The Hape Grow With Me Rocking Horse is aimed at babies from 10 months old. Coming with a removable guard rail and back rest, it is designed to outlive most childrens’ toys, whose shelf life is extremely limited. Would it pass the ‘Hectorsaurus’ test?
Baby H was presented with his Rocking Horse fully built on his first birthday and immediately made an enthusiastic wonky crawl-gallop towards it. Due to his screamy-screamy reaction whenever we try and put him ‘in’ things (the buggy, the highchair, the sling…), I had left off the guard rail. There’s nothing quite so lovely as watching a child’s first explorations – the look of delight, the nudging, pulling and pushing as they test it out. I sat him on his horse, but we weren’t quite at that stage yet – there was more experimenting to be done first! Eventually, he clambered up on it, with a little help, and loved pulling and pushing to get it rocking.
Since we’ve had it, his favourite thing to do is to stand next to it and rock it. It’s been great for helping him to discover his feet and balance and also to work on his movement skills. Baby H is a physical baby and so far, his horse has been sat on, rocked and pushed about. He uses the handles to pull himself up, which, due to the rockers, has helped him learn how to self-balance.
The rocking horse is also extremely quick and easy to assemble. My heart sank when I realised it came flat-packed but a few turns of the screws gets it ready for playing with in less than 10 minutes. Yes, I timed it. It’s also simply but securely made, classy and not another garish plastic toy. It’s also easy to look after – you wipe it clean and it seems hard-wearing. I sometimes have a little trouble with the handles, as they can come loose every now and again, but it tastes a few seconds to twist them back in properly.
As someone who was always slightly jealous of a friend’s amazing old fashioned rocking horse as a kid, I’m quite fond of this little one.
Baby H is now fourteen months old and still very much enjoys playing horsie.
If I were stuck for a first birthday gift and I wanted to splash out, I’d choose this. It’s classy, classic and keeps little ones amused. Although I might even suggest they start using it from an earlier age – I think Baby H would have liked this from approximately 8 months old.
Where from: Amazon
How much: £56.59