Tap 'n Turn Bench

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Battle of the Pint-Sized Peg Pounders

Sep 11, 2000 (Updated Sep 21, 2000)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Fisher Price: colorful, durable, variety of shapes. Playskool: classic wooden bench and hammer

Cons:Fisher Price: neglected by the kids. Playskool: dents easily, pegs come lose and get lost, not as attractive as the Fisher Price

When my son was just a few months old, we received two very similar toys. A friend gave us the Fisher Price Tap 'n Turn Bench and my brother-in-law gave us the Playskool Cobbler's Bench. I suggested that we give one away because, even though my husband is a carpenter, I didn't think our son needed more than one hammer and pounding toy to be "just like Dad." We just never got around to getting rid of one of these toys and so now, almost five years later, they are both still in our toy box.

Both of these toys are horizontal benches with colorful pegs that can be pounded in and out from either side of the bench. Pretty simple concept and one that is probably familiar to most of us from our childhood. From the beginning, I formed an opinion about which of these toys was "better." To be as fair as possible, I'll compare these two peg pounders on several different criteria:

The Battle Begins....

Number of colored pegs: Fisher Price = 5; Playskool = 6. Winner: Playskool

Variety of shapes: Fisher Price = 4 (circle, cross, triangle, 2 squares); Playskool = 1 (all circular pegs). Winner: Fisher Price

Colorful/attractiveness: Fisher Price = brightly colored yellow bench and bright red plastic hammer. Playskool = plain wood bench with blue outline of shoe, faded red on both ends, hammer is plain wood (uncolored). Winner: Fisher Price

Durability: They both pass the durability test since they both are in one piece after almost five years of use. However, the Fisher Price plastic bench looks almost the same as it did the day we got it. The colors are bright and the pegs are all in place because they don't come all the way out of the bench (the larger shaped heads are on both sides of the pegs). On the other hand, the Playskool wooden bench is covered with "elephant prints" (those bumps and ridges caused by excessive hammering on everything but the pegs). The pegs aren't as tight a fit as they used to be and can be (and are) pounded or pulled all the way out fairly easily. The removability of the pegs leads to constant searches under the couch and in the bottom of the toy box for a missing peg or two. In fact, as I write this, the purple peg is temporarily AWOL. Winner: Fisher Price

Cost: Both are pretty cheap. Fisher Price = $7.99; Playskool = $8.99. Winner: Fisher Price

And the Victor is....

....the Playskool Cobbler's Bench. Uh....what? No, that can't be right. The Fisher Price Tap 'n Turn Bench is obviously the better toy - the data don't lie.

That certainly was my opinion up until recently.

I've always been attracted to colorful toys. My husband has always been attracted to wooden toys. Looks like our kids inherited more from their Dad than his good looks and winning smile. At the center of almost all the sibling squabbles in the house over the past week is the poor, battered Playskool Cobbler's Bench. Something about this toy draws the adoring attention of our 14 month old, 34 month old, and 56 month old kids (that's a little more than 1, almost 3 and almost 5 years old to the mathematically-challenged out there).

I just don't get it.

Maybe it's the ability to remove (and lose) these pegs that's so attractive. No, I don't think that is it. Maybe it's the resonance of a hammer on wood versus plastic that makes a difference. Probably.

All I can say is that the kids all LOVE this toy to the point that each one has had their fingers pounded while trying to rip it out of the hands of one of their siblings. In the meantime, the pretty, chunky little Fisher Price Tap 'n Turn Bench sits in the toy box and collects dust. Just to be fair, my kids have enjoyed playing with the Tap 'n Turn Bench in the past and they probably will again in the future. However, next to its old-fashioned looking competitor (the Playskool Cobbler's Bench), it just doesn't capture their attention.

Do I recommend the Fisher Price Tap 'n Turn Bench? Sure, absolutely....as long as you don't also have a Playskool Cobbler's Bench too. Do I recommend the Playskool Cobbler's Bench? Of course! In fact, I would write a glowing review of this toy if Epinions bothered to include it as a reviewable product. Now that adding a new product requires something akin to an act of Congress, I thought the next best thing I could do was to piggyback my review and recommendation here. Sneaky? Maybe....but it worked!

What ever you do, buy one of these "peg pounders" for your future builders - just keep your fingers out of the way!



Recommend this product? Yes

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