My son just celebrated his 1st birthday and since he likes to pound on things I thought this would be fun and educational for him. We never owned the older version but this new version has a new hourglass shape that seems easier to hold. Both my 1 yr old and 2½ yr old are able to easily carry it around. My son can wrap his arm around the narrower center to carry it with one hand while still pounding with the other. Plus it is a big hit (no pun intended), the kids love having an excuse to pound.
Recommend this product?
The drum features 3 switches. The first has a high or low volume setting, the low being just barely loud enough to hear well and the loud being not obnoxious. The toy is bilingual so the 2nd switch allows you to chose between spanish or english. The last switch is the on/off switch you can chose between off, ABCs, drum or songs. It also has an auto off to save battery life. It comes complete with the 3AA batteries needed. The top has led lights that show the letters, shapes, a face, stick person, etc to go along with the sounds and letters. The drum reacts to you pounding on it. When in ABC mode this reaction is it reciting the alphabet and displaying the matching letter in LED on the top of the drum. The drum setting sings a catchy tune encouraging you to play the drum with different pictures on the LED, including a dancing stick person, a drum, and a face. When you hit the drum in this mode it makes a drum sound and a ripple effect is displayed. When in song/music mode it plays music and shapes are displayed, each shape is a different sound so if you hit the drum when a triangle is on the screen you get a different sound than when you hit it while a square is displayed. However in both of these later modes the accompanying music is, in my opinion, too loud in comparison to the drum. It overshadows the drum so much it is hard to notice there is drum sounds in reaction to you hitting the drum in addition to the music.
The drum is sturdy, a good size for little hands and though it isn't too touchy it also doesn't require too hard of a pound for little hands. My son is able to easily hit it hard enough to activate. While just jostling or bouncing it does not activate the drum.
The kids have enjoyed playing with it. And I mean all 4 kids. My 7 year old really loves an excuse to pound. The baby has thrown it across the kitchen more than once and it has held up to that torture without a mark. They each like something different. The older toddler loves the letters while the baby will play with it even if it's off. The big kids like the music setting and think the dancing stick man is hilarious. Whether or not it will actually teach them letters is up for debate. The older toddler has a fascination with letters so might actually be noticing them. But really I think it is definitely more of an introduction thing because I can't imagine they pay all that much attention to them otherwise since you would have to pound then move your hand out of the way to see them not just repeatedly pound. However if they do repeatedly pound they are hearing them in order so may pick up recitation of them. Personally I bought it because I my son likes to pound and I couldn't believe I had never gotten the other kids a toy drum.
All in all it is a fun, maybe educational and sturdy toy that is easy on the pocketbook.
Read more product reviews on LeapFrog Learn and Groove Alphabet Drum
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Amount Paid (US$): 15
Type of Toy: Educational
Age Range of Child: 12 to 36 Months