The Baby Einstein Count and Compose Piano is the best children’s toy under $15 I have ever seen.
When I was a kid cheap toys consisted of crudely painted plastic objects with a few moving parts.
The Count and Compose Piano is a complete electronic toy with multiple instruments, different music modes, and counting from one-to-five in three different languages.
My 18-week old daughter has been playing with the piano since she was two-months old. She has always liked looking at the piano because of its bright colors. Only recently she has begun to actually play with it as intended.
When she was younger, since she lacked coordination, she would swing her arms wildly towards the piano in an attempt to make it do something. Since she would occasionally connect with one of the keys or hit the spinning tube on top, she would swing over and over again trying to get the piano to make the same sound again.
Baby Playing Count and Compose Piano With Her Feet
Arya’s grandma felt sorry for her and taught her how to kick the keys with her feet. Kicking straight is far easier for young babies than aiming with their hands. In most cases this is likely related to the stepping reflex. In our case, making our baby crawl at five weeks may also have had something to do with it.
Now Arya loves to play the piano with her feet. She points her big toe and uses it to push on the keys. When she gets wants more stimulation she kicks at the plastic tube to make it spin the little balls around.
The Baby Einstein Count and Compose Piano has three major modes: an instrument mode, a baby composer mode, and a counting mode. The major modes are selected with the red dial on the left of the of the piano face.
Count and Compose Piano Instrument Mode
The instrument mode allows babies to play a specific sound with each of the five keys. Similar to a real piano, the pitch increases as babies move from left to right on the piano. Instrument mode has three sub-modes: keyboard, xylephone, and recorder. The sub-modes allow babies to play five different tones of each instrument for a total of fifteen different sounds accessible from instrument mode.
Arya likes instrument mode the best since she prefer to use her feet to stomp out random tunes on the piano. Five notes is sufficient to play a lot more songs than I expected. Partly to entertain Arya and partly to show off my non-existent piano skills to Mommy, I looked up a few songs that we could play with just the five notes on the Baby Einstein Count and Compose Piano.
I’ll try to teach Arya “Mary Had a Little Lamb” first, but I think “When the Saints Go Marching In” or “Ode to Joy” would be much more impressive for her to learn.
Count and Compose Piano Baby Composer Mode
The baby composer mode lets babies play an entire verse by pushing just one key. The composer mode plays one verse, then the baby has to push another key for the song to continue.
Baby composer mode is my least favorite. Since there isn’t a direct connection between each key press and a sound, Arya quickly gets bored of the keys and starts kicking at the spinning tube instead. She much prefers when her actions cause an immediate reaction.
Composer mode may be good for older babies who want to listen to music but are too lazy or too tired to keep punching keys individually.
Count and Compose Piano Counting Mode
Counting mode would be terrific except for one minor design issue. There are two different types of sounds connected with counting mode. The first time a key is pressed, a female voice speaks the number corresponding with the key. So pushing “3”, the orange key, results in a female voice saying “three”. However, the second time the same key is pressed the piano starts playing music. The voice speaks again once another key is pushed.
I would have preferred counting mode to be exclusively counting. To use the piano to teach Arya to count we have to hit each key two times in rapid succession. It’s a minor annoyance for adults, but it’s hard enough for my baby to hit the key she is aiming for a single time.
Counting mode does have a unique feature. The piano counts in three languages, English, Spanish, and French. A yellow mode selector on the bottom, front, right of the piano allows children to choose which language they want to count. If counting mode were restricted to just counting, this trilingual feature would be fantastic. As is, we will still use it, but it will be harder for my daughter to push each key twice every time she wants to hear the counting voice.
Baby Einstein Count and Compose Piano Review Summary
At under $15, the Baby Einstein Count and Compose Piano should be in every child’s toy chest. There are some better piano toys; in particular the Fisher-Price Discover ‘n Grow Kick and Play Piano Gym and the Fisher-Price Interactive Baby Grand Piano.
However while both of the Fisher-Price pianos are higher quality, more interactive, and have additional features, they cost more than three and five times as much as the Baby Einstein Count and Compose Piano.
The Baby Einstein piano is also small enough to leave in a stroller or crib for easy access. Plus with such a low price parents who want a better piano toy would be well served buying the Count and Compose Piano first to gauge interest before spending money on the more expensive version.
The Count and Compose Piano requires three AAA batteries and screwdriver (to remove the battery plate). A new toy comes with a set of batteries already installed.
The Baby Einstein Count and Compose Piano costs (including shipping) $13.49 new from Amazon.