The Smart Bounce & Spin Pony from Fisher Price offers interactive, fun, and educational video games designed to grow with your child through toddlerhood. If your child is between 12 months and 36 months of age, is under 44 pounds, and can sit on the pony unassisted, then she is ready to play.
The pony is actually the controller for educational video games. View larger.
The receiver features kid friendly controls. View larger.
Construction and Design
|What We Think |
(what this means)
The Good: Wireless technology, easy-to-use features, and challenging games make this interactive pony and educational games entertaining and educational for toddlers
The Bad: While it's recommended for children 12 months or older, most 12-month-old children will be too small to use this toy effectively.
In a Nutshell: Interactive pony and its included educational games provide plenty of physical coordination and mental stimulation for toddlers
|At a Glance |
Ages: 12 to 36 months
Requires: 3 AA Batteries and 3 C Batteries; TV
The Smart Bounce & Spin Pony is a molded plastic pony that sits on a wide, sturdy plastic base. But this pony is much more than your standard rocking horse: it is also the actual controller for the included educational video games.
After some quick-and-easy adult assembly (you'll need a Philips screwdriver) and battery insertion (you'll need three AAA batteries and three C batteries), we found it easy to start playing right away. Just plug the included receiver into your television, VCR, or DVD player's audio/video input jacks, and the game introductory screen will appear on the TV. Using wireless technology, the pony's motions control the video games. Your child can bounce and spin while riding the pony to interact with the "learning sites," or games, that she chooses to play.
We found the wireless technology very convenient: we could put the pony anywhere from 3 to 15 feet from the receiver. That said, we discovered that, as recommended, the pony should be positioned on a carpeted surface, since it slides relatively easily on hardwood floors or other smooth flooring material.
Games That Grow With Your Child
The educational games feature simple, colorful animation that's easy for a small child to relate to, as well as perky, bright background music and fun sing-along songs. (Adult caregivers will appreciate that the potentially relentless background music can be shut off during play.) The child causes the animated features to react by bouncing on the pony and turning the drum on the pony's handle.
The Smart Bounce & Spin Pony's five learning sites include: A to Z Zoo; Count & Grow Farm; Colorful Home; Shapes at Shore; and Opposites Playground. Each game can be played at 1 of 3 levels of advancement, which can be selected by an adult using buttons on the receiver.
Level 1 teaches the youngest toddler about action and reaction. For example, in level 1 of the "Colorful Home" game, a puppy appears on the screen and simply makes motions whenever the pony bounces.
Level 2 introduces letters, shapes, numbers, and colors. For example, in level 2 of the A to Z Zoo, each letter of the alphabet appears as the pony bounces, with the onscreen voice naming the letter.
Level 3 allows children to "count along," and works with ideas like opposites and spelling. In level 3 of the Count & Grow Farm, for example, the child makes an animal jump over consecutively numbered hurdles and is encouraged to count along with the game. Spinning the drum on the pony's handle creates additional effects, such as playing new songs or changing the weather in the scene.
Stand Alone Mode
The child can change the game herself with arrow buttons on the pony's handle. If the child stops bouncing, after a short period a pony appears on the screen reminds the child to bounce and get the game going again. It will go into "sleep mode" after three minutes to preserve battery life. Just turn the drum or bounce the pony to start it up again.
Smaller children will especially like that the pony can be played with by itself without the video games. Change the pony's switch to "stand alone mode," and the pony will play its own music while the child bounces and spins. In fact, in our estimation the stationary mode is best for the youngest toddler -- and only with lots of adult help.
While our 22-month-old child tester found it very easy to mount, dismount, and ride the pony, most 12-month old children will not be able to balance safely on it, let alone bounce and spin independently, unless they have prodigy-like athletic abilities.
What's in the Box
Smart Bounce & Spin Pony with base and handlebar; receiver