By Katie Edwards
Katie writes about easy kids’ party ideas at Best Birthdays. She’s a librarian and researcher, and obviously a mom. She works for a non-profit in Calgary.
I have two kids under 5 years old, which means if we enter a toy store, we are there for at least an hour. My kids try EVERYTHING. This has basically made me a toy expert. I’m normally wary of electronic toys, as I think they can limit the imaginative play value of a toy. BUT the Fisher-Price Smart Stages Mower has made me re-think this. The first test of this toy was how quickly I could take it out and assemble it. This process has to be FAST because I have a two-year-old and a four-year-old jumping up and down beside me while I tear apart the packaging, going, “Can we try? Can we try? CAN WE TRY??” Luckily, assembly was easy – you just need a small screwdriver to attach the handle to the base of the mower. I didn’t need the instructions – it was very straightforward. Batteries (2AA) are included, THANK YOU FISHER-PRICE. Nothing is sadder than a new toy that won’t function until I go to the store and buy batteries.
Once the mower was assembled, both kids pushed all of the buttons. There’s a gas cap on top that clicks as it turns, and thanks you for the gas. There’s also a pull-lever that looks like one of those things you pull to start old lawn mowers. I don’t know what that’s called – I just plug mine in and wait for my husband to mow the lawn.
Both kids also loved pushing the mower around the house. This held their attention the longest. My four-year-old lost interest, but the toy is meant for kids from 12 – 36 months, so I expected it. My two-year-old loves pushing it around the house. Pushing things around the house is one of his favourite pastimes right now, so this seems developmentally appropriate.
MY favourite part of this toy is that there are four different modes! Some electronic toys have one mode, and that mode is the same song over and over, and that makes me crazy. The mower has: Explore (hear simple words), Encourage (numbers, opposites, etc), and Pretend (push the mower to hear sound effects and music). And of course, the glorious silent OFF mode.
I love that Fisher-Price has included the four different modes, because it means the kids can play with the mower in many ways. It can be educational, it can be used for pretend play, and it can be quiet (which is also good for pretend play). In addition, like all Fisher-Price toys, this one is built to last. These things are SOLID and last forever. I still have some F-P toys from the 80s that MY kids are playing with now!
For $34.99, I would totally buy this toy. I’d say it’s ideal for kids who are about 18 months old and fairly steady on their feet.
What Fisher-Price toy was your favourite as a kid?
**Prices were accurate at the time of posting.