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on June 24, 2014
I am torn in reviewing this toy. Here's why: The toy is definitely well-made, will not come apart, will not break unless subjected to massive violence. It definitely builds motor skills, hand-eye-coordination, and even thinking skills--as deciding which colors should be up or down or evenly matched in height requires some intricate choice and physical application. So, the toy is a great toy!

But . . .

You are basically giving your child a miniature of Thor's hammer. Not a hollow plastic hammer, mind you. No, no. This is a toddler weapon the great god of thunder would approve of. Two solid wooden pieces held together very well. The head of the hammer is sculpted to allow attacks from many interesting angles. Great for the toy. Not so great if your little one might decide to go "a-viking" during a playgroup, family get-together, or school function.

Like the mighty Mjolner, this hammer throws well, flies fast and far, and can kill the mightiest of trolls. Or televisions. Or PC's. Or Grandma.

So . . . the only reason I take a star off is because of the deadly weapon that comes with this awesome toy. Maybe it should have been fastened by a cable to the toy, Melissa & Doug? It's not cool that parents have to do this thinking for you. But we love Grandma. Having our toddler turned Thor send her to the hospital is not our idea of fun.

If your child is meek and kind and dependably non-violent, go for it. GREAT TOY! If your little one may just be a conqueror of lands reincarnated into this tiny body, please beware the hammer!
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on December 14, 2014
I was excited to buy this for my 9 month old boy, should have realised something was wrong when I saw fine sawdust in the package. Was beyond shocked when I opened it up and saw holes drilled all over by wood-borers/wood-worms or whatever creepy-crawlies. And they were alive! Peeping out of the holes now and then to take in their new neighbourhood. Trashed them almost immediately but still can't get over it, and to think my boy loves chomping on almost anything he gets his hand on.

I'm usually empathetic towards the typical difficulties companies have putting out products in the marketplace and getting everything right, competing isn't easy. But this is unacceptable and should never have happened. Just poor, poor, quality controls.
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on June 1, 2013
I remember seeing a version of this toy from a major toy manufacturer when I was a child which prompted me to purchase this one for my grandson. This toy is more complex than the old pure wood version but there's something lacking in this new version. I believe it has to do with the ease in which all of the pegs move in the current version. There's very little resistance when pushing the pegs down now. The hammer is superfluous as the child can easily push each peg with minimal effort. The old wood version required the use of the hammer to move the pegs. This problem could easily be remedied by redesigning the toy with a knob to adjust the amount of friction required to move each peg. That's my only complaint about this toy, otherwise it's very well constructed.
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on December 22, 2014
I think my 16-month old grandson is going to love this! I got it as a last minute CHRISTMAS present and it arrived very quickly. I remembered how much my kids loved this little bench and assumed their kids will love it as much as they did. I especially like the feature that you can't pound the pegs all the way out. That way they can't put them in their mouth and chew on them or lose them. We also bought him a Melissa and Doug piano which I have already reviewed. With a piano and a pounding bench I have a feeling there will be lots of noise going on in their house...exactly what grandparents are for!!
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on April 28, 2016
Thought my one year old son would really enjoy this but it isn't nearly as satisfying to hammer on as a traditional "tap and turn" kind. The box I put it in however has been played with for months. I can't tell you how this would hold up under use because its collecting dust in the corner.
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on July 18, 2013
So I love the hammer toys but hesitated to buy one since they aren't fun after you lose all the balls or whatnot. Well, this is a really neat idea and the little one loves it so far. The mallet is well built and doesn't seem likely to fall apart - but only time will tell. The table with the pegs is sturdy, low to the ground and has fairly wide 'legs'. When you hammer one of the pair it goes down while the other side goes up. Great for gross motor skills, colors, cause and effect recognition, and just plain fun. Even helps some with fine motor skills if your little one tries to pull each peg out but can't like mine. My little one got this around 7 months old but didn't make the best use of it until about 12 months and loves it. My friends 4 year old came over and loved it too!
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on May 2, 2016
Hello everybody. I recently purchased this item for my son. I had one similar when I was a child as I remember the pegs getting so worn they hardly needed pushed any more to go through. This one from Melissa & Doug is great. The pegs don't come out but push the corresponding peg across up. This makes constant fun for my little one. Plus the pegs won't get lost! My pounding bench I believe only had 2 pegs left. The only bad part is the constant pounding. You can't take the pegs away for the tap tap tapping is non-stop. If you can handle the pounding, I recommend this item. If you can't handle the pounding, then I recommend this for your friend's, or your enemies, child.
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on February 21, 2016
Got this for my 20 month old son - I think he was too old for it. It doesn't hold his interest for long at all. My 14 month old neighbor though loves it whenever he comes over, so I think we just missed the opportunity for play with our kid. The good thing about this toy though is the fact that the pegs don't fall out at all. Saves mom from cleaning up roll-away pieces and having to search on hands and knees to see where they rolled away to!
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on December 30, 2014
I bought this for my 1.5 yr old son for Christmas. He absolutely loves it; however, I definitely need to follow the recommendation of attaching the mallet to the bench. Within minutes of opening, my son gave my 4yr old daughter a whack to the head. After some closely supervised play, the toy was put out of reach until my husband drills a hole in the handle and attaches it to the bench with only enough lead to hit the pegs. I understand my son is still young, but I'm sure even an older child could inadvertently hurt someone (or break something) with the included mallet. Four-star product as-is, but could be a five-star with just the slight modification. Overall this is a great toy I know my son will enjoy for a long time.
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on April 8, 2016
Great quality and packaging. I'm sure my boyfriend's neice will love it. Although it says 2+ for age there are no tiny pieces so I'm sure it will be appropriate for a 1 year old.
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