Plastic boat has four colored openings along the top, each corresponding to one of the four included plastic balls. The balls rest in the opening, but easily pop down into the boat when smacked with a hand or the included toy hammer.
Inside the boat is a hidden ball path. Weaving in and out, the balls temporarily disappear from baby’s view, then reappear again.
A flag on the back of the boat can be turned around to block the balls in their path. Flip it around again to let the balls pass.
Dimensions: 14 X 7.25 X 7.5 inches
Object permanence is a developmental milestone in which babies are able to understand that an object out of sight has not actually ceased to exist. Visually following the ball through the hidden pathway helps teach babies that an object can disappear in one place and reappear in another. It’s kind of like playing peekaboo, but the baby does it by themselves.
The hammer has three ways of striking. The flat side is good for babies to develop the gross motor skills needed to smack the ball. Once those movements are mastered, using the hammer’s round side helps to focus on more precise aim and fine motor skills in the hand and wrist. Eventually, children will realize that punching the ball through can also be achieved with the butt of the hammer’s handle, which requires body control and wrist stabilization.
Meant for ages 19 months and up, we’ve seen a fairly large range of ages this toy entertains. From 8 months on up to 3 years, some children just really enjoy smacking the balls down into the boat. We did notice that children closer to 2 years and younger seem to gravitate to this toy slightly more often than children older than 2 years.
This type of toy is part of a group sometimes called smacking or pounding toys. These actions can provide a healthy outlet for kids when they want to move their bodies to help release energy.
Something we appreciated was the color choice of the four openings and balls. There’s red, blue, green, and purple. All lovely colors, but what’s really neat is that the blue and purple look rather similar, unless right next to each other. This means that children can try to match the balls to the opening, and they will have to practice noticing somewhat subtle color difference to make sure the purple and blue aren’t mixed up.
The balls are large enough that they will not pose a choking hazard.
We do wish there was some storage location in the boat for the balls. Perhaps a little trap door on the bottom or something. As it is, the balls can sit on the outer slide, but they will easily fall off if the boat is tipped. We recommend getting some kind of baggy to keep the balls in when not in use. Tossing them into the toy box may prove annoying when they need to be found later.
- Wipe down with a damp cloth
- Wash in warm, soapy water
For more detailed information on how to clean toys, check out our blog, The Cleaning Guide for Toys.
Parts and Pieces
Replacement balls are available from the manufacturer’s website.
Aside from the storage, we think this is a cute and charming little boat.