Wednesday, July 20th, 2005
Review: Little Playzone with Electronic Sounds & Lights
A play yard has gobbled our living room, and I couldn’t be happier. We’ve used the “Little Playzone” for at least six months. I wanted to get a play yard before Little Miss began crawling and sometimes you just need a safe place to set a baby down.
When researching child containment facilities I quickly ruled out play pens and port-a-cribs. They’re pretty much the same thing — a 3 by 5 foot jail cell for my child. Port-a-cages are mobile, but we already had a very useful portable Exersaucer [froogle.com] for Little Miss.
After briefly trying the Superyard XT child enclosure, I discovered the Little Playzone with Electronic Sounds & Lights by Friendly Toys.
The core Playzone kit comes with four plastic wall segments and four
corner joints. One of the walls is a gate and another has built-in toys
and music. The walls plug into each other in seconds with male-female
pegs, no additional parts needed.
The official dimensions are 23″H x 46″L by x46″ W, or roughly 3.8
feet on all sides when configured as a square. That was still small, so we bought two Playzones and combined them. We have hard floors, so I bought foam mats to soften falls.
If you live in a cramped apartment, I am so sorry for you because a mega-monster-playzone simply rocks.
The real, useable interior space as I measured it is 45.6 square
feet, or 6.75 feet on each side. There is room for Mom, Dad, Little
Miss and our cat “Brown” to be inside and still have room to play â€“
shuffling around on our knees in a circle, or even laying down. This is
no cage. With the gate door now open, it is clear that Miss perceives
the zone as a play area, not a confinement tool, and she happily will
enter it on her own.
- Kid-friendly look and feel in red, yellow and blue colors.
- Easily assembles and disassembles with light-weight interlocking pegs.
- Parents can easily step over a wall to get into the Playzone.
- Has a locking gate. Now that Miss is walking, we let her use the doorway. She loves opening and closing the door.
- Has suction cups for hard floors (though I haven’t used them)
- Has a game wall with seven buttons that light up and play nursery
rhyme tunes, and other toys that you flip, move or push. Batteries come
preinstalled. It was the wall’s music that first got Miss “dancing” and
clapping. It was fun to see her develop favorite tunes and be able to
play them on her own.
- Visitors comment on how great the Playzone is, or how they wish they’d had one for their kids when they were young.
- Our cat easily enters and exits by jumping from a nearby couch.
- A single Playzone is small. For my configuration it was cheaper
to buy two complete kits, rather than pay the same shipping charges on
one kit and four separate extensions.
- No volume control or power switch for the battery-operated music.
- The gate entrance has a trippable lip a child must step over. Little Miss has learned to carefully navigate the lip.
- Now that Miss is bigger and stronger, she occasionally pushes a
wall segment. After some fussing our square Playzone can look more like
- It’s regrettable that the game wall isn’t sold as a separate expansion to cut the core product’s cost.
Playzone at One Step Ahead (I found One Step cheaper on shipping for two complete kits.)
Note: the foam interlocking mats shown in the photo were separately purchased.