Pros: Cute, good quality, my daughter loves it
Cons: Loud, finding game too easy to turn on when you don't want it
My husband and I saw Elmo's Find and Learn Alphabet toy in every store this Christmas time. We showed it to my daughter each time and she smiled, but we didn't buy it for our almost 1 year old daughter. Instead, I saved it as a suggestion someone else could buy her. My sister ended up taking the suggestion and buying it for my daughter's Christmas present this year.
Elmo is a hard plastic toy with open hands that are ready and waiting to accept a block. The 7 blocks that come with the toy have a letter with picture printed on each side. When a block is placed in Elmo's hands, he looks down at the block, then looks up and says what the letter is. There are 2 phrases he says for each letter to describe the letter, how it sounds, and the picture that goes with the letter. In addition there are 2 song blocks that prompt Elmo to sing the ABC song or the Friendship song. These are, of course, my baby's favorites!
At 1 year old, my daughter cannot usually put the blocks in Elmo's hands the exact perfect way to get him to react to it. This is really a toy meant for older children but in our family we believe that learning starts early! She can get it in right sometimes, but not usually. So this is a "play with me" toy right now. She loves handing me a block, or trying to hand Elmo a block, and then hearing what he has to say. Put in the song blocks and she's shaking her booty like crazy. I feel like she is already learning a lot from this toy as she will point at the letters that Elmo is holding and pays attention to what he is saying.
The toy is a bit loud, and it's one of those toys that still talks AFTER you stop playing with it so you will often hear me saying "Elmo shush!!" We have begun putting a little bit of clear packaging tape over the speaker of toys like these as a form of volume control. A few pieces of tape smooth on great and you don't even notice them, but they help with the sound tremendously. She can still hear it loud and clear but we don't have to hear it on the other side of the house!
The toy has an additional finding game that is started by pressing the button on the front of the toy. Well, my baby is button happy, so she presses the button and turns on the finding game but can't actually play because she doesn't know the letters yet. I read this in reviews so I was prepared for this. Luckily, if she finds the wrong letter a few times, the game automatically turns off and goes back to just learning mode. So really it's not so bad. At first I thought Elmo would never stop saying "Find the letter G", but after a few tries and giving him the incorrect block, he moved on and stopped asking for letters. When she is older, this feature will be great for learning.
Overall Elmo is a real cute toy for children that recognize him from sesame street. He's a little loud, but that can be fixed as described. It only has 7 blocks so it is not a ton of pieces since letters are printed on all 4 sides. Get your child on the road to reading today!