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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 7 October 2011
The bus is big and chunky, and very robust, having the ability to survive lots of drops and rough treatment!
The point of the bus is to teach children shapes, letters and numbers. There are four large "shape" buttons on the roof of the bus: Star, Triangle, Square and Circle. The side of the bus has all the letters of the alphabet in lower case, as well as the numbers 1-10.

The bus has a large purple slider on the roof, which enables even young children to swich it on and off easily. Next to that is a volume control which allows you to alternate between loud and quiet play.

The bus has four main play modes:

1: Sounds and Letters:

When this mode is activated, all the letter buttons make a phonetic sound when pressed. The numbers are pronounced in a clear Enlish accent. When you press the shapes at the top of the bus, they make various "engine" sounds. This mode enables the young child to learn the sound that each letter makes, as well as the names of the numbers.

2: Shapes, Numbers and Sounds:

In this mode, the bus asks the child to find the relevant character or shape on the bus and press it. It asks "where is...." followed by the letter sound. If the child presses the correct letter, the bus repeats it back. If not, the bus says "oops!" and repeats the question. This is really good at helping children identify letters and pick them out of the alphabet.

3: Sound and Letters:

The bus tells the child the phonetic sound of the letter pressed, as well as the name of the letter (e.g "ah" is the sound, ay is the name"). When you press the numbers, they play different notes in the musical scale, which allows you to play tunes by treating the numbers as piano keys. When you press the shapes, the bus tells you the name of the shape.

4: Music Library:

This is a fun mode, experimenting with different sounds. The letters play different tunes or animal sound when pressed. The numbers play well known nursery rhymes. The shapes go back to making "engine" noises. Some of the noises are really funny, and the child will press them over and over again, giggling.

The bus takes 2 AA batteries, which last for ages. I usually use rechargeable ones. When the batteries start to run out, the nice female voice goes a bit wobbly, and the tunes go a bit strange! This is a really fantastic toy that I cannot recommend highly enough. It has really helped my kids learn their letter sounds, as well as being a fun toy for rolling along the floor. The buttons are colourful and a nice size for little fingers. It is nice to hear a toy that has an English, rather than American accent! The toy is widely available cheaply from Ebay, or you can usually spot these at any car boot or market stall!
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on 13 April 2006
My daughter got this for Christmas when she was 9 months old. It has been the favorite toy ever since. Even though she doesn't understand the games, she loves the singing, repetition etc and walking along pushing the bus. Even better- the the voices are english (not american) so it won't drive you (too) mad!
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on 10 March 2008
A friend bought the Playtime Bus for our daughter's first birthday and it has been in constant use ever since. Catchy tunes and noises provide entertainment now and the quizzes and games give her something to 'grow into'. Also good to simply push around. Recommended.
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on 21 March 2009
This bus did magic for my little 2 1/2 year old boy!
He constantly carries the bus around with him everywhere he goes!
It's his favorite toy by far!
he's had the bus for approx. 3 months and has learned some counting and some alphabets as well! It's an amazing toy that also playes lots of nursery rhymes!
I recommend it to anyone....buy it !
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on 6 January 2010
I have bought over 7 of them for my friends kids, they have hours of fun, loads of different noises so the parents aren't driven up the wall. Kids love it!!!!
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on 12 January 2010
This product is really good fun for all ages, and is one that will grow with your child through to pre school age. The other bonus is that the music and sounds are not annoying as they can be on some toys!!
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on 13 December 2008
My son got this toy for his first birthday he's 2 1/2 now and still plays with it almost everyday. It has loads of nursery rhymes on it, teaches phonics and the alphabet and much more. Sometimes he even sits on it and rides around on it pushing with his feet or even stands on it to reach things - so its definately durable. My 8 month old also loves it!
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on 20 February 2009
This toy does everything the manufacturers claim. Importantly, it is also highly robust. In our house it has withstood being driven off the kitchen table at least three times and there is not a scratch or dent on it. I would recommend it on that basis alone, not to mention its fun and educational value.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 30 January 2014
I've bought two of those Playtime Buses in my time, the latest for a little man who has not even yet reached the age of one month. I'm not quite as barmy as I sound though. Well, I mean I am, but the myriad reasons WHY I am have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with my purchase of this bus. Clearly, my new young friend will not be taking much of an active interest in it for many moons yet. But, I'm afraid I do have something of a stingy streak when it comes to buying gifts for small children that will very shortly be grown out of. And the real clincher was, that the original bus I bought (again, for a kid who couldn't even yet hold her head up unsupported at the time) is still being used to this very day, by that now five year old AND her eight year old sister! As if all that wasn't enough, it's a fairly exciting toy to push around the floor when you're a forty three year old bloke who's pretending to be Reg Varney as well. No? Oh well, that must just be me then.

It is a large and solid thing. It takes two AA batteries but doesn't seem to make too many demands on them. Even without switching the thing on, the bus can still be the central component to some pretty decent creative play. Only the other evening, I saw the fourth Doctor Who and someone from the A-Team perched on the back of the five year old's bus, apparently on their way to Mars for tea with someone or other. What it is to have a vivid imagination, eh?

Used properly this is educational but, crucially, not boring. It has two different volume selections. The first is just quiet enough for the bus not to get on an average grown-up's wick for quite some considerable time. The second is louder, and pretty much nailed on to help the bus annoy most adults fairly rapidly. The problem is, the tunes the bus plays are so catchy! The vehicle has four different destinations to choose from and four little ditties to accompany them. Well, actually it's the same tune, just with slightly different words... sort of like the bulk of the Stock, Aitken and Waterman back-catalogue. But once you've heard that tune, it will haunt you forever. At least the voices are all vaguely British. The three little buttons on top of the bus are great fun too, providing the realistic sounds of a horn being blown, brakes being screeched and an ignition key being turned.

The full-time job of this bus is to help teach little ones the lower case alphabet; it also has a noble little sideline, dabbling in the numbers from one to ten. There are lots of buttons to press and lots of different things to listen to, all divided up into four main activities. 'Phonics' isn't really phonics, since pressing each of the letters just allows you to listen to what that letter sounds like in an alphabetical line-up. What 'Phonics' IS useful for though, is as a tool to assist in a whole variety of ad hoc spelling activities. My little five year old friend can be roped into that sort of game quite effortlessly, yet completely unwittingly. And the eight year old is never far behind her either.

'Letters' gives you much more, in the 'a is for apple' sort of vein. 'Quiz' is a 'can you point to the letter a?' exercise and 'Music' sees each letter being given its own signature tune, as well as the numbers one to ten being magically transformed into a sort of mini piano. In my experience, kids seem to be less interested in trying to play the Moonlight Sonata and rather more keen on simply playing two seconds of a letter's tune, pressing another letter, playing two seconds of that letter's tune, pressing another letter... and so on, and so on and so on. That really can get rather annoying I must admit, to the point where you really can find yourself cursing those two AA batteries.

This is an extremely well-made and well designed toy and I sincerely hope the latest beneficiary of it in my neck of the woods appreciates it even half as much as my two, comparatively elderly, relatives. Of course, until he's old enough to get his own VTech driving licence, I will just have to make sure that the batteries still have life in them and that the bus still works properly myself. If nothing else, I should be able to get that Reg Varney impression down to a tee!
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on 23 February 2009
my 2 year old loves this, so do all his older and younger friends, and my 5 months old has just started taking an interest in it. so, highly versatile for different age groups, very robust, lots of music and activities and all importantly it's got an off switch... :-)
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