Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Toy Review: Djeco Tac Boum Pom (or the Wooden Apple Tree!)

Djeco's Tac Boum Pom is a wooden ball track disguised as an apple tree. 

The small bird is spring-mounted and the bird bends back to let the ball through to make its way down the tree and over the leaves to bounce off the small flower at the base and make it's way to the front again. We bought this for E's first birthday and it was one of his most beloved toys. The bird on our tree does not bend back with just the force of the ball and requires the child to push it through the hole. This seems to add something to the toy though and makes it a bit more interactive. 

Which brings me to the big downside of this toy – it really only does one thing. The lack of versatility means it is only going to hold a child's interest for a brief period of time in their development. At 25 months my son only gets it off the shelf about once every two weeks, as opposed to playing with it multiple times a day when he was younger. 

 O (7 months), is just starting to eye it up and enjoys waving the balls around and watching them to down the tree. His hand-eye control isn't yet developed enough to put the balls on the track or push them past the bird unassisted. He's trying though!

Great for small babies up to 2. The disappearing and re-appearing 'apple' is fascinating for little ones developing object permanence. E loved mastering putting the ball on the track and pushing in past the bird. It also makes a pleasant plonking noise bouncing down the leaves at the base of the tree.

Quality: This toy is fully painted and looks to be constructed of both real wood and MDF (I'm guessing). I would say it has average durability – the MDF tree part of the toys has several dents and minor chips in the paint where it has been dropped. However, the finish has held up much better than some of the other wooden toy brands we have purchased, the wooded tracks still look new. The balls have been thrown across our tile floor more times than I can count, but there are no chips in the paint at all. Unlike many other ball track toys, this one is smooth and the balls don't bounce off the toy at any point (as long as it's on a flat surface), meaning the ball returns where it's supposed to. It is a beautiful toy and one of the first that children and adults are drawn to in our house. I expect Tac Boum Pom to last through many children.

Green factor: Despite repeatedly e-mailing the company I've not had a response to my enquiry about whether they adhere to an Environmental or Sustainability policy of any sort. As always, I assume this means that environmental impact of the toy, materials and manufacturing are not taken into consideration. Djeco looses big points with me for this (and their lack of response to their customers!).

Value for money: Djeco's Tac Boum Pom is unique, beautiful and functional and it has been loved in this house. Retailing around £40 it is pricey. Despite it's limited shelf-life I would purchase another ball track toy. However, the finish could be better and I would prefer a fully wood version.  I love this from Selecta and if someone wants to send me one to review I would.  Just sayin'. 

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