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March 21, 2008

Baby Jamz - It's all about the music

Baby Jamz, created by Mathew (Beyonce's father)and Solange Knowles (her sister) is the first hip hop/rhythm-inspired toy line. Available exclusively at Wal-Mart I tried out the Baby Jamz Nursery Rhymes Volume 1 CD, Cell Phone and Baby Jamz Music Crew all designed to stimulate and promote learning and movement through the use of music.

The Baby Jamz Cell Phone ($8.88) is bright red with multi-colored short ribbon pieces in the place of the antenna. Geared for ages six months and up this colorful phone is easy to use and plays up to three different songs, such as 'Buckle My Shoe' and 'Mary Had A Little Lamb' when the large buttons are pushed. My two year-old daughter didn't have much interest in this phone. She likes the music it plays but quickly became bored with it. It is a little too simple for her it seems. she likes more complex toys and since this phone only needs to have one or two buttons pressed in order to play music she quickly grew tired of it and it became lost in the toy bin. I think younger children and babies would love the bright colors, buttons, music and ribbons as it is very stimulating. It will keep them busy at home, in the car or while you are running errands.

Baby Jamz Music Crew ($4.88) has become a big hit in our house. From the moment I opened the package my child clamored for it! There are three different versions of this toy and we received the red one. It plays a modified hip hop version of 'Hush Little Baby'. If you are a stickler like me then this song might begin to grate your nerves. The wording is changed and Solange sings the word bling instead of diamond in this version. My daughter however, could care less. She put her music crew to the test repeatedly placing the two figures on and off the music box to get it to play the tune. While she loved this toy and learned the song quickly no one else in our house could share the love. The fact that it only plays one song wears on an adult and it feels very cheaply made. I expected it to play more than one song with two figures to place on the music box but no matter what button is pushed it plays the same 20-second version of 'Hush Little Baby'. It was disappointing.

Finally, we reviewed the CD, 'Nursery Rhymes Volume 1' ($10.47) which accompanies the line. It has classic favorites like 'This Old Man', 'Old MacDonald' and 'Skip to My Lou' all in a new hip-hop adaptation. All the songs are sung by Solange Knowles on this CD and she has a pleasant voice just like her sister. I really expected my daughter to love this CD since she likes the songs all the other Baby Jamz items played. Yet, it had no effect on her. We played it at home and in the car repeatedly and it did not engage her. Then again, she is more of a techno or psychedelic music fan so what could I expect. I had hopes though because I want her to learn these songs and it was a good refresher for me to hear them. It was nice to hear a kids CD that did not sound either too babyish and interpreted in a new way. I liked it better than she did. I'm hoping she'll come around.

While I did not fall in love with the Baby Jamz line of musical toys myself, my daughter did. I think that it is fun way to get kids into the classic nursery rhyme songs and in a way that isn't sickly sweet. There are many other items in this line to check out as well so even if these don't do it for you then others surely will.

This review brought to you by Team Mom.