My sister is now a music teacher, and when I was growing up a lot of the activities that we did were focused around music as both of us learnt several instruments and were in bands and ensembles. Since Kit was born we've been re-living my musical past through numerous visits to bounch and rhyme and songtime sessions at the libraries, and through a growing collection of instruments at home. So when Plan Toys offered us a chance to test out their Melody Xylophone I was happy to accept.
Kit has a simple five-bar xylophone (actually it is the Plan Toys Oval Xylophone) which he has enjoyed playing for a while. The Melody Xylophone is the next stage on. With a whole octave of bars it allows you to learn to play actual songs. With the Xylophone you get a set of song-cards which set out the notes to be played, both by colour coding and by their placement on a stave. The bars on the xylophone match the colour of the notes for simplicity, my only criticism is that it would have been a fantastic opportunity to use letter-matching too as the bars on the xylophone have the letter on them but the notes on the music do not. It is a fantastic start to trying to learn to read music though, in linking the letters on the bars to match the bar of the stave the coloured note is.
I'll be honest, Kit is in no way ready to be reading the music at the moment anyhow, he isn't that focused, but I have no doubt that in the next few months he will learn to master one of the songs, and I think the fact he can have tuneful enjoyment out of it already and will still be learning from it later shows that it is the kind of toy that spans the ages. There is the added bonus that you (as the parent) can have a go at playing the songs and get your child to sing along, which is what we did too. It appealed even more because some of the songs were in French and Kit is currently learning French at pre-school so this supported his learning in that sense too.
We are big fans of Plan Toys already, not just because they are an environmentally friendly, ethical company, but because they make beautiful, good quality toys which Kit loves to play with. I'm looking forward to watching how his ability with the xylophone develops and am glad to now include it to our ensemble.
Disclaimer: We were sent a Plan Toys Melody Xylophone for free, for the purpose of the review. Any opinions are our own.