Pros: It is a ball, colorful, plays music, lights up
Cons: It is made of very hard plastic
This year, my sister finally made an excellent choice in gifts for my kids. For my then 8 month old daughter, Eleanor, she purchased the VTech Bright Lights Baby Ball. As soon as the paper was removed, Eleanor let out a squeal of delight. Usually quiet, all attention turned to see what her gift was.
Nathan, 2 years old, began jumping up and down, exclaiming, "BALL! BALL!!". Six year old Mikie picked up the ball to examine its' features. Mikie quickly found the on/off switch. After turning it in, she placed it on the floor in front of Eleanor.
Instinctively, Eleanor reached for the ball. When she touched it, it rolled slightly, causing it to play music, and light up. The 3 kids sat on the floor for a very long time that day and many since then playing with this ball.
After 1 1/2 months, it has lost some of its' appeal for Nathan and Mikie, but I think Eleanor is enjoying it even more! Each day, she is able to figure out a little more on how to make it do what SHE wants it to do instead of at random.
Now, this ball is made of hard white plastic, with 5 colorful inserts. The hard plastic is both a pro and a con. Being hard and durable, it will last for a long time. Being hard also means that if it is thrown, it could possibly hurt if it hit anyone. This hasn't happened, but with a 2 year old around it has the potential :-)
The features of this toy are plentiful!! Each button is a different color and shape, as well as has a different character on it. Each button has 2 - 3 things it will do depending on the mode of operation. In the musical mode, they all play very common, familiar songs. While the music plays, six little red stars light up in time with the tune.
In the educational mode, 4 of the buttons feature characters on them. The purple diamond has a bunny, the yellow star has a teddy bear, the green oval has a kitten, and the purple rectangle has a puppy. When each of these buttons is pressed, a pleasant sounding female voice tells the child what animal it is. The animal's sound then follows, except with the teddy bear, you hear the sound of a child giggling.
The other two buttons on the ball are a yellow triangle "Daddy", and a red heart "Mommy". These buttons feature saying popular on VTech infant toys. "Daddy" says, "Bye, bye!", and "Mommy" says, "Hello, Baby!".
A feature of some of the buttons in the musical mode, still intrigue my 2 year old! The animal buttons, when pressed twice, not only play the tune, but the animal featured "sings" along! The puppy barks "Twinkle, twinkle little star" in time with the music!!
The ball produces sound with very little touch or movement, and proves rewarding to Eleanor. A feature I just noticed while the ball is sitting in front of me on my desk, is that after you have played with it, and left it for a minute or so, it "meows" at you!! I guess this is to remind the baby that it is still there, and for the mom or older child to turn it off.
Yes, it has a wonderful ON/OFF switch!! I find this great to preserve the battery. It can't be turned on accidentally if it gets bumped! The ball also features a common VTech feature - a "volume control". This switch allows you to choose if you want the volume set at loud or louder. My kids prefer the louder :-)
I find that this ball is a favorite among all 3 of my kids. Mikie and Nathan want to play with Eleanor, and this toy enables them to do this! Each of my older children play with Eleanor on a very different level using this toy. At 2, Nathan both enjoy the noise and lights. At 6, Mikie "teaches" Eleanor the shapes, colors, and animals, using this toy. All of us like to sing with the music.
This toy is definitely a winner hands down!! With lights and noise and music, it will almost certainly keep any child entertained!