I have to admit, my excitement about the arrival of our Evenflo ExerSaucer World Traveler Triple Fun Saucer did quail a bit when I opened the box and saw how much assembly was required. However, it wasn’t as bad as it looked. Most of the parts click into each other easily.
At 6 months old, our baby girl has grown out of liking the playmat stage, so I didn’t set it up for that layout. But for those with younger babes, it’s great to have that option to start with. Instead, I went straight for the ExerSaucer stage. The instructions are adequate, but you do have to carefully study the diagrams to make sure you are putting in the pieces the right way up (or out), so that the next pieces fit in. The first step was probably the hardest, involving hooking a spring to the interior of the feet. I did the first one wrong; it took me several minutes and a screwdriver jammed in as a lever to undo it, so I could fix it.
The only other sticky part was attaching the springs in the legs—the part that makes it bounce. You have to hold the spring in while securing it with the screws, which in reality requires more than two hands. I had my husband hold the spring down, so I could place the screws with one hand and screw them in with the other. The spring kept popping back up when I tried to do it by myself, and I couldn’t get the screws in.
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Overall, it took about an hour to assemble, which isn’t too bad for a piece of gear with this many features. I put it together while baby girl was sleeping, so when she woke up it was all ready for her to try. After she finished playing with the box it came in—first things first, you know—we put her in the ExerSaucer to try it out.
Her eyes were like saucers! There are so many toys on this! I considered putting on just a toy or two at a time, so she could get used to them slowly—but I was too excited for her to see everything. Almost all of the toys have parts that either move or make sounds, so whichever one she plays with, there’s a reaction when she touches it. She’s not quite big enough to consistently push the buttons, but she loves the spinning toys and the mirror.
One minor annoyance I had is that there are three toys that require batteries. Two of them take AAA, and one takes AA. Fortunately, I had enough of both types on hand, but it would be nice if the toys took the same type of batteries if you had to go buy them. On the plus side, each of the three toys have off switches as well as the two volume settings, so you can turn off the noises if they start to bug you.
Where some saucers have a toy and then an empty tray space, this one has toys all the way around, so whichever way baby spins, she can reach at least two toys to play with. So far, we haven’t left her in it for more than 20-30 minutes as a time, as she’s still working on her balance and gets tired, but she hasn’t gotten bored yet and is excited to go back in every time.
The toys are all plastic and are easy to pop out, which makes cleaning easy. The only fabric parts are the seat, which is machine washable, and the padding on the toy bar, which doesn’t get all that dirty. (You can wipe it down with a washcloth if it does.) The height adjustments are spaced well—she just now fits the lowest setting, giving her plenty of room to grow into the next two heights. She can use it until she’s 30 pounds or learns to walk. And after she’s too big for the seat, the ExerSaucer folds out into an activity table, so she can still use the toys.
Because it transforms into an activity table, the feet are designed to be sturdy enough to keep the table steady. This means that it is heavier than usual, and with the weight being at the bottom, it’s awkward to try to move it from room to room. We ended up leaving it in the living room, which is where baby spends most of her awake time. It’s definitely not conducive to travel. However, the sturdiness keeps the ExerSaucer from wobbling when baby is on the floor and wants to pull up on it, so I don’t have to worry about her pinching her fingers or tipping it over.
With as many parts as this toy has, I imagine at some point something will get lost or broken, but the manufacturer website offers replacement parts for individual purchase so you can get just the parts you need.
Overall, we love this ExerSaucer, and it seems our little girl does, too!
Where to buy: amazon.com