Before really getting into this review I would like to state that it took awhile for my wife and I to even agree on the VTech Learning Sit to Stand Walker as the tool we would use to help our son Chaim Yosef learn how to walk. In the latter stages of Elizabeth’s pregnancy we discussed what kinds of toys and equipment we would get for him. I was and to some extent of the opinion that it would be best to expose him to as few electronically driven toys and tools as possible — I wanted to get him a crank driven wind-up rocker, for example, but soon found out that it is nearly impossible to buy one new.
So too with the walking toy / tool — we proceeded with much caution because of some of the articles warning about the dangers of using walkers but understood them and knew how we could keep little Chaim Yosef safe. I originally was hoping to get something perhaps made in an Amish community — just solid wood, made to help him get a feel for walking around. It turned out that such walkers cost a few hundred dollars, and that was unfortunately well out of our budget.
It then turned out that a department store in midtown was having a sale on toys for children — we would get half off one toy if we bought two. This is how we ended up looking at different electronic toys and selected the VTech Learning Sit To Stand Walker. It is actually multiple devices in one. The primary device, as far as Chaim Yosef is concerned, is the walker element. He pulls himself up on the walker and then pushes it, typically across the room. He has not yet grasped the fact that when something is in front of the walker, it is more difficult for the walker to move forward. When that something is a large immobile object, the walker has no way to move.
The other aspect to the walker is the front panel, which features a number of different toys and games. There is a telephone receiver which is oddly out of place in the twenty first century — it looks like an old corded telephone but Chaim is growing up in a home with two mobile phones and no landlines — why have a landline when we have such good deals with AT&T that it would be a waste of money? Then there is a musical keyboard, along with three spinning wheels which I think Chaim Yosef has never even noticed. There is a gear arrangement that can be turned — I usually turn it for him.
Elizabeth tells me that in the month that he has had the walker, it has helped him in a number of ways. Before, he would never even try standing alone. Now he has bolstered courage in pulling himself on various things like our chairs and he has even started being able to stand on his own for a few moments at a time until he realizes that he isn’t being supported by anything.
My wife and I do get tired of the numerous melodies that come from the walker. One of the songs that is particularly bothersome has odd lyrics. The song lyrics are, “Welcome to our learning farm / We have much to show you / Shapes and colors, music too / There’s so much to do-oo!” Do-oo? They really needed to stretch out do so badly?
Overall, I am not sure that the learning part of the walker is even necessary as there are many toys out there that also do a good job of helping with colors and identifying fruits and animals — not to mention good old fashioned flash cards and picture books. I almost wish we would have had the budget to get a wooden walker — I suppose if we are going to have any other children we should probably start saving an Amish fund now!