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Toy Review: Fisher-Price Bubble Guppies Check-Up Center

My poor toddler (two this last February) is subjected to living in a house without cable. While she does get her fair share of movie time, she has never really seen any of the popular children's shows that currently exist today. She has no idea who the Bubbles Guppies are, and honestly, neither did I before we received the Fisher-Price Bubble Guppies Check-Up Center toy. If the packaging hadn't made it clear it was based on a hit kids show —with buttons that produced quotes right form the show—I would have remained pretty clueless as to what the inspiration for this one was.

It took about 5 minutes for us to get the check-up center out of the box and put together, while my little girl stood anxiously nearby pleading, "Toy? Toy? Toy?" She didn't seem to care that she had no idea what this toy was from. She just wanted to play!

Features I Love

As the mom of a toddler, I love toys that promote dexterity and imagination. This toy has a spinning "shell-evator" that had my little girl working to manipulate the twisty up and down function, and she was also using her fine motor skills to place the included puppy into and out of a rolling cart. I liked watching her explore everything the toy had to offer, and trying to figure out how the pieces and parts all worked together.

For her part, she loved that there was a puppy at all—we're in a very big animal stage right now. She also loved being able to push the buttons and produce sounds and talking. She really did light up as soon as I put it in front of her, and got a solid 15 minutes of playtime in before becoming bored and moving on, which is HUGE in toddler time.

Features That Could Be Improved

The toy itself is a little flimsily constructed and only offers so much in the way of interaction. My little girl tends to enjoy having characters talk to each other, and with only one character included, the puppy seemed to lose its appeal pretty quickly. She had fun with the toy at first, but after she initially lost interest, she only went back to it a few more times, for very brief periods of play, over the next week. It just didn't hold her interest, and probably got no more than 25 minutes of play total from the time we received it. I think including even just one more character would have helped, and perhaps expanding upon the features and play area to give kids a little more to explore.

Features I Hate

There really isn't anything I hate about this toy. It's not my favorite, and it could certainly be constructed better, but there are no pieces to be concerned about or attachments that repeatedly fell apart. Some of the included pieces seemed a little random, and my little girl wasn't always sure what to do with them (neither was I, to be honest) but there was nothing that would have me tossing this toy immediately into the trash. And even though it did make noises, the volume was low enough so as to not ever become annoying.

Would I Buy This Toy For a Friend's Child?

Unless my friend's child was a big Bubble Guppies fan, I wouldn't likely buy this toy for them. It feels like it is probably better used as an extension of the show, for kids who are already a fan of the characters involved. Otherwise, it is fairly cheaply made and doesn't offer a whole lot in terms of actual play or interactivity. Once the puppy has gone down the ramp a few times, and up and down the shell-evator, there isn't much more to do. And I can easily see the included pieces (a wheelchair, hospital bed and cart) getting lost and even further limiting the play features for this toy.

Images via Leah Campbell

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