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Wednesday, 21 November 2018

You know sometimes the kids get a toy and you end up totally engrossed in it yourself? This is that kind of toy. As the kids age gap is closing I’m finding them playing with the same toys together so when I can find an item that’s great for sharing play as well as independently then I’m all for it. My two kids are always in the shops with me as I can never find the time to go without them so they were seasoned pros at this from the get go, it’s the incredible Little Tikes Shop ’n’ Learn Smart Checkout & Lil Shopper. 

Usually I have a mini breakdown when it comes to toy assembly especially when there are two eager kiddies desperate to get stuck in impatiently waiting in the wings the Smart Checkout is super straight forward, you simply raise the folding arm (you can put this back down for storage purposes later if required which is handy!) add the basket, clip in the flashing aisle number and you’re ready to go. It takes 4xAA batteries so no unnecessary trips to the shop finding obscure battery packs the worst case scenario is you do what I did, borrow them from an unused TV remote meantime ha!

The checkout comes complete with over 35 pieces of recognisable groceries that are ingeniously detected by the tills scanning point, much to Ella’s amazement. This instantly made it go from good toy to wow toy, she was puzzled at how it could tell the names of each item, it’s like magic. I must admit I was very impressed with the quality of the groceries, they’re made from a smooth heavy plastic that will not dent or budge because lets face it, who likes a crater in their orange?! 

For us Mums the next point is a huge benefit. There are specific sections for each food range, for example a fully opening fridge with a light for meat, dairy & poultry, a basket for the breads, shelves for the fruit and veg and a stand for the snacks. A place for everything, everything in it’s place.  

So let's chat about the play experience. The kids were just free playing, using the lil shopper selecting the items they needed for their home - such good imaginative exercise for them! Once they were ready to pay they worked the scanner, listening carefully for the names of the groceries that they didn't already know which is something I find will be very valuable for Charlie as he is in the Prime learning stage starting to repeat new words and form sentences. Once the item was scanned they took it sort of in turns to place it on the fully functioning conveyor belt until their trolley was empty. At the end of the conveyor belt there is a hanging space for the little shopping bag and as they items fall off the end of the belt they drop straight into the bag.

Now in this shop there are 3 ways to pay : coins, cash or card. Each note can slide through a slot in the til to pay, equally the same applies to coins and there is a carder reader too! 

This is all amazing and the kids spent around an hour playing with this as it was however with the introduction of the Smart Checkout App that can be downloaded for free on the app store the level of interaction was elevated. There is a really cool little space and holder for a tablet to be kept in place on the checkout. I watched as Ella was challenged to many games, some being a 'search and find' style of game, some counting, other time challenging and an element of songs and free play time too. Ella face really lit up as a brightly coloured orange carrot chatted her through the steps. 

The following morning I challenged Ella to take her new shopping skills and hit the supermarket for real this time, off she went with her Lil Shopper and picked up her version of essentials which included : apples, bacon, chocolate peanuts and nappies for her brother. Not a bad weekly shopping list I say!

Overall I'm incredibly impressed with this toy. It's strong, robust and provided hours of interactive, valuable entertainment for the kids. The recognisable technology in the scanner is super clever and the design is something that has been well thought out. I think it's excellent value for money and would make for a wonderful 'big' Christmas gift to siblings as a joint present or independently too.

This post is sponsored by Little Tikes*

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