I had come across Schleich animals before, but I never really paid close attention to them, as I had no reason to. However, my son and I enjoy reading stories, singing songs and nursery rhymes which feature animals in the good majority of them. Of course, all young toddlers love to learn about animals and it is a lot of fun learning the noises they make, it is something which is introduced to children early on. My son has great fun in imitating my poor elephant noise, and he finds it rather amusing too, whenever he sees a picture of an elephant his face will light up and he will make the noise and look at me with excitement.
I decided to look around for a pack of plastic toy animals for my son, after looking around all the usual toy shops I was quite disappointed, as all the plastic animals all looked quite cheap and tacky, not only that, they were quite small and not very true to their colours. I continued my search and whilst browsing around on Amazon in the hope of finding a pack of assorted animals I still couldn't find any that I liked the look of, I sat thinking and remembered the name Schleich, I preformed a search and to my delight there was a vast array of Schleich animals, I was spoilt for choice!
They all looked adorable, but quite pricey with each individual animal being around the £5 mark. Trying not to get too carried away I ordered two different animals, one of which was the Male African Elephant, although we were going to try and make our own farm we just couldn't resist buying the elephant, as he looked magnificent from the picture. There are quite a few different elephants to choose from in the Schleich range, so you can have your own little herd if you wish. I paid £4.00 for this one which I thought was quite dear. However, I believe you get what you pay so I was happy enough to go ahead and order him. The manufactures recommended minimum age is 3 years, however, this is just a guide for parents, I couldn't see there being a problem, and I always keep a close eye on my son whilst he is playing.
When the elephant arrived he came with a tag around his ankle to show that he is an official Schleich figure, this should have a red S on it. I was quite surprised at just how big he is (15.7 x 10.4 x 10.2 cm). He is also fairly heavy too, as an elephant should be then, weighing approximately 341 g. He is beautifully handcrafted from a synthetic material, and he is very tactile. Such intricate detail has gone into creating him giving him a realistic look; all of his features are beautifully crafted right down to his toenails!
He has wrinkles and lines all over his body and marking on his knees and ridges down his trunk, he looks like he has been in the mud, as he has a brown muddy colour to him. Obviously as they are hand painted each one will be ever so slightly different in colour. It is incredible just how much detail has gone into creating him and I'm sure he will be popular with young children and animal lovers that collect elephants. He would certainly look good sat on a shelf in your lounge for decoration.
When I presented him to my son his face lit up, he stared at him before reaching out to take him and he sat admiring him for a while before making an elephant noise. He fits comfortably into my sons hands, and he has enjoyed playing with him and making elephant noises whilst doing so. Thankfully he is very durable, as he has been submersed in water, dropped, chewed and dribbled on, and my son has even attempted to get him to fly. The elephant doesn't seem to mind any of this, and he still looks good with no visible teeth marks or damage to the main body of the elephant, however, the tusks which are a bit delicate have a few marks on, and the material has a small split from where they have been bent around a bit too much, and the tip of one of the tusks is slightly damaged too, I think this adds to his character as elephants tusks are easily damaged and dirtied in real life too.
Although my son is a little young for the Schleich range of animals to fully appreciate them, they will last him for quite some time and he is going to get lots of play out of them. The elephant will promote role play and stimulate a child's imagination. Toddlers will also enjoy pointing out the different features such as, the trunk and ears. As this animal is as close to the real thing it will help teach your child about elephants.
I can only imagine we will have our own little herd of elephants before long, as my son has taken a liking to this one.
This Elephant can be bought on-line from Amazon and other good toy shops such as Toys R us and The Entertainer.
Schleich Website: www.schleich-s.com