Pros: Durable and Fun
The Little Tikes Octopus Merry Go Round is one of the outdoor play toys that I have owned for a long time and wouldn't hesitate to purchase again. Recommended for for the preschool crowd, this toy spent years within the toddler/preschool section of my play-yard. I originally purchased it for my licensed in-home daycare (and for my daughters to use); it now is located in the toddler/preschool play-yard at the Child Care Center I work at. It is very durable and children really enjoy it!
Our Little Tikes Octopus Merry Go Round is light-blue, with a white circular handle on top. This toy is constructed from durable plastic. It is circular, like other merry-go-rounds, and has three sections that are intended for kids to ride on. The sections are divided by curved plastic pieces that have indentions that assist toward providing the illusion of curled legs. Similar indentions on the surface, add to the detail. Speaking of detail, there is an indented smile and two 'decal' eyes.
Although recommend for ages 3 and up, this ride-on toy has been enjoyed by infants and young toddlers too (with close supervision of course). Children enjoy sitting on the surface, while a playmate or adult turns it. The extended 'legs' serve as a nice handle for the child turning the unit. Also kids can just hang onto the edge of unit and walk along to provide a gentle turn. The seating surface of this toy is low to the ground, slightly more than a one-foot. The white circular handle is at a nice height for little ones to grasp, and hold on tight as their playmates give it a spin. Additionally a child can ride solo by sitting on the edge and using his/her feet to gently turn the unit.
The typical manner in-which little tykes ride this merry-go-round is by sitting in one of the sections. However smaller kids fit in-between the center portion and the upward extended 'legs' of the octopus; thus allowing them to straddle the middle portion of the toy. Although this toy is intended for three passengers, if the children are small, more can fit (again with close supervision).
In the years of use that the Little Tikes Octopus Merry Go Round has endured, I have not witnessed any injuries (unless you count the occasional wheezy stomach created by over-zealous spin cycles). Quite simply, it sits low to the ground so even when a child falls off, he/she is okay (of course it was positioned on grass and now play-chips).
The durability factor is impressive. It has been left out year round, and here in Western Washington we get our share of rain-filled days. Even in the occasional snowfall, it has held up great. I will mention that the blue portion has faded slightly and the decal eyes are slightly tattered, but overall this structure has persevered.
Considering the popularity of this unit, we later purchased the newer version (teal colored) for a close friend. Unfortunately Little Tikes discontinued the Octopus Merry Go Round, but you might be able to locate one on eBay or at a second-had source. I originally purchased the Octopus at ToysRus for approximately $49.99.
This toy is easy to clean, simply use soap and water, or you can do what my spouse does; a yearly pressure washing clean-up.
The manufacturer suggests that the passengers not exceed a combined weight in excess of 150lbs. Although I haven't done a weigh-in of the passengers I can tell you that the loud-occupancies have varied greatly, and that my 10 year old and a friend still try to sneak a ride on the toy.
I suppose a con with regard to this toy is that if you place it on grass and leave it (obvious I know) the grass will die. Although the unit is awkward to move, it does weigh less than 100lbs, so it was easy for me to turn on its side and roll to the new destination. Eventually we decided to just leave it in one place, I think shortly after a neighbor made some silly crop circle comment.
It is my view that the target audience for this toy is 29 months thru 5 years of age. Kids benefit from taking turns, working together, and physical fitness. I adore the giggles that emit as young ones play on this toy! I haven't met a child yet that didn't like it; however one girl I cared for preferred to only ride this toy solo. It is nice to see the children work through the sharing aspect of who will ride versus who will push versus who will wait for his/her turn. As is indicative, I am very pleased with the Octopus and highly recommend it!
Thank you for reading and Happy Playing!