Pros: Good Concept & Multimedia CD
Cons: must be used vertical, only 1 song at a time, Where are the colors?
I will be the first to admit that my son has a lot of toys and "things". My in-laws have a lot to do with that, since they like to give their first grandchild lots of "stuff". On our recent trip over Thanksgiving the Baby Van Gogh Color Go Round was among the many things that he received.
Looking at the box the Baby Van Gogh Color Go Round made by Playskool/Baby Einstein looks like a pretty cool toy for children 9 months and up. It contains both the main toy "Color Go Round" and a multimedia CD. The toys purpose is to help introduce kids to art and music, and I support that. This toy has great potential to teach colors and music.
The Color Go Round is a stand up artist pallete that is almost 2 dimensional with a base. If you press the button on the base, a classical music tune will play and a clear disk will spin on the pallette. According to the manufacturer " with a simple press of a button, this unique toy becomes a kaleidoscope of changing colors that combine in beautiful patterns to the sound of classical music"
Um.. Yeah. Wanna know what its really all about?
Do you know those desk toys that have blue watery goo in them that swirl around and bubble and make like a waterfall or something? You know, the toys that they sell in places like Spencer's for you to mess around with when you are bored at work? This is the baby version of that. When my son and I press the button we see blue goo swirling around bubbling inside of the rotating clear plastic. There are 3 purple stars painted on the plastic but those are hard to see with the bright blue goo, and I think that part of the color wheel is tinted yellow but again, its not visible through the blue goo.
So thats problem #1. What Good is a Color Go Round with only one color?
On to problem #2. What good is the music if it plays for only a few seconds? The wheel only rotates for one song, which plays after the music is pressed. It rotates for about a quarter turn and then stops for a second or two, and then rotates again. It does this 3 times while music plays. The music plays for less than 30 seconds (and I'm being generous here). Its frustrating at best. This is supposed to be an attention grabber ala mesmerizer but it doesn't play long enough to do either of these!
And other problems. I am not going to number each one of them, there are too many. One biggie is that the Color Go Round needs to be used in a vertical position. If its not in a vertical position then the blue goo doesn't mix around at all. There is a flip out "stand" on the bottom of this to help balance it while in the vertical position. Our stands up just fine without it, however.
The Color Go Round Wheel is just meant to be looked at and admired. How many toddlers or babies (9mths+) do you know that will want to just look at something and not touch it, especially if there is a button to press and a wheel swirling around with a motor sound? The answer is none. However, if your child happens to touch or "stop" the swirling wheel, it will make a horrible grinding noise and you will surely think that this expensive toy has broken. Ours has not yet broken while my son has done this (though I have secretly hoped it would).
Which brings us to the motor. Its loud. When the color wheel rotates the motor sounds are almost as loud as the music that is playing. Which, by the way, is loud too. And there is no volume control. The Color Go Wheel is powered by 3 AA batteries (that you need a screwdriver to change) and they are necessary to power the motor and also the music.
Lastly, one thing I thought that would be a nice add to this toy, or at least make it more useful would the addition of some sort of light display into the color wheel. That would allow this toy to function in some ways like a soother or at least add a bit to the fascination aspect. No go - though. It doesn't have a light. The colors rely on you to be able to see through the clear plastic and so if its a bit dark you will see even less.
So, overall, not impressed with the Color Go Round. Now, onto the CD.
The mixed media CD contains both music and video. You can use it as a regular music CD for listening pleasure or play it on your computer for visual stimulation as well.
As an audio CD: The CD plays 7 different tracks of 19th century composers. These are the full length version of the songs that are played by the Color Go Round.
As a multimedia CD (for a PC or a Mac) it has QuickTime movies that show scenes from the Baby Einstein video collection (which is award-winning). The quicktime movies are OK, but would be a lot better if they could be played full screen, instead of the small viewing area that they show up in. I have a freebie offer I am doing for one of these videos (from Parents Magazine) so I guess I'll get to see for myself how award-winning they are pretty soon.
Also on the CD Rom are 2 print outs, a printable Parent Play Guide and a 20-page coloring book. The coloring book is for an older child, so I haven't used that yet. The playguide didn't really tell me anything that I didn't already know!
Ok, Its held up over time and my son has a bizarre fascination with this toy. He does seem to like it and is a bit rough with it. Because of its quick shut-off time it saves on batteries. I just don't see my value in this product, other than its a gadget. Skip this for your child, or as a gift. I bet we'll see a lot of these at garage sales in the spring and summer!
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