Cons: not adjustable for height, sounds other than "rattling" or microphone can activate it
The Bottom Line: A really fun, unique toy with a few quirks that aren't worth skipping it over.
I originally started eyeing this toy when it first came out because my son has a speech delay and mirrors can be great for helping. But at 2 years old I didn't think it would last very long so just hemmed and hawed over it. Fast forward a year though and his baby sister LOVES to dance. With her birthday coming up I immediately thought back to this toy. However with Christmas no longer close I no longer found these easily in stores. Finally finding it at Toys R Us I showed it to my daughter who immediately loved it. So it was bought and packed away for her birthday.
Yesterday was her birthday and just as before, she loved it. She hasn't even looked in the mirror much yet. But she has pressed buttons, danced, sang along (in her little language which is mostly squeals), played with the microphone, etc. It was a big hit from the time it was unwrapped. Since the 3 AA batteries were included it was immediately snatched by all the older kids to check out. I finally weasled it away to actually take it out of the box. Then the slightly older and much better walking counsin took it over. Finally when he tipped it over to use as a step stool I was able to angle it away to assemble it.
Obviously I had too much cake because assembly wasn't exactly straight forward. There are 4 legs, 6 screws (phillips) and a snap on microphone holder. It doesn't actually say which legs go where. But only 2 fit and only the right way so that was a pretty easy thing to figure out. However I didn't read that the instructions specified to screw in TWO screws. So I screwed in all 4 that fit. Then I put on the other legs which extend out from the first 2. That was when I realised the 2nd screw in each of the 1st two legs was meant to go through both legs. I removed those screws and then screwed those and the last 2 screws through the legs. Tada...done.
The toy stands the perfect height for sitting and is slightly angled upward for easy viewing. However when standing my daughter seems to be a tad too tall to see herself in the mirror. The mirror is a good size, despite being blocked some by the pop up faces. It has a drum you press and can activate sounds/music, a violin you can roll, a trombone you can slide and a 3 key piano keyboard which activates it. The 3 keys are joined so all really press as one. The drum, violin, trombone, and piano do add a subtle difference to the music though. The piano keys also slide up a smiling face along the bottom of the one side of the mirror, the drum does this on the other side. Along the top are 4 lights that dance along to the music. The microphone hangs on a hook along the side and is easy to put on and take off. It is a rattle basically. It says the microphone can activate the toy as well. However there are no electronic parts to the microphone, the toy is actually sound activated. Because it is sound activated I cannot just leave it on for my daughter to walk up to and play with at anytime. If I do this her squeals activate the toy if she is within about 5' of it. It does have a volume control, on the lower setting it isn't too bad to be activated a lot but I do not want to waste the batteries and I am sure it would get annoying regardless (or freaky if it is you walking by loudly that activates it).
We so far have only used it in sing along mode which basically plays a whole song but if you use a different instrument it adds a slight solo of that instrument to the song. There is also an instrumental mode which allows you to individually chose the instruments and also plays phrases. The songs are actually great to dance to and catchy tunes. Some are songs we remember from childhood like "If Your Happy and You Know it" vamped up. No matter what the song though you are able to sing along (I am a stay at home mom of 5 kids, I do crazy things) as it comes with thick sheets with the song lyrics on them. Plus if there is a favorite song or one you don't care for there is even a fast forward button on the top for adults to skip to the next song.
This toy is definitely a hit and I could see it being so until 2 or 3 as my son is 2½, also likes to dance and is enjoying it. Except my 4 yr old who make believes more, I don't see them paying much attention to the microphone though. Noone has really shaken it and it was already tossed away more than once and even found it's way to the kitchen. However a younger child may like it, my daughter loved rattles just a couple short months ago. Since it is for ages 6 months and up I can certainly see that being geared for the younger set or maybe the older kids to pretend to sing on. I also think it would be a great incentive to sit up, even giving them something to hold onto. It is pretty sturdy and seems like it will last. I also think it is stable enough for pulling up on. My daughter can stand up on her own and is starting to walk but she still pulls up on occasion and it has been fine. However, knowing my daughter, I do worry she may try to climb it because it is low enough they could get their feet up on the instruments.
The only thing I don't like is that things other than the microphone activate it so I can't leave it turned on. Though I do also wish she could see herself better while standing to dance. I know this would effect them being able to sit and see themselves though so maybe if it were adjustable like our Classical Chorus Singing Stars Gym is.
Amount Paid (US$): 45 Type of Toy: Baby Toy Age Range of Child: 12 to 36 Months
This jam-packed stage encourages musical discovery and self-expression. With four dancing spotlights, five songs, a large view mirror, and two play modes, baby is sure to have a rockin¿ good time. Baby can shake the magic microphone for sing-along fun; and as he grows, tap the four musical instruments to build a song. Audience friends pop up and give baby a standing ovation as he plays! A musical toy for baby to play and interact with. Four instruments included on the toy are a drum, mini zylo, trombone & guitar. 5 lights and microphone. With two modes of play, there's lots of sing-along and song building fun!, Recommended age group: 6 months - 3 years, Manufacturer: Fisher Price