture you should get the general idea. It's just basically a spiral structure which you roll balls down. At the base of the spiral are four openings for the balls to be retrieved from, at the top of the spiral is a large round red handle for toddlers to grasp and pull themselves up with. As you push the balls down the spiral groovy music sounds out, none of that nursery rhyme rubbish that i'm sick of hearing it's much more groovy than that. There is also a blue button with a smiley face on it right at the top of the toy, press the smiley face and yet more groovy music sounds out. Not only that but as the music sounds out it also activates the flashing lights which surround the red handle. Fantastic eh!!!!

Is it easy to put together?
Of all the 'put together toys' Jake has had this has to be one of the easiest to erect. It comes in about 6 or 7 parts with easy to follow instructions. Once erected it is very firm, unlike many other toys that also require superglueing into place. In fact since Jake has outgrown this toy we have tried to dismantle it but it's refusing to budge.

Did/does Jake like it?
Well put it this way, i've just brought it downstairs out of storage in order to write this review and Jake is going bonkers for the music again.

When he first recieved this toy he was too young to really understand what to do with it but he enjoyed watched me and daddy play with it and used to bop away to the music. After a few months he became more aware of his abilities and started to pop the ball on the spiral and watch it roll down, letting out a shrill giggle as it reached the end. Oh yes he definitely enjoyed this toy, especially when he was more mobile and able to do things for himself.

And did it help him to stand up?
A firm YES to this one. He mainly used the settee to pull himself up to the standing position at first, but when he became a little more sturdy he would reach for this toy and stand upright holding onto the red handle for support. From then on there was no stopping him. He would drive us mad standing up beside this toy and constantly pressing the smiley face button for the music. Over and over again we had to listen to it, and he used to scream for us to bop away with him.

So what are the advantages of this toy?
Well it obviously *does* help them to stand up as Jake has proved this point time and time again. It is also a very sturdy and durable toy, we've had it nearly 2 years and there's not a scratch on it. It is easily cleaned, just wipe it over with a damp cloth and it looks like new. The music is groovy. But best of all is the fact there's a volume control so you don't have to listen to it constantly blasting your eardrums.

And are there any disadvantages?
Yes!!! One major disadvantage is the fact it's a pretty big toy to store. The base of it is about 40cm x 40cm and it's about 45cm tall, so if you've got very limited storage space keep this in mind as once the toy is assembled it's very hard to unassemble it. Also the biggest disadvantage I found was that the balls used to get jammed in the centre of the toy at the bottom rather than come out the little holes. Many a time I had to tilt the toy to one side in order for them to roll out, not a good thing to be wanting to do all day every day. I got around this by placing a book or small cushion under one side in order to keep it permanently tilted. Well it was a solution but realistically I shouldn't have had to come up with a solution.

Anything else to know?
The Stand-up Ball Blast comes with approximately 6 balls, i'm unsure of the exact number because Jake has loads of these balls and i've forgotten what balls came with what toy. It is suitable from approximately 9 months onwards although Jake was more ready for it when he was about 18 months old. You can find this toy at most good toy stores such as Argos, Woolworths, Toys R Us, Index etc..............It's made by Fisher Price and costs around £19.99. The batteries which are required are 3 x AA size which come included when you buy it. Fortunately you don't have to change the batteires too frequently as Jake had well over 6 months of play with just the first set.

There are loads of these toys on the internet at sites like Ebay where you can buy them so much cheaper than in the shops. If you have a look around you may be able to pick one up for just a few pounds, they last for years so a second hand one should be just as good as a brand new one.

Overall Conclusion
This is definitely a great toy to buy your little one as they'll have hours/months of fun out of it. After nearly 2 years ours is still as good as new and if it wasn't for the fact Jake has loads of other toys we'd still be keeping this downstairs for him. It would be better if we didn't have to manually tilt it to retrieve the balls, and it's something Fisher Price should have discovered when it came to testing their product so therefore i'm only giving it 4 stars.

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