Reviewed by Dotty Winters
The LeapFrog Number Loving Oven is a cookery-based educational toy, designed for ages 2 years +. The Oven is supplied in a study display box, which allowed my 3-year-old assistant to instantly see what was in store. The bright colours and multiple components (it is a 16-part set) were met with the ultimate toddle seal of approval: “That’s MINE! I chosed that.”
There was a slightly anxious and bouncy wait while I struggled to free the oven and ingredients from some very secure packaging, I can only assume that some of the pizza slices have previously escaped, as everything was well and truly captured. Fortunately the toy comes complete with batteries and the buttons work immediately, the toy began to sing a song about the importance of hand hygiene and my toddler obediently tottered off to comply. I cannot over state how impressed I am by any toy which makes him voluntarily wash his hands!
By the time he returned we were able to get started. Once the pieces are out of the packaging no further assembly is required, and it was clear what each piece was, and how to use it. The pieces are sturdy and well-constructed and the toy looks likely to stand up to some serious toddler play.
Unlike some similar toys, the voice and song noises are clear and easy for a child to understand, so much so that each play session has resulted in repeated trips to the sink to rewash hands. “Frying” the egg on the hob top makes a very pleasing sizzling sound and was definitely a favourite activity, alongside choosing slices of pizza to share out to others (my 3 year old is not a fan of mushy-rooms, so this slice was always given away first). After a while of following the instructions, he decided to get a little bit Blumenthal and made some cup-cake and fried-egg topped pizza. Yummy. The oven cheerfully suggests that eggs “taste good on EVERYTHING” which was greeted with some incredulity, and the response… “even the dog?”. Play resumed after we removed the fried egg from the dog’s head, and he offered the dog a plastic cupcake on a plate, which was haughtily ignored.
All in all we had a very fun playtime, combining some nice educational stuff (counting, choosing the right number of bread portions etc…) with some fried-egg silliness. I’d happily recommend this as a way to spend your time.
This product features two nice, considerate touches for parents: all of the bits and bobs stow away neatly inside the oven so that you can store it easily (and without losing any of the “ingredients”) and the toy offers two volume settings, so you can opt to have a slightly quieter play-time when required. With lots of pieces and activities to suit children at slightly different levels (the tasks which required visually recognising written numbers were a bit tricky for my toddler, but would be great for an older player). This toy felt like good value for the RRP of around £20. I can imagine this would make a great present for a two or three year old, and the compact size means it has easily earned itself a space in the suitcase for our upcoming camping trip. Bonus points for its contribution to breaking the hand-washing strike.
Suitable for ages 2 years +.
Available to buy from Amazon here.