“ Brand: Hasbro / AGe: 3 Years+ / Type: Clay „
My niece has just celebrated a birthday, and she loves to bring her presents over every time she visits which is quite often. One of her presents was a Dora playdoh fun factory. She loves Dora and my 2 year old loves playdoh, so when she spied that, the two of them had hours of fun playing together which was quite nice.
I had also previously bought this for our three year old god daughter last Christmas and had spent a short while investigating it with her when she opened it.
Included in the fun factory set you get a playdoh contraption machine which squeezes the playdoh through and out, making different shapes as it goes, two different shape rulers, a plastic tool, a Dora figure which acts as a shape cutter, and two pots of play doh.
All this tucked into a smallish box will cost around £7. It's on the cheaper end of the play doh fun sets, but the tools you get are limited so this is probably why, and not forgetting of course you are paying for the name.
Whilst the two children were tugging at the pots of play doh, I spent the short while investigating the machine. It's basically two pieces of plastic slotted together that acts as a press, which when you place the lump of play doh inside, it will be forced through the hole at the front. To get different shapes from the hole, you need to slide the shape tool across the front of the machine. This isn't a job for a four year old and definitely not a two year old, so I had the wonderful job of changing the tools each time. It was fairly easy just to slide across the front but I found when the children tried to do it, they didn't manage to line them up properly and a weird mush would arrive from the front of the machine.
Both children loved the Dora figure and fought over it well. I had a few goes with it and found that it acted better as a Dora imprint rather than a shape cutter. Once my niece realised this she was quite happy with a piece of play doh and flattening it out to make Dora shapes for a while in little play doh frames. My two year old was mastering the same effect but by accident bless her.
I found the plastic cutting tool to be rather obsolete in the packet. It was ok to pretend to trim the edges off the shapes being made, but really it isn't needed in this pack. I think with the shapes provided in this play doh set, you will get more fun from making weird shapes and squishing them again before repeating the same process over again.
The actual machine worked well and I found there wasn't too many stray pieces of play doh left inside the holes. The first time we used this, of course both the pots of play doh came out and subsequently the two different colours got a bit mixed together. This is inevitable when two children play with the same toy I think.
You do need to remember to clean the machine after use as I could see that if you left it, despite only small amounts being left, there would be a clog eventually, and then it could become crusty and difficult to remove. The shape rulers can easily be washed up in soapy water to clean.
There were enough different shapes in the rulers to keep both children amused for ages and they were making necklaces and bracelets before making different shaped ones. Compared to some of the bigger sets of play doh you can buy, this is a very basic set and I think you really have to like Dora to get the benefit of the set. My two year old doesn't care at the moment as long as she is mashing play doh between her fingers, but I could tell from the four year old that she would have become bored had she not kept going back for the pretty Dora figure which she could press into the dough.
The actual pots of play doh were quite small, so you might want to have some more on hand, as by the time little bits have been dropped and left in the shapes, you would deplete your supply after a few uses. I did find that the second time she brought it over and we used it; the dough has gone slightly hard due to the air. We obviously hadn't closed one of the lids properly, so a bit of kneading was required to soften it up again.
Overall this is a great set for any Dora fan but if you're buying it for the play doh aspect then buy something else.
Dora the explorer fun factory is made by playskool so you know it is going to be a good quality well lasting toy as i have found all of there toys to be great, the fact that it is dora had the added appeal in our house with my 4 year old being dora mad at the moment.
Included in this set you get a dora the explorer stamper which is a very good size, it is a circular base which has doras face on the bottom to stamp onto your playdoh and has a dora figurine on the top to make it easy for little hands to get a good grip of the stamper, it is made of a solid flexible rubber material so wont break easily.
A large purple and pink plastic playdoh machine that looks like a press, to use this you put the playdoh in the hole and press the top down for it to push the playdoh out through a grill that has 8 sections in it to give strips of playdoh. On the base of this there are cut outs of a train, duck and a face for you to push playdoh into to make shapes.
A little red plastic knife is included to cut your playdoh which obviously isnt sharp.
You also get two long pieces of red plastic with shapes cut out so that you can attach them to the front of the press, my daughters found this hard to do on there own as they are stiff to go in, they have a cloud, lightning, leaf, window,waves and a star shape aswell as two others that i have no idea what they are, when you press the top of the press down the playdoh is pushed out through these to give playdoh strips in the shape of the items.
A tub of blue and yellow playdoh.
This is a great set and my daughters had hours of fun playing with it yesterday, the age on it is 3plus which i think is apropriate, this cost me £4.99 which was worth every penny, it is very well made and will with stand children being rough with it so should last quite a while.
I bought the Dora The Explorer Fun Factory for my twins birthday gifts along with an In The Night Garden play doh product and we've played with them together, which highlights many of the differences and advantages.
I bought my gifts in 3 for 2 offers at Boots, this one was £6.00, compared to the other at £13.00 but both have variations on play and stimulus which make them worth buying.
The main feature of this plastic playset is the press, illustrated on the box as the largest item, there's a gap to pop playdough into, then press down the handle and it oozes out of the hole at the end of the press. The red strips are shape strips, each featuring cut outs such as stars, circles and triangles which when slotted in front of the front gap of the press, makes the dough ooze in interesting shapes, of course.
One of my twins quickly found the design flaw in the press by trapping her fingers in the side and found herself unable to release it, thankfully they are always supervised when playing with play dough so I could deal with it quickly. There was no major injury, just pinched skin but that was enough to make her cry. Sadly it happened more than once.
The other glitch with the press is that dough gets stuck in places difficult to retrieve it from and which serves no purpose.
The lower part of the handle is hollow and accessed through a grid support underneath, so dough ends up in all the nooks and crannies. It may have been cost effective to make but the design is not ideal for it's purpose and some dough is lost.
There's Dora stamp shape, a figure of Dora which features a raised relief stamp on the base which is great for creating quick images in the dough.
Speaking of dough, there are two small tubs, one in yellow and one in blue, not specifically Dora colours but close enough to some of the specific shades used on the characters.
Finally there's a small and very blunt knife, safe for use with toddlers but still not really ideal unless supervised.
It says suitable for ages 3+ and although it is when supervised, some of the equipment would be better for children aged around 5 in my opinion. If there was a guard on the press I would have felt it was well marketed for age but since there isn't, supervision is essential.
The play scope is fairly endless, playdough after all is an imagination and craft item, pliable to suit many purposes and huge variations of play so I don't feel that the play set is limited despite it's few pieces.
It all fits back into the cardboard box after use, which is better than the ITNG playset which required disassembly to go back in the box. Keeping it in the box means we don't lose the separate components so I was pleased to notice that it would easily fit.
At £6.00 it's a reasonable price. There are others on the market of similar designs and prices and you could put together quite an exhaustive kit of your children's favourite characters, though frankly baking equipment will entertain most children with homemade play dough.
If you decide to buy it, I'd recommend buying at Boots and taking advantage of their 3 for 2 offers and advantage card points to really make the most of it.
All in all a great product, somewhat flawed but still with great play interest.
Squeeze, shape and mould all kinds of crazy shapes with Dora and her fun factory.