Pros: it's cute
Cons: I'm so tired of the song I could scream.
Oh, wonderful gifts for baby. Try as I might, I asked for no new toys. My children have TONS of toys that already don't get played with and I don't need any more added to my overstuffed house.
However, some folks were bound and determined to add to my clutter, and somehow Bug got several new toys, one of which was Playskool "Wheels" the Bus.
~&~ The Basics ~&~
Haven't heard the children's song The Wheels on the Bus? Lucky you. However, within five minutes you will not be able to get this song out of your head whether you've heard it before or not, because you'll be hearing it all the time.
The Playskool "Wheels" the Bus toy is an electronic toy, vehicle, and shape toy all in one. Along with the bus you get four characters: the bus driver, a little boy, a little girl, and a dog. Each of these figures has a different shaped base that fits into a shaped slot in the bus.
The bus driver (a woman!) has a red ponytail, green and blue uniform with hat, and a circle base. Pop her into the bus and a little girl's voice sings "The driver on the bus says 'Move on back'" verse. Next is the little girl, who has blonde pigtails, a blue and lavender outfit, glasses, and a square base that fits into a blue square slot. Put her into the bus and you hear "The girl on the bus goes 'Giggle, giggle, giggle.'" Third in line is a little boy who appears to be either African-American or Hispanic. He's wearing a yellow, red, and orange outfit with a red baseball cap and backpack, and has a triangular base that fits into an orange slot. Put him into the bus and you'll hear "The boy on the bus says 'Let's go play'" and a frog croaking. Finally, we have the dog (and as my daughter asks, since when are dogs allowed on the bus?). The dog is brown with a yellow collar, red heart-shaped tag, and heart-shaped base that fits into a red heart slot. Place him into the bus and you'll hear "The dog on the bus goes insert dog barking."
Want more verses? You've got them! On top of the bus are two red lights. Press the one above the door and the door will pop open with a "whoop" noise and the verse, of course, is "The door on the bus goes open and shut" with lights blinking. Press the light on the other side, and the purple windshield wiper moves back and forth once with a strange noise and "The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish" is heard. Are we done? Of course not! A blue horn-shaped button on the hood can be pressed to hear beeping and "The horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep." Finally, take the Playskool "Wheels" the Bus by the convenient handle (created by large window cut-outs, the roof is a handle to push the bus while crawling) and push him along to hear the main verse: "The wheels on the bus go round and round" or "The kids on the bus go up and down" complete with electronic motor noise.
The Playskool "Wheels" the Bus runs on three "AA" batteries that install on the bottom side of the bus via your typical Phillips-head screwdriver.
~&~ Parent Perspective ~&~
I'm not a fan of electronica for kids to begin with, and a bus with pieces that does it just might push me over the edge. There is no volume control, but the speaker is on the bottom, so as long as you have this on carpeting, the volume isn't too awful. There is an off switch, however, and also a demo setting.
It's cuteness factor can't be denied, as the little girl voice is adorable, sounding almost like Tickety Tock from Blue's Clues. As you push the bus along, the two children and the dog actually do go up and down. Also, the toy is easily carried by the handle or pushed along as baby is crawling.
~&~ Kid Value ~&~
Judging by the number of times a day I'm hearing that darned song, this toy is a huge hit. The baby likes pushing it along while the two-year-old likes matching the shapes. The four-year-old? Well, she loves to annoy me, so she makes it go through every verse and then starts again at the beginning of her repertoire.
The kids have already dropped it, kicked it, and fought over it, and no damage has occurred whatsoever, so I'm pretty sure that this toy will stand the test of time. Whether or not they'll still love hearing "The Wheels on the Bus" a year from now remains to be seen, but so far, this toy is a big hit.