Last month, we were sent a Cicciobello Sunny doll for review. I jumped at the chance to review him, because Sunny is more than just a doll. As you can see from the picture above, he comes with a cool pair of sunglasses, as well as a UV sensor necklace for him, and a wrist band for his owner. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to teach S about being safe in the sun.
During the summer at nursery all children wear sun cream, and they reapply it before they go outside – but I think S only does that because she’s told to, not necessarily because she knows why. Similarly, she wears her sunglasses (which do have a UV filter) to make it easier to see in the sunshine, but doesn’t really get that she needs to protect her eyes. I decided to use Sunny and his clever UV sensor wristband to help show S why sun cream and sun glasses are important. His skin also changes colour in the sun, like a sun tan – as you can see from the photo below.
S loves Sunny, I think that was mostly to do with his cool sunglasses to begin with! We took him out on a sunny afternoon in February, and I encouraged her to keep an eye on the UV sensors on her wrist and around Sunny’s neck. She took her role very seriously, watching the wristband change colour as we walked:
As you can see from the sensor around sunny’s neck in this picture, the four different colours around the outside show the level of UV – and the faces ranging from smiling to frowning make it easy for children to understand. What shocked me was that this was mid February, and we walked literally two blocks from our house in the sunshine, before the sensors were dark purple. S and I talked about how this meant we would need to put on a hat and sun cream. As someone who grew up in the 1980s, when sun cream was more of a luxury – or a novelty when we bought brightly coloured sun block – I found it truly shocking that the sun can be that strong in February!
The doll itself looks like an ordinary doll and has the usual opening/closing eyes and moving arms and legs – but his skin does change colour under UV light, which is good for showing children the damage the sun can cause to skin. The only problem we found that was as soon as we lifted his top or his sunglasses to see the “tan lines” – the sunlight hit that area and the skin changed colour, so there was no line to see! It was great for S to be able to see his skin changing colour though, and the UV sensors are also very useful.
The only problem I really had with this doll was that his sunglasses come apart really easily – the arms snap off easily, and although they’re easy to snap back on again, they’re also easy to lose – we’ve lost one arm already! S loves him though and even with broken sunglasses, she wants to take him out in her buggy all the time, and to show her friends the UV sensors which is great.
As S is only 3 I didn’t explain the whole reasoning behind wearing sun cream; I thought skin cancer was a bit too much for her to understand. She seemed happy enough with the explanation that “dark purple means we either cover up or put on cream” but I think as she grows older (probably next summer, eek!) this doll is a great way to help explain the dangers of spending too much time in the sun.
The Cicciobello Sunny Doll costs around £30 from most toy stores.
I was provided with a Cicciobello Sunny Doll free of charge for the purposes of review, but that was not dependent on my writing a favourable review. All words and opinions are my own.