Most of Jessica and Sophie’s Christmas toys this year were sets that encouraged imaginative play – farms, animals, a toy garage and cars, houses and people. Add a double-sided rug with a road layout on one side and a farm layout on the other and it was perfect for creating a toy village in the front room.
The toy ‘village’ consisted of the following:
- Fisher Price Little People Fun Sounds Farm
- Fisher Price Little People Happy Sounds Home
- Peppa Pig Deluxe Playhouse plus car and swings
- VTech Toot Toot Drivers Garage plus various vehicles
- Playmobil 1.2.3 Farm
Fisher Price Little People farm and house
These are ideal for both Jessica and Sophie as the play pieces are large enough for little hands with no tiny pieces that can be swallowed. Both the girls loved playing with both the farm and the house. The farm comes with a farmer, cow, horse and sheep (plus a chicken inside the farm) and the door makes various noises when it is opened and closed (moo, baa etc.) which Sophie particularly loved plus the dial on the front changes the setting from daytime to night-time as well as playing various songs.
Jessica preferred the house and I loved the level of detail with the moulded pieces inside the house – including the toilet that makes a flushing noise and the telephone which rings. Like the farm, there is a dial to change from daytime to night-time and pressing buttons activates different songs. There are three floors with various moulded furniture built into the house plus extra furniture pieces, a car, mum, dad and baby figures.
These were probably my favourite of all the new toys – sturdy, well made and lots of different features to keep both girls entertained plus being chunky enough to be completely safe for both girls to play with. The only downside for me is that both the farm and the house are quite large and so finding somewhere to store them when the girls aren’t playing with them was a little bit of a challenge!
The Fisher Price farm and house are both currently available at Argos for £30.99.
Peppa Pig Deluxe Playhouse with car and swings
Like most toddlers, Jessica loves Peppa Pig and was very happy with the house which came with Peppa and George figures plus she also received a car and swings from the Peppa Pig range. This set is supposedly suitable from 18 months although I found that some of the pieces were far too small for me to be comfortable with either child playing with them – in particular Peppa’s and George’s bikes – which were removed from the set very quickly for this reason. Both Jessica and Sophie still have a tendency to put toys in their mouths and the swing set in particular suffered as a result of this – the swings clip to the frame with a C-shaped clip which very quickly become distorted from both girls having a little chew on it rendering it completely useless.
The house has two floors and several furniture pieces – including bunk beds for Peppa and George (with detachable ladder), bath, sofa, table and chairs and TV. The bathroom floor and stairs for the house clip on separately and the steps need to be removed before the house can fold up again. I found that the sections of the house came apart very easily and overall it felt quite flimsy. The figures don’t sit well on the furniture as the surfaces of the pieces are quite slippery and it didn’t capture the girls’ interest for as long as the other toys. For me, this was my least favourite of the toys – too many small accessories and a design that doesn’t stay together particularly well – it felt much less well-made than the other toys in the ‘village’.
The Peppa Pig deluxe playhouse is currently available from Argos at £29.99 (car and swings not included)
VTech Toot Toot Drivers’ Garage
Sophie recently received the Toot Toot Drivers’ train station as a birthday present. Both the girls have loved playing with it and so the garage was also a big hit with them. I loved the fact that the pieces from the train station integrate with the rest of the range and so the track also connects to the garage. The garage has a ramp, car wash, lift, petrol station and various smartpoints which the vehicles respond to by making different sounds (for example, announcing that they’ve parked). It comes with a tow truck and we also added three emergency vehicles and the cargo train to our collection at Christmas. It’s another toy that’s study and well made with lots of features to keep the girls amused and is safe for both Sophie and Jessica to play with.
The VTech Toot Toot Drivers’ Garage is currently available from Amazon at £29.25
Playmobil 1.2.3 Farm
Playmobil 1.2.3 is the toddler version of Playmobil with larger chunkier pieces – and the farm is suitable from 18 months, although most of the pieces were chunky enough for Sophie to be able to play with safely at 14 months old. This was probably Jessica’s favourite of the new toys. She loved setting up all the furniture pieces (beds, chairs, table and kitchen units) inside the farmhouse plus pulling the cord to lift the sacks up to the top of the house on the winch. There were several animals included – a cow, pig, sheep, horse, dog (with kennel) and cat plus a cart for the horse and three people.
I loved the fact that this also felt well-made; the pieces (with one or two exceptions) were chunky enough to be safe for both girls to play with and there were enough different pieces to keep them entertained for a while.
The Playmobil 123 Farm is currently available from Amazon for £46.69.
We had a fun afternoon playing with all the buildings, vehicles, people and animals in our village and it was lovely to see Jessica in particular using her imagination when playing. Sophie was mostly interested in demolishing buildings where possible and rearranging the contents across the playmat which caused some frustration from Jessica at times but on the whole the girls played quite happily together for some time and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
The toys reviewed were all bought as Christmas gifts. All thoughts and opinions are my own.