There is a reason (well several) that Fisher Price products are one of our major 'go to brands' for baby toys and products and that is that they are always cleverly thought out, of a beautiful design, durable, entertaining, educational, encourage baby to develop and are always high quality just to name a few. I don't honestly think we have had one bad Fisher Price toy between either of our two children and it is certainly a name we have grown to love and trust. This Smart Stages Chair is in my opinion yet another brilliant product/update from Fisher Price (I believe it is an update to their old Fisher-Price Musical Learning Chair
) and I can't speak highly of it enough.
My baby daughter absolutely loves this smart stages chair and as with everything in our house at the moment (I suspect mostly because it is her's) my son also loves it. My son (under 3) is just learning numbers and so has been pressing the number buttons on the remote control and trying to repeat the numbers as they are spoken. There has also been a bit of a jostle over who actually gets to play with the chair on more than one occasion and so I may have to consider getting the yellow version for my son just for some peace! My baby daughter is obsessed with standing at the chair and lifting the seat up and down and flipping the pages of the book. She is below the recommended minimum age of 12 months but as she is our second child her development is so much faster than our sons was (as she has him to learn from) and as such the chair is definitely suitable for her to play with now. I do wonder why FP hadn't set the minimum age lower at maybe 9 months plus or even 6 months as I would think this would be suitable for a younger age onwards as there are no small pieces that could come off the chair. Yes they probably couldn't sit in it yet at those ages but they could still play with the remote control, book and seat. When you first turn the chair on it asks you to enter your little ones age using the buttons on the remote control (the instruction manual has full instructions and the chair also advises verbally) but the age does not go lower than 12 months and so we have had to set it at 12 months for our daughter and then will alter this with the reset button when she gets older as the chair apparently tracks your little ones age so that it can automatically change the smart stage settings (but you can still change these manually with the switch on the front).
The interactive parts of the chair are the remote control on the arm of the chair which has four number buttons, three shape buttons and a remote control light that lights up; the chair seat which has a pressure button under it so it works out when your little one sits down on it and stands up or lifts and closes the lid; the little book on the arm of the chair which responds to each page when turned and responds differently according to the smart stage. Finally there is a little crank handle at the side which I can't see does anything other than actually crank a little bit with a cranking noise.
The chair needs a little bit of assembly and you will need a posidrive/Phillips screwdriver to do this and to open the battery compartment. The instructions advise to insert the 3 AA batteries first as the back two feet of the chair sit over the battery compartment once assembled. To change the batteries you need to remove the back two feet and then re-assemble which is a bit of a pain but I can't see it being a major problem as it is only two screws for the feet. There are two front feet that also need to be screwed on and then the chair back rest also needs to be clicked into place and the three screws for this inserting and tightening. It took me less than 5 minutes to assemble the chair.
The chair has three smart stages which are stage 1 for 12-18 months old, stage 2 for 18-24 months old and stage 3 for over 24 months. For example when on stage 1 the remote control will say the numbers such as 1 and the light with light up once, for 3 say 3 and light up three times, say purple (or green or red), say circle (or triangle or square) and sing little songs about a square having four corners and four sides, a circle having no corners or lines, a triangle having three sides and three corners etc.
For stage 2 the chair will prompt your little one to do things such as find the yellow bee under the seat, find the green circle, the chair will say purple triangle rather than purple or triangle on it's own and ask your little one to read a story and find the butterfly etc.
For stage 3 the chair will play pop goes the weasel by your little one lifting and putting down the seat, ask them to buzz like a bee, pretend the number buttons on the remote are for changing to different channels such as the weather channel or the animal channel and get them to pretend to fly like a butterfly or hop like a frog etc.
The chair is approx 43cm high to the top of the seat back, approx 39cm wide, approx 40cm wide to the little bit that sticks out at the back behind the feet (which the pictures do not show) and approx 15.5cm to the seat top.
The chair does speak in a British voice so no need to worry about it being very American pronunciation as with the demo video (where it says awesome) on the product page. The pink colour is a lovely soft pink and so not garish and a lighter pink that the product pictures which the purple is also a soft purple rather than the darker purple look in the product pictures. There are two volume levels along with an off switch. There is a sticker inside the seat with pictures on it which the smart stages refer to when the seat is opened and closed but there is also some storage room here for your little one to store some of their things too.
We have a lot of Fisher Price toys in our house (the brand is most definitely one of our favourite baby and children's toys brands) and so I knew before the smart stages chair arrived that it would be good but my two little ones absolutely love it and so it seems Fisher Price has done it again and created a toy that both children love and that will last. Another brilliant, colourful, fun and robust toy from Fisher Price which I definitely recommend.