Pros: Inexpensive, fun, interesting for baby...
Cons: Lacks flexibility, noisy at times...
Everybody knows that monkeys are the most amusing animals on Earth. I mean, come onthey are hilarious. Their goofy faces, their not-quite-human stance, their vacant gaze; it is all material for ridiculous amounts of laughter. Toy makers are always looking to exploit these dear creatures. One such attempt is Fisher Prices Baby Gymnastics Monkey Chase.
First of all, we got this toy as a gift. I know it was on sale or clearance a few months ago and what drew the buyer in was the noise it made. Seriouslythe ooh ooh, ee ee, ah ah is heartwarmingly hilarious. It is that very sounds that made me giggle the first time I heard it, though Im positive my son could care less about that part of the toy. As it turns out what he likes is touching the monkey and watching it take off across the floor. I think he likes the slight variety in sounds.
Monkey Chase is a fine enough looking toy. The monkey itself is blue with a light blue face. Hes wearing a bright yellow shirt and red and white tennis shoes. As illustrated he is also holding a green ball in his hand which is attached to his arm which is thusly affixed to the body by a spring. The arms flop around as the toy moves or as baby plays. Obviously this is a cartoon monkey, not a realistic one. In any case, the jist of the toy is that baby touches the monkey and based on where he is touched he does something different. Unfortunately if the monkey does move based on your babys actions it always goes the same direction. I wish there was more variety in movement and not just sound. At least the sounds are hilarious. If the monkey runs into something it is effectively stuck but fortunately if the monkey happens to wind up on its back it knows not to move the wheels that propel it.
My son began to play with Monkey Chase when he was about 8 months old. He had been crawling and pulling himself up already for over two months. It is recommended that babies over six months old will enjoy the toy. It is certainly safe for younger children but it is unlikely a baby who cant crawl or move or roll on the floor will have any interest in the toy. The toy basically activates, rolls away from baby and then turns to face baby. This is the one and only routine. My son really likes to beat on things, especially things that react when beaten on. For this reason he likes his funny blue monkey. Since he isnt sharing it with anybody I was relieved to find that there are two volume settings. The low setting is plenty loud. The high setting is way too loud. As with all parents (Im sure) noisy toys are the bane of my existence. At least this one can be switched off if need be.
Even if this toy were better balanced, my son would still beat it into the ground. He revels in attacking and dismembering things. He still loves his monkey at almost 11 months old but I suspect that it will lose its novelty around his first birthday. For the price, it was a decent toy. There are certainly toys he likes much better (pretty much any piano or xylophone, push toys, his Leap Frog table, his precious sorting bucket and blocks) but among the battery operated ones this is one of the most enjoyable for him and for me.
Monkey Chase requires 3 AA batteries. We have yet to replace the ones that were originally installed. There are issues with the toy, but for the $7.50 it cost even if it doesnt last forever it was worth the cost. I like the sounds, the durability, the interaction, and the volume control. I dont like the volume level and lack of flexibility. Zack just loves his funny blue monkey.