Little babies and growing toddlers love to explore with their hands. Putting items in and out of containers seems to engage these developing minds over and over again. The Leap Frog Peek-A-Shoe is a great educational baby toy for kids ages 9-36 months as it promotes fine motor skills, as well as provides a beginning exposure to color and number concepts.
What's Included In The Package and What's Not
- Purple Octopus
- 5 Colored Shoe Attachments (1 Red, 1 Yellow, 1 Green, 1 Orange, 1 Blue)
- 5 Colored Balls (1 Red, 1 Yellow, 1 Green, 1 Orange, 1 Blue)
- Requires 3 "AA" Batteries that are not included
Set-Up and Features
- Right out of the packaging, the only set-up that is required is to attach the colored shoes in their corresponding locations, from 1-5, or in order from left to right that includes red, yellow, green, orange and blue
- There are three buttons on the front of the octopus
- 1 button identifies which concept the octopus will teach, numbers or colors
- There is an adjustable volume control with three settings including the off position
- A round blue button in the center of the octopus plays 3 songs
- Once kids place a ball in the octopus's white hat or in the opening of his arm on the top right (if you are looking directly at the toy), the ball will roll down the ramp and hide itself under one of the colored shoes
- The child uses trial and error to guess which shoe the colored ball is hiding under
- The sound, whether in color or number mode, will provide auditory feedback to the child such as, "Find the ball." After the child finds the toy it will say, "You found it under the orange shoe" or "You found it under the #2 shoe!"
My Personal Opinion
For babies around the age of 9 months who are learning to place items in and out of a container while they develop their fine motor skills this is a great toy for the earlier end of the recommended age group. Young babies really enjoy the repetitive play as they can put the balls in and find it under one of the shoes over and over again. For young babies I would select the colors mode if you would like to hear the sound. Otherwise, it is even possible to use the toy with the sound off altogether. You may need to help babies find the ball initially. 5 choices of shoes to look under might be overwhelming, causing a young child to give up looking easily.
My son utilized this toy for the first time at 24 months of age. He enjoyed placing the balls into the octopus and finding the balls underneath the shoes for several minutes the first few times he played. I chose the color mode for him to play with since he is beginning to demonstrate some interest in color words. Just a note, the colored balls do not sort, so the blue ball might emerge from the green shoe. The toy will provide the sound feedback, "You found it under the green shoe!" I find this process to be a little confusing to him since he was holding a different colored ball. I think I would prefer that the balls self-sort, to me it would show more thinking abilities if a child put the ball in then planned ahead where it would emerge. My son also quickly figured out that the shoe the ball is hidden under sometimes makes a brief shake when the ball drops into it.
In general the numbers feature is a nice option for a variety, but unnecessary for this young age group. There is some rote counting through songs that the children can hear. It also provides concrete feedback, "you found it under the #3 shoe." However, this is not a feature appropriate for young babies, and as children get to be older toddlers, this toy is very simple, and it may not hold a toddler's attention span long enough for them to really focus on learning the number concepts.
My favorite feature of this toy is the fact that when you enter all of the balls into the octopus then pick it up, all of the balls stay housed under the shoes for transport without falling out.
This toy may not provide the longevity you might be looking for with regard to the color and number concepts with older toddlers in the suggested age range 24 months and up. However, it is definitely a great educational baby toy kids between the ages of 1 and 2 will really enjoy and benefit from.
Here's a link to other LeapFrog educational toys.