In each of the four modes, a tap on the top of the drum makes a drum sound and provokes a response in lights and speech or music.
In "abc" mode, the toy will provoke play with flashing lights and a cry of "Hi, lets play the drum--a, b, c" and each pat of the electronic "drum skin" brings a new letter up on display with accompanying speech, all the way from a to z if 26 pats are done in sequence. In this way, a baby's natural boisterous play is harnessed to develop unconscious learning of the alphabet and familiarisation with the shapes and sounds of the letters. The "123" mode likewise encourages repetitive pats to reveal more numbers in sequence, up to 10. In "drum" mode, babies are given a sequence of taps to copy and are complimented highly when they get it right, encouraging co-ordination through the use of rhythm. In "music" mode, the drum says "let's sing and play", appealing to babies to play the drum, this time with each pat producing a note and a different panel of lights to illuminate the drum skin.
Babies at the younger age of this age group may find it a challenge to always hit the drum hard enough to provoke the lights and sounds, but an encouraging extra hand will suffice and once the concept has been grasped there'll be lots of enthusiasm for play on their own. The on/off switch which also controls the modes of the drum is a bit sophisticated and fiddly for very little fingers and will probably be operated by older playmates.
Overall, this is a toy with lots of learning potential, and those whose little drummers find it too irresistible will be relieved that it also has that most welcome of features, a volume control. --Rachel Ediss
Turn the drum on and you have a number of different options--ABC mode, where the top of the drum lights up when tapped to display the letters of the alphabet, 123 mode, which displays numbers from 1-10, Follow the Beat mode where children have to try and copy the beats of the Drum and Interactive Song mode, where children sing along and follow the song's instructions.
This toy is recommended for 6 months up and but it really is a toy that will be played with and enjoyed for a number of years. At its simplest level, very young children will enjoy the fact that when they bang, the top lights up with letters or numbers and plays music. Slightly older children will be helped to learn their letters and numbers, as well as beginning to develop musical skills, be it repeating rhythms in Follow the Beat mode or singing along in Interactive Song mode. The fact that it can be played with in so many ways certainly seems to have keep the interest Elizabeth Currie