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Toy Review: Little People Musical Preschool

The Fisher-Price Little People Musical Preschool is intended for ages 12 months to five year.l Since I have a 19-month-old daughter and 5-year-old son, I was able to witness how children on both extremes of the recommended age range interact with the toy.

Why I Love It

From the moment we took it out of the box, both of my children were enamored with it. We could not unwrap the pieces fast enough! The Musical Preschool comes with the Preschool itself (the inside of what looks like an elementary music room), three Little People, four chairs, and one table. Because my daughter is so young, the people and chairs were almost immediately misplaced. My only gripe about this product is that the people, chairs, and table are not in any way connected to the actual room. So unless you have a very neat and orderly child, you'll probably lose a piece or two. But don't sweat it; the little detached figurines are not the highlight of the Musical Preschool.

I was raised in a musical family, and was a musician myself for many years. More than once in my time as a parent I have thrown out a toy because musical errors and inaccuracies drive me up the wall. The Little People Musical Preschool is a refreshing departure from other "teaching" toys that can be pretty lazy with their music. Fisher Price went above and beyond with the Musical Preschool to ensure kids will be learning rhythm, instrumentation, and even how to compose their own little tunes. Impressive, if you ask this music snob.

There is a "rug" in the middle of the classroom consisting of little circles that can be pressed to start the music. Once you start a song, you can push one of the other buttons to add various instruments to the music already playing. Kids choose from one of the five musical buttons to integrate woodwinds, strings, electric guitar, horns, or keys. And each of those buttons has a picture of the instrument so that the child can make the connection between the sound and the instrument. Very cool.

There are other toys/buttons in the Musical Preschool that also make sounds, but will not interrupt a song already playing. It's better than that! Along the back wall of the classroom, children will find a little easel, a hamster wheel, a dinosaur, and a fish tank. Each of these items make unique sound effects. For example, if you press the fish tank, you hear "bubble, bubble, pop, pop," in a distinct rhythm. The hamster wheel, dinosaur, and easel all have their own beat. If there is already a song playing and a child presses one of these toys, the sound effects adapt to the music that is playing and fit into the rhythm of the song. That may not be something everybody would notice, but as a mom who deeply cares about cultivating an appreciation for music in my children, I was delighted at this attention to detail.

On the sides of the Preschool are a door that opens and closes, and a slide. My children haven't shown much interest in either of those since all the noise comes from the middle of the room. My toddler does, however, fiddle with the clock at the top of the room quite a bit. It's nothing more than a knob that twists, but sometimes kids gravitate toward the simple.

Would I Buy This for a Friend's Kid?

Yes! In a nutshell, this picky mom is impressed. The design of the Little People Musical Preschool is well-thought-out and teaches kids to understand music with much more accuracy than so many other musical toys. Plus, it gets my kids dancing in the living room every time. Priceless!

Image via Sarah Kovac

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