Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Review: Lamaze Catch and Glow Bug Jar

At 19 months, it can be a little difficult to choose age appropriate toys for Nate. The 1-year old toys are becoming boring for him and the 2-year old toys can sometimes be too advanced. The age ranges on the boxes aren't always entirely accurate. So, it's nice when I can find a company that individually tests their products to choose only the best developmental toys for babies and toddlers according to age.

Ebeanstalk is a website dedicated to selecting great baby toys and toddler toys. They rely on the opinions and feedback of bloggers and moms around the country to continue selecting great toys to sell. Their team of child experts also helps them pick out learning toys to make sure your child gets the most out of his or her playtime!

Last month, Ebeanstalk sent me the Catch and Glow Bug Jar from Lamaze to review. This fun bug catcher brings the excitement of the outdoors inside. Let baby catch the "fireflies" and place them inside the colorful plastic case. When baby shakes the jar, the bugs will jump and light up! The jar also features a strap for easy carrying and a real magnifying glass cover so baby gets a close-up view of all the action inside.

When I first caught a glimpse of the toy, I thought it was the perfect "boy" toy. While it could be gender-neutral, boys and bugs just tend to go hand-in-hand. The colorful design not only catches bugs but catches your eye. Nate could barely wait for me to get it out of the package to play.

The concept is fairly simple. Just place the "fireflies" in the jar, shake it up and watch them light up. After you stir them up, you can look through the lid for a kaleidoscope light show.

Nate had a great time taking out all the fireflies and then putting them back in the jar. For some reason, he preferred that Mommy do the violent shaking. He was fascinated by the lightening bugs, but wondered why they didn't always remain lit. It was quite amusing to watch him try to figure it out.

I liked that the plastic jug was quite sturdy and could withstand tossing or somewhat rough play. I do have a boy, after all, and fragile toys just don't last long around here. The carrying strap made it easy for him to transport from room to room. It also inspires the imagination, as you can plainly see:

One minor issue I have with this toy is that all of the bugs don't always light up when you shake them. It seems like you have to align the bugs in the jar "just right" to activate them. But Nate doesn't really seem to notice or mind so it doesn't really affect playtime. The second issue I have is that the toy is LOUD when shaken. Now Nate prefers to sit and sort the bugs, which is relatively quiet play. But if used for its intended purpose, to shake and shake and shake, I could see where this toy could become disturbing. Quickly. It would be great if the bugs or interior of the jar were lined with a softer material so they could absorb some of the noise. And while I love that batteries are included, they are irreplaceable, which limits the life of the toy. I would like to have the ability to replace the batteries when they run out.

Bottom line: While it is certainly a cute toy, it may not be the best choice for those who prefer volume control. I think it would be best suited for babies 6-18 months. Nate likes it and will sit and play with it but for just a few minutes before he loses interest and goes onto something else.

BUY IT: The Lamaze Catch and Glow Bug Jar (ARV $24.99) will soon be available at www.ebeanstalk.com but is also available at select retailers nationwide.

Disclaimer: As noted above, I received this toy from Megan at Ebeanstalk to facilitate my candid review. I was in no other way compensated for this post. The thoughts and opinions expressed in my review are mine alone and your experience may differ.


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