Pros: neat idea, works ok when you can get it to work
Cons: is not easy to use
The Bottom Line: seems like a really neat idea but it just doesn't work easily
When I first saw this toy in the store it looked really neat. At only around $15 I considered it but decided to wait until Easter. Of course when Easter came I couldn't find it anywhere. Now Easter is gone and I saw this at Target and decided to snatch it up before it was gone again.
The toy was not what I expected. I expected it to be like a spinning top you have to give a spin yourself. So I was pleasantly surprised that it actually has a launcher so you can get much more speed to the toy. It was even better that it came with 2 spinners (but only 1 launcher) so another child could use it while one was spinning, you could get 2 spinning at once, not constantly have to change colors, etc. It also comes with a chalk sharpener because the better the point the faster and longer the chalk will spin.
Once I learned of the launcher I was worried my 3 and 5 year olds would no longer be able to do it themselves. My worry was misplaced in some ways. I was surprised that, once shown, they both could put the spinner onto the launcher and twist to set it. However I didn't expect that launching it would be the problem. Neither child can very easily press the button to launch it. Th etoy recommends you twist it around 2 full turns or about 20 clicks before launching. When I did this myself and exactly followed the instructions of launching it only a couple inches from the ground, we got great results. However the more you twist it the harder it becomes to twist and the more it is twisted the harder the button is to press in order to launch the spinner. If you twist it less than the recommended amount you get mediocre, at best, results. So basically, if my kids wanted it to work they had to twist it the needed amount but then get help to press the button, which takes away some of the fun for them. This also created more work for me as chalk is the toy I tend to use for the kids to play independantly when I am out front cleaning out the car, garage or yard work. We also ran into another problem in that if you overtwist the toy, in other words more than the 20 clicks, it gets harder and harder to push the button to the point it is not possible. There have been times I have had to wrestle with it to push the button with 2 hands, other times I have had to bang it on the ground to get it to release, and at the worst times I have had to try all that and prying the toy apart.
The toy itself is sturdy and has withstood those banging moments. The spinner easily sits on the launcher and after a few clicks is even held in place while you do the rest of the twisting. The chalk is easy to load as you just push it into place, however, my kids have had more trouble getting it out and on occasion broken the chalk off in the spinner. Luckily there is a hole at the back of the spinner so you can stick a pencil or such in there to get the broken piece out. The chalk sharpener works great and will probably end up being the only piece they use long term. They love having sharp chalk and they love the dust it makes when you sharpen it. They use the dust to play in as well as mixing with water to make their own chalk paint (something they previously crushed and mutilated chalk to do if we didn't have any chalk paint).
In the end, I really dislike this toy and wish you could buy just the sharpener or buy it in one of their other sets. The toy itself the kids will either get frustrated with and forget, only my older kids (10 and 13) will play with or I will get frustrated and throw it away. I really do not recommend this. It is quite dissappointing as we own several of their other chalks tools and the kids love them.
Amount Paid (US$): 15 Type of Toy: Arts and Crafts Age Range of Child: 6 to 8 Years
An outdoor tool that lets kids launch and create big, multi-colored spiral designs No batteries needed Washable spray away chalk with water Create large outdoor art The only chalk tool that allows children to create unique and different designs each time, Recommended age group: 4 - NaN years, Manufacturer: Crayola