“ Brand: ELC / Age: 18 months / Type: Playsets „
We own a few happyland sets, this being one of them. We bought this set as, living under the Heathrow flight path at the time, one of my daughter's first words was "plane", probably as they used to go over the house on their way up into the sky around every 5 minutes.
This set currently costs £25.00 from ELC and contains a plane, control tower, a helicopter, a motorbike, windsock and 3 characters. It also comes with a runway play mat.
So is it any good?
Whilst the set does encourage role play and imagination it does have a few things that could really be better. Firstly the plane - though it makes a sound and has a rotor blade that turns it is actually quite frustrating for toddlers to play with. The actual propeller blade and engine fall off the front of the plane continually, which would be a bit of a problem with a real plane! As the engine unit contains the battery they have designed it to come out easily - it comes out too easily.
The control tower is a little small to be of any real use, in 5 years of play no child has ever put a character in the tower as in the ELC picture, so the tower just sort of sits there. I am not really sure either why there is a motorbike with the set, it doesn't seem very logical to me, a little fire engine might have been nicer particularly given the plane's issues! The helicopter has a clicking turnable rotor blade and has been better designed than the rest of the set, the runway play mat is fair, and quite durable but a little mean on size.
Nonetheless the set does provide quite good play value, but I do think that it is a little pricey for what it is, so perhaps a set to consider when it is on offer, at an extra £5 the Roseland cottage is much better value.
We no longer live under the flight path, so no longer are there planes taking off over the house every 5 minutes, but this little set is a reminder of that time and was a first birthday present that is still being played with four years later. Overall this set is worth considering, but it is not one of the better Happyland sets available.
This Christmas, Toby was very lucky to receive a few more Happy Land sets, to add to his collection. The very first present he happened to one was the Happy Land Airport.
The set includes:
Aeroplane ~ A red bi-plane style aircraft, with blue wheels, and blue rotor blade, it can hold two Happy Land characters. A blue button on the front makes a neeooowww type noise, whilst the rotor blade makes a noise which sounds like the engine starting up. The front yellow nose with the rotor on can be removed, it is behind here that the batteries can be changed, (if you want too!) when the old ones run out.
Helicopter ~ The orange and blue helicopter, is quite basic compared with the aeroplane, one character can sit in it at any one time, the only thing it does is: the rotor blade on top turns round, you have to hold it and twist it yourself. This makes a clicking noise as it rotates.
Control Tower ~ This orange, green and brown tower, is also very basic, it has a radar on top which can be turned around, but other than that, it is just a tower that can be placed in Happy Land, where the aeroplane or helicopter can receive messages about landing or taking off. Compared to the other Happy Land sets, this building could have contained more detail, or made a noise in some way.
Bike ~ I'm not sure why this is included, but it is a bike with side car, exactly the same as the one in the police station set, however this one is blue.
Playmat ~ You get a small plastic playmate in this set, which shows a strip of grass and a runway running beside. We decided not to use it, as it doesn't lay flat, due to the creases when it was folded and packed in the box. We have a 2m x 1m road rug, which Toby uses for his cars and other Happy Land sets, so we use this for the Airport as well.
Characters ~ you get 3 characters in this set, 1~ lady with headphones and microphone set, she obviously works in the control tower, giving directions to the pilots 2~ pilots, a younger man with flying goggles over his eyes. Wearing a brown flying jacket and red scarf. The older pilot, has his goggles on his forehead, he has a moustache, and wears a blue flying jacket with a yellow scarf. The 2 pilots have an old fashioned flying look to them, which works well with the bi-plane, but not something a child nowadays would recognise. These characters have been made in exactly the same way as all the other Happy Land characters we have: they are made of plastic, and hollow in the middle. A very good size, and weight for a little child's hands.
This is definitely one of the most played with toys that Toby received. He has started taking an interest in aeroplanes and helicopters, pointing to them in the sky, he even sees the ones that are so far away, I can barely see them myself.
The aeroplane in Toby's favourite, he spins the rotor blades around, presses the button and pretends to fly all round the room, making aeroplane noises. When he hasn't got the aeroplane in his hands, he has his arms out to the sides, pretending to be an aeroplane himself.
Although I don't like the look of the Control tower, I do think it is a good addition to the set, as Toby gets older, and talking more, we can incorporate it into his play, encouraging the plane and helicopter to land and take off safely, giving details about destinations etc. This can develop his knowledge of the world around him and learn about other countries and can be followed through when/if you go on holiday by plane.
We are fairly lucky that we don't live too far from Gatwick, so we can easily go there and see the planes, and point out the control tower. This is always a good day out for any youngster, an opportunity to develop lots of skills, including: language and imagination.
At £20 this is quite an expensive set to buy any youngster, the mat could do with being made from material rather than plastic, and the control tower could have more detail. Other than that any child who is collecting Happy Land and is into aeroplanes would love it.
Thank you for reading my review
Nicola x 01/03/08
Touch down at HappyLand Airport. Includes control tower, plane, helicopter, motorcycle, 3 characters and playmat.