We recently received the Fisher Price Smart Stages car for review.
The Smart Stages range is comprised of the Smart Stages Chair, the Puppy’s Smart Train and the Smart Stages Car.
The blurb tells us that the Smart Stages products are a ” brand new and innovative way for toddlers to discover the world, with the toy adjusting its content to the baby’s level of development.” How this works is that there’s a button where you can adjust to Stage 1/2/3 depending on your child’s age from 6 months to 3 years (and in our case, whether they’ve discovered how to adjust the button themselves). There are three toys in the Smart Stages range, Smart Stages Chair, Puppy’s Smart Train and the one we got, the Smart Stages Car.
As you’d expect, it’s a car, it’s big and red (nicely gender neutral), and has lots interactive bits and pieces. There’s a key in the ignition, a steering wheel with the essential horn, a gear stick, and a radio which plays lots of songs. The door opens and closes , there’s toys dotted throughout it, the door features a shape sorter and the other side has a ball drop. The design is chunky, bright and colourful, really cheery and appealing to the small ones.
How’d it go?
It’s a car, but it doesn’t move. This caused confusion and the first hour of playing with involved trying to stop Cathal pushing Laoise around in it and her getting annoyed that it wasn’t going “broom broom” i.e. moving. She’s a determined lady and we’ve scratches on the wooden floor to prove it. We left it alone and moved it to the sitting room later and she then seemed to accept that it didn’t need to move. Then she got down to the exploring, singing along and beeping the horn vigorously. She spent time in it every day and really liked playing with the ball run in the side panel.
She did try to climb it a bit, and stood on the back. She was obsessed with changing the switches, so even though we tried it was impossible to have her try out the different stages. Every time she saw us touch the buttons she wanted to play too, but I’ve decided to take that as a great indictment of her fine motor skills. Her four-year-old brother took a few turns at driving too, but she was quick to remind him who owned it.
The nursery rhymes are pleasant and not too loud, they use common tunes but change the words slightly eg “Puppy’s coming ’round the mountain”. This is fine with younger kids but I do find as they get older and go to playschool they start questioning why the words are different (as the boys kept pointing out to Laoise who was babble-singing along happily, bobbing her head from side to side in time).
What we loved
- The door that opens and closes. In one of the stages it tells you “you opened the door”. Laoise found this hilarious and kept opening and closing the door.
- The shiny red colour, it’s bright and shiny and unisex, happy days.
- The ball drop, it’s amazing how dropping a ball and letting it run down a ramp can amuse a toddler for ages.
- It’s sturdy
- The indicators make a really nice noise
- Volume control settings
What we didn’t
- The car doesn’t move, which cause some initial confusion
- The child sits on the floor when playing with the car, so you’ll need to keep this in room with a warm floor
- The assembly, why can’t toys come put together?
- There’s only a door on one side, Laoise kept forgetting which one and got cross when the side she tried to open wouldn’t, because it wasn’t the door.
Would we recommend?
Yes, I’d recommend this toy. I think it would make a great first Christmas toy so that the child gets the use out it for all of the stages. I can definitely imagine a child at sitting/crawling stage loving exploring this toy and pulling themselves up to standing at it. It’s pretty big so you’ll need space for it, and it’s a big investment at around €80 depending on where you buy, (shop around, I found big differences when checking).
Disclosure: I was sent the toy to review by Fisher Price, but I did not receive any payment for writing this review. As always this review reflects my honest opinion.