New 'spin' on an old classic
Jun 30, 2009
Review by thraesja
Rated a Very Helpful Review
User Rating: Excellent
Pros:inexpensive, educational, bright, durable
Cons:water may get inside rings, may get stuck on small wrists
The Bottom Line: For long-term entertainment, educational value, and price point, this toy can't be beat.
I fondly remember playing with the classic version of this plastic toy when I was young. For those of you unfamiliar, the classic version consisted of a white, rockable base, a tapered yellow pole, and five rings in primary colours which varied by size. In most versions, the rings (from largest to smallest) were blue, green, yellow, orange, and red.
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This toy is very similar. The main difference is that the smallest ring is now half red and half transparent. It's also made of a harder plastic than the others. The now-visible interior has a silver design on the bottom and contains several beads, which can be rattled and rolled around the circumference.
At first, I have to admit I was disappointed the toy wasn't exactly like I remembered. However, the rattle capabilities were very attractive to my now 12-month-old son. He started playing with the red ring as soon as he was capable of maintaining a grip on it, and enjoyed many sessions of wild flailing with it in his hands.
Once my son could sit up, the fun with this toy really began. Like most babies, he very much enjoys pulling all the rings off the pole. In fact, for a period of several months, he couldn't seem to bear seeing the toy in its assembled state. No matter what he was playing with, as soon as he spied the rings in order on the pole, he'd drop everything to take the rings back off. It's one of the reasons we've nick-named him Entropy Baby.
As much fun as he has unstacking the rings, his real enjoyment comes from spinning them. Early on, my husband showed him that with a bit of a twist of the wrist, the rings would spin on a hard surface for up to a minute on their own. From then on, my son's been obsessed with spinning the rings. Since he doesn't yet have the dexterity to do a full-fledged twist, he compromises by gently (and sometimes not-so-gently) tossing them onto hard surfaces. It's given him plenty of mobility practice;he's forced to crawl to the sections of the house with hardwood or linoleum to fully appreciate the spinny goodness. He's quite good at it, and has progressed to experiment with anything even vaguely round.
Since the rings are different sizes and colours, they're great for both size sorting (big, bigger, biggest) and colour identification. As my son gets bigger and presumably starts to occasionally enjoy putting the rings back on the tapered pole, it'll become a bit of a puzzle as to how to get them all to fit.
The only thing I'm not fond of, and I think it's a change from the classic version as I remember having the rings in the bath with me, is the tiny hole that's in each of the other four rings. I assume it's a result of the manufacturing process or perhaps it keeps air pressure changes from stressing the plastic. Either way, it also allows small quantities of water into the inside of the blue, green, yellow, and orange rings, which is almost impossible to dry out. Normally, this isn't a problem. It kinda kills putting the toy in the bath or the dishwasher, but it can still be easily cleaned with a damp sponge. However, the problem comes when we've forgotten to leave the bathroom door closed and the toilet lid down. My son has a penchant for dropping things into the bowl, and these appear to be just perfect for such experiments. The surface comes clean enough, but then I either have to submerge the ring to get enough disinfectant inside and then wait days for it to dry, or I'm left wondering what's growing in it...Ew.
Though it hasn't yet happened to my son, I imagine there will be a risk of the rings getting stuck on chubby little wrists as he grows. I'm hopeful a bit of vaseline will cure the problem when it occurs.
The product details state the toy is for 6 months and up, which is fairly accurate. Until your child can sit, he or she won't fully appreciate it. However, with the small rattling ring, s/he may get some enjoyment out of it somewhat earlier. Obviously, I can't yet say how long my son will continue enjoying it, but since I can remember playing with mine, I'd say he'll still have some fun with it up until at least the age of three.
This product is also available in a pink-and-purple version for girls, but I know that even if I have a girl in future I'll be sticking with the brightly-coloured one. More variety and visual stimulation. And all for under $10. Can't beat that.
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Amount Paid (US$): 8
Type of Toy: Baby Toy
Age Range of Child: 0 to 12 Months
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