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Sprig Toys Discover Rig

Submitted by on March 12, 2010 – 1:03 pmNo Comment

“A brilliant idea and I wanted to like it, but it was just too much effort for too little reward.”

Buy online at Amazon
Price £19.99 plus £9.99 for additional figures

*****


Initial Thoughts: I’m always keen to buy ethical toys where I can, and the Sprig Toys New Adventure Range fits the bill. It’s a range of cars and figures made from a brand new bio-composite material called Sprigwood (made from pine sawdust and recycled milk cartons – how cool???)

The Adventure Discover Rig is a 4×4 type vehicle that comes complete with a plug-in figure in a hard-hat. The rig doesn’t have batteries. Instead, children push the car – using a removable push-along pole or with their hands. As they push, the energy powers the car’s flashing lights. The car also comes with a figure – Cap Faraday – who can be slotted into the driver’s seat. Push the car and he becomes a talking guide, telling you stories about the jungle, spurring children’s imaginations.

We liked: I love the idea of Sprig toys, and the packaging was refreshingly eco-friendly – not a single evil plastic tie in sight, just 100% recycled cardboard. The toys are really robust, and the eco-composite has a lovely tactile feel, with no painted surfaces or plastic smoothness.  The plug-in characters fit into the car easily, and the whole thing is really cute and beautifully made.

We weren’t keen: Oh, I feel awful being mean about an ethical toy, but Flea really wasn’t fussed about this one. The problem is that the box says “push the toy for five seconds and it will start to talk. The more you push, the better the sound quality”. Not in our experience, I’m afraid.

Flea had to ‘walk’ the car up and down the kitchen for a good minute before we got the crackly introductory music for the story. She’s quite small, but the pole was too short for her – meaning she often pushed the car with the front wheels in the air – which I guess didn’t help. The toy is designed for age 3+, but I imagine the pole might be more suitable for 2 year olds.

According to the press release that came with the toy, the stories have crocodiles and jungles, but honestly? We never got that far. We only ever heard Cap Faraday say something that sounded like “Welcome to the jungle” because every time Flea turned around at the end of the kitchen, the whole process had to start again.

Even with my Dad running the car up and down the kitchen while we all watched and tried not to laugh, we didn’t get any further, and Flea was completely bored by this point. And by the 10th time of hearing the introdutory music with the crackly background, I’d had enough too. So we took the handle off and removed the figures, and Flea used it as a toy car. We had two figures but the figures fell out of the passenger seats as soon as you moved the car, which was frustrating. After the first day, she never picked it up again. If I’d paid the RRP of £49.99 on this, I’d have been less than impressed.

Overall: I’m not sure what to make of this. I really want to like it, I think it’s a brilliant idea, I really do, and the material is really cool. But for my child, it was too much effort for too little reward. I wonder if the smaller cars in the range might be easier to use, because they presumably require less power to work – but I wasn’t sold on the Discover Rig. Sorry.

[By Sally – Who’s The Mummy?]

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