Frank is just like my dad, a.k.a. Bob-Bob. And if there’s one thing they love, it’s sports. With that in mind, last Christmas Santa brought Frank the Little Tikes Discover Sounds Sports Center. It features: a bead-filled football, which rattles when you spin it, a baseball attached to a lever, which creaks and rotates when hit with the included yellow plastic bat, and the piece de la resistance – a basketball hoop in the middle, which racks up points on a digital scoreboard when Frank slam-dunks the tangerine-sized basketball.
Even though Frank received the toy almost a year ago, he still plays with it every day. Like most Little Tikes products I’ve encountered, it’s held up well despite the abuse young children tend to inflict upon their toys. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch Toy Story 3, to see an ambush at a day care center. Speaking of which, there’s even a Sports Center in the nursery at our gym. Naturally, Frank goes right for the orange ball as soon as we drop him off. Being just about a year and a half old, Frank cannot explain what draws him to this toy, but I’m sure that the exciting sounds and flashing lights have a lot to do with it.
What I like about the toy is that it teaches various forms of fine motor skills, especially hand/eye coordination. It takes continued practice to push the football forward with enough follow-through to make it spin, to connect the ball and bat, and to precisely make a basket through the hoop or the hole in the backboard (for additional points). By honing those skills, Frank has developed quite an arm and some dexterous little fingers, too. Who knows? We might see him in an orange or purple jersey someday thanks to the Little Tikes Discover Sounds Sports Center.
The Little Tikes Discover Sounds Sports Center is recommended for babies and toddlers from 9-24 months and retails for $29.99 at Toys ‘R Us.