Critter Conga ($40) is an award-winning instrument set, which include a set of snake sticks (i.e. drum sticks), a twister hand drum, two giraffe maracas, a monkey shaker (tube with balls that rattle around when you turn it upside down), crocodile clacker and three whistle toys (bird, antelope and elephant). Everything comes packaged in a large plastic leopard head that doubles as a conga drum and the lid doubles as 10-bell tambourine lid.
My daughters (20-months-old and almost 3-years-old) were immediately drawn to the colors and the animals, plus they love instruments. The instruments seem to be quite durable (after two weeks nothing is broken, which in my house says a lot) and they seem to be more durable than some of the Melissa & Doug instruments we have. The girls also haven’t lost interest in this toy, and they’ve even assimilated it into their other instrument play (which also includes Music Together instruments).
One of the things I love about this toy is that even though it’s plastic, there was literally no packaging to throw away, everything comes in the plastic drum and the lid is part of the toy too. Plus everything stays stored in the drum so there’s no need to take up space in a toy box!
There are a few things I didn’t love. I think $40 is pricey for plastic toys. Also, out of 12 instruments, three of them are whistles. I’m not a fan of whistle instruments for kids because I don’t want them sharing things that go in their mouths. Also, it’s hard for kids to get the whistle to work, which means someone has to show them.
The bottom line is, my kids really enjoy this toy, and they use it, so the price tag is a little easier to take.
Available at Costco and Costco.com.