Parents love toys that grow with their kids because they offer lots more play value. This year, Fisher-Price will launch the new Smart Stages line, which features three levels of intuitive learning for kids ages 6 months to three years—it doesn’t get much better than that. The Laugh & Learn Puppy’s Smart Stages Train is one of my favorites in the line. It features three adorable rattle characters, including a puppy, a monkey, and a frog, and has adorable motion play when kids press down on the green smoke stack. In stage one, kids can press all of the buttons to play in “explore” mode, the most basic level of learning play. The buttons make sounds that correspond to the shape, number, or color of the button. Sometimes they even play a fun little tune. Even in the most basic learning level, kids will learn colors, shapes, numbers, letters, counting, and more.
Once kids are about 12-18 months old, they can advance to stage two, or “encourage.” Now, when kids press any of the buttons, they get two descriptive characteristics, as well as a fun song or rhyme that keeps them playing.
For our older toddlers, stage three marks the beginning of “pretend.” Now when kids press the buttons on the train, they will be encouraged to use their imaginations in various fun scenarios.
The shear fact that you can get three years of use out of a toy that costs a mere $34.99 is incredible, but the amount of thought and detail in the train is really what makes this toy shine. Kids will love the chunky and vibrant figures, and the songs, sounds, and phrases are extremely engaging. Not to mention, there’s more than 50 different sound bytes for kids to delight in, so they won’t easily get bored (and neither will you).