Pros: Sturdy and fun
Cons: Balls get lost easily
Hammer Away is the toy that has solidified my faith in Discovery Toys. I received this toy as part of my introductory demo kit. I dismissed it almost immediately thinking it would be fun for a few hours but the novelty would wear off quickly. Because I didn't think much of it, I didn't demonstrate it with as much enthusiasm as I did the other toys that I really liked. After a few months, I took another look at it. I loved all the other Discovery Toys products and though maybe I had judged the Hammer Away too quickly. My son was still much too young for the recommended age of 19 months and up, but I had a cousin with a 2 year old son. At the next family gathering, I toted the Hammer Away along to see how it was received by a typical 2 year old. Man, was I surprised!! Noah couldn't keep his hands off it! He spent most of his time playing with this toy, even choosing it over some cars and a bubble plane. Had my son been a little older, I wouldn't have had to conduct this trial; he loves this toy and plays with it all the time. Now I am completely sold on the Hammer Away, so let me introduce you to this wonderful toy!
Don't rock the boat!
There's no rocking this boat! The Hammer Away looks like a tugboat, but sits on a sturdy flat base. The boat itself is made of rigid, sturdy plastic. The base and deck of the boat are dark blue and the body of the ship is red. The top of the boat is yellow with four round openings; each opening has a different colored rim made of soft, malleable plastic. Most of the ships accessories, such as windows, portholes, and life preservers, are molded into the plastic. There are two round wheel-like things on each side of the deck, but since I'm not much of a nautical person, I don't know what they are. They serve no other purpose but to add to the authenticity of the tugboat. The Hammer Away comes with 4 differently colored balls: blue, red purple and green. These balls correspond with the colored rings on the top of the boat. The boat has openings that allow the balls to roll through, but I will go into more detail about that when I explain how to play with this toy. Also included in this toy is a hammer. That's right, the accessory that strikes fear in the hearts of parents everywhere! But with a name like Hammer Away, did you expect any different? The frame of the hammer is made of strong plastic. It has a handle and covers on the ends of the head that are made of softer, more pliable plastic. The pliable plastic softens the blow?a little. The hammer is 7 inches long, the perfect size to be wielded by little hands. The boat itself is just over 14 inches long and almost 8 inches high at it's highest. The base is 8"x13", which keeps it very stable.
If I had a hammer
This fun little boat gives your toddler a great way to pound out some pint-sized frustrations! The rings on the top of the boat where the balls rest are large enough for the balls to go through but have small pieces of rubber molded into the rings that provide a bit of resistance. These bits keep the balls from falling through, but allow them to be pushed or pounded through the holes easily. When the balls go through the holes they roll along a ramp that leads them on something of a peek-a-boo journey to the bottom of the boat. The balls fall into a closed area and roll down to the right where they become visible. They swing around the corner and come in front of the house part of the tugboat and fall down the ramp into the bow of the ship where they disappear again. They reappear when they come out the hole in the front of the ship and come to rest in the tray there. This toy may seem quite simple to adults, but this concept is important for toddlers. This peek-a-boo action teaches object permanence, the concept that an object still exists even though the child can?t see it.
The balls are all identical in size so they will fit through any of the 4 holes in the top of the tugboat. With this feature, it is not required to match the correct color of the balls and rings. However, as a child begins to recognize colors, this is a wonderful way to help strengthen matching skills.
I mentioned earlier that the balls fit through the holes easily. So if you are not comfortable letting your toddler run around the house with a hammer, you can use this toy easily without it. Some parents choose to keep the hammer until the child is older and able to understand not to use it on other items in the house.
I have to hand it to Discovery Toys; they have created a functional, eye-catching toy that can withstand the constant battering of a toddler with a hammer! My Hammer Away is almost 18 months old and looks as good as the day I pulled it out of the box. The balls are a little scuffed up from being forced past the little tabs, but that is no big deal. Anyone with a toddler can imagine the kind of brutal abuse a pounding toy can take and for this boat to have held up under that kind of abuse, is impressive.
So what does Jake think of his ?Bing-Bing?
This toy has been a big hit in this house! (No pun intended!) We went ahead and gave Jake the hammer with the toy and he loves to use it. We just make sure our fingers and toes are safely tucked away when Jake starts wailing on the boat. Jake likes watching the balls disappear and reappear; he will sit and play with this toy for quite a while on his own. He is not quite to the color matching stage yet, but that just means the Hammer Away will be hold his interest in the months to come. Right now Jake is deep into the object permanence concept, so he hiding anything small enough to fit into the Hammer Away that he can find. I have fished blocks, cars, and various other toys in the boat. I love that he is using this toy to explore and is truly thinking when he sits in front of it. We have had a few instances of Jake trying to use the hammer elsewhere, but I simply remind him that the hammer is only for the boat and he takes it back with little argument. My only complaint with the Hammer Away would be that the balls are small enough to roll under furniture and get lost; we are currently missing the blue ball. Lost pieces are just a fact of life, so I won?t count that strike against this toy.
I highly recommend the Hammer Away for anyone with a toddler! The construction, durability and playability make it worth the $24.99. Unfortunately, you can only purchase this toy through a Discovery Toys consultant. To find a consultant in your area, check www.discoverytoysinc.com.