Fisher Price BeatBelle Review
Here in the Savvy Dad house nothing gets Little Savvy’s attention quicker than the door bell. So imagine his delight when the good old postie delivered some special boxes from Fisher Price with the word “toys” emblazoned on the side. They had sent us over a BeatBelle along with a few of their new release toys from the end of the summer to review as part of an upcoming article we are planning on top toys expected on wish lists this Christmas.
Up for in depth review at the hands of Little Savvy and Baby Savvy were two offerings from Fisher Price. The Bright Beats Dance and Move BeatBelle; an interactive movement based bot. And along with this, the Bright Beats Learnin’ Lights Dance Mat – an extension of the Bright Beats range.
Fisher Price Bright Beats Dance and Move BeatBelle
The first Fisher Price toy we investigated with eagerness was the BeatBelle. Back in 2015, Fisher Price released their successful BeatBo, a fun, interactive toy with lights and button activation for children ranging from less than a year to pre-school age. The Beat Belle follows on in the same trend, but in a more feminine colour scheme and voice.
Frustration free packaging meant the Beat Belle was unpacked and the 4 x AA batteries were included for instant fun. The BeatBelle has a cute and friendly appearance with no sharp edges or corners, every contour is smooth and sleek plastic. The ears, or maybe antennae, on the BeatBelle are a soft plush material. The arms similarly are made of the same soft material and Baby Savvy soon caught onto the notion that these “limbs” were suitable points to grab, move and manipulate the BeatBelle via.
Standing at approximately 30cm tall, the BeatBelle is the perfect height for babies transitioning to sitting and crawling. Similarly it is also a good size for toddlers who might be dancing around it while in use.
The BeatBelle essentially does three main things. It dances, interacts with singing, and displays sensory lighting.
Movement is based around “hip” action and side-to-side head bopping. Lights are displayed in a disco-style on the BeatBelle’s tummy and interactive sound and speech is incorporated via a speaker at the rear and a microphone at the top of the BeatBelle’s head.
So how does the Fisher Price BeatBelle work?
Being a typical British family, we ignored the instructions and started exploring the buttons. Little Savvy, just turned 3 years old, quickly had his attention drawn to the large red button on the left foot of the BeatBelle (he’ll press any red button he sees). The red button, in the case of the BeatBelle, was a record button. This allowed Little Savvy to record a small saying or statement into the BeatBelle for it to then weave into a song to sing back to us, a huge hit with all.
The green button activates the “Dance and Move” function. A series of programmed movements, music and interactions to encourage little ones to get active. We particularly liked the fact that the music covered a range of tempo. This meant that alongside the perks of the exercise Little Savvy was getting as he bounced around the room to upbeat tunes, there was also a range of slower tempo sections to calm, sooth and mellow the excitement. Now is also a good time to say there’s a low volume setting too! Well done Fisher Price!
The surface that the BeatBelle is used upon can dictate how securely it stays upright and also how audible the motor is inside. We have to say the voice and music easily drowns out the movement robotics in full volume mode. Little Savvy had a Laugh & Learn Puppy, also from Fisher Price, when he was 1 and the motorisation noise on that was far more noticeable. The BeatBelle is a good step forwards, but on the lower volume setting it can make the Fisher Price BeatBelle’s speech sometime trickier to hear clearly.
The last of the buttons, a yellow one, is for games and learning. Again it’s rhyme or music based, but includes games and songs like “Move and Freeze”, “Colours”, “Counting” and the “ABC Dance”.
Pressing the tummy disco light cycles all modes and recordings. Little Savvy’s favourite feature though, had to be the #BeatBoBoogie . This was the signature dance for the range, you only need to search twitter for the hashtag #BeatBoBoogie to see kids enjoying the fun. It should also be added that both Baby Savvy (8 months) and Little Savvy (3 years) happily used the toy together showing that it offered something to both age ranges.
So what about the Fisher Price BeatBo Dance Mat?
Another big hit with the Savvy household, this interactive dance mat is essentially a BeatBo model that clips onto a pivot point in the middle of the dance mat. Once in place it serves as a focus for movement around the mat and was particularly great for Baby Savvy starting to crawl and kneel up obstacles. It encourages upright movement around a central point.
The coloured buttons worked in a similar way to the BeatBelle’s functions offering up tunes and melodies to move around to. As with the BeatBelle the melodies varied in tempo and delivered an array of developmental activities. The mat has led functionality beneath the surface providing a lovely sensory experience, great with the lights out.
Small holes on the interactive pivot base have motion sensors to detect babies or toddlers moving between the mat’s coloured zones and, while a great idea, this proved a little erratic at times. The mat certainly responded best to one child at a time, but still required the children to move at certain speeds to register on the motion sensor (this would be our main note for the developers).
For toddlers the mat’s usage need to be modelled first to get the most out of it. Little Savvy for example would happily jump between sections of the mat, cutting it off mid activity or tune. It needs a degree of adult-led modelling before then allowing them independent enjoyment.
Savvy Dad Verdict: Are they worth our hard earned cash?
If you can find the BeatBelle for anything near £30 it would be a good savvy buy, particularly as it appealed to both baby and toddler and seemed accessible yet robust.
Given the choice between the two toys, we’d elect to get the BeatBelle. This is because it’s well made, inclusive of shared play, supports a range of development areas and is suitable to multiple ages. The Learnin’ Lights mat is great, but we feel it’s lacking clarity on the target audience in terms of age groups aimed at. The motion sensor needs work also. Don’t get us wrong, we still love the Dance Mat, but if dishing out £30-£40 we’re firmly recommending the BeatBelle as our favourite.
Note: Although these samples were provided to use free of charge, the views in this review are our own unbiased opinion. If you represent a manufacturer or PR office and wish us to review a product or service on our family and money saving lifestyle blog please get in contact via firstname.lastname@example.org