Push Button Fun for Little Ones
- What: Playskool Pop Up Toy
- When: 6 to 18 months
- Why: Durable, interactive, affordable
- Where: Amazon
While I usually prefer wooden toys to plastic ones, I’ve made an exception for this pop up toy. I would still vote for this wooden version first, but the classic Playskool edition has stood the test of time as well. I remember it from nurseries in my own younger days.
The toy has five different doors that pop up to reveal a different zoo animal: panda, giraffe, elephant, lion, or monkey. Each door features a different bright color with a number from 1 to 5. Kids have to figure out how to activate the lever located below each door to get it to open.
Once open, the doors can be closed by pushing them back down. I don’t know how many hours I spent with my kids opening the doors and letting them close them, or doing the reverse. We often made a game of it, trying to see who could open or close the doors fastest. My kids loved it, and I have yet to meet a kid who doesn’t enjoy this cause and effect reaction.
One release features a simple button good for the youngest kids with some gross motor skills and hand eye coordination. Another lever moves up and down to open the door, while a third slides back and forth. A fourth lever pushes in either direction, much like a flat light switch, to release the door. That one takes longer to grasp the concept, but not as long as the fifth release. The final one requires twisting like a key in a lock, and takes most kids much longer to master. That variation in release mechanisms means this toy can intrigue them for quite a few months until they figure it all out. Even once they can operate all of the levers themselves, it doesn’t help them defeat household items like safety locks on cabinets or doors.
What’s more, our toy has lasted through three kids and it looks brand new. It can be dropped, stepped on, and turned upside down and doesn’t crack or break. The thick plastic pieces make it easy for little hands to manipulate and nearly impossible to damage.