The Tot Testers have been lucky enough to be chosen as Toys R Us' Toyologists, such is their knowledge of toys and their thirst for checking and chucking the top of the toyshops must haves. The first toy they have been trying out is Tomy's relaunched Aquadoodle. So, did it turn the tide on rain related boredom?
The Aquadoodle was previously known as the Aquadraw. Its a craft based toy with a difference, with no mess and limited adult intervention required. Its also pocket friendly, as its reusable.
Our version has the added bonus in that it is from the new Magic Sounds range. Whereas the original Aquadoodle was simply a mat for drawing on and a special pen, this version allows the children to use the same pen to make animal noises to bring the drawings they create to life.
Its a great size, and the outside of the mat itself is colourful, with pictures of farm yard animals, and this gives the child some much needed inspiration when deciding how and what to draw. The outside also has plastic discs which the end of the Aqua Pen fits into,and they make 14 different noises, instantly recognisable to the child as animals.
Parents like Gadget Dad will love this toy as much as the kids, as it requires no brushes, paint or other "dangerous to the walls and furnishings" art materials.
The pen is a great chunky size just right for even the smallest hands to grip. It opens up at one end and requires a small amount of water. When its then placed back on the mat it draws whatever the child directs it to in the same way as holding a crayon or felt pen. The only downside we found is that it only makes one colour. If the pen is placed by an over zealous child like Little Tot on any other surface, it doesn't leave any trace of mischief!
The Mat can then be hung over a chair to dry at its own pace, leaving it free of their masterpieces and ready to be re used another day. Its perfect for holidays as it folds up small, and with only a pen needed to make it usable for hours it would take up limited space in the suitcase.
It requires 2 AAA batteries to allow it to make noise, which aren't included in the box, so bear this in mind to stop any "excitement" tantrums. But its ridiculously easy to set up- literally five minutes from box to happy toddlers drawing on it.
Its aimed at 18 months and above, but due to the nature of it being something for doodling on, as long as its kept clean and looked after it is a toy I could see being popular for some time yet. Its definitely a toy I will encourage the tots to use regularly as I can be safe in the knowledge that there is little damage to be done when using it unsupervised.
Priced at £29.99, it may seem expensive, but the money it saves long term on paints, pens and paper (and not to mention sanity of parents trying to wash unwashable pen from chairs and carpets!) makes it worth the cost.