Product Type: ELC baby toys
Newest Review: ... we happily blend figures from the two series and for the most part this works very well. * I raised this with ELC customer services alo... more
Happyland Squatters on Fisher Price Farm
ELC HappyLand Farm Animals
Member Name: CrazyEgg
ELC HappyLand Farm Animals
Date: 31/03/13, updated on 26/08/13 (127 review reads)
Advantages: Stand alone play or build a collection
Disadvantages: Pieces may crack
I bought a Fisher Price Little People Farm from Barnadoes for £2.99. Trouble was, all the animals had scarpered, vamoosed! Dusty and neglected the farm had clearly seen better days, but with a bit of elbow grease could be brought back to some semblance of its former glory. I looked on ebay, amazon and other online haunts for replacement Little People farm stock, but the prices were exorbitant: several times the cost of the farm. Some time later I chanced upon a double sale deal in the Early Learning Centre, and bought two Happyland figure sets for £6.40. One of these was the Happyland Happy Farm Animals Set, which contains different animals to those pictured above; I expect it has been updated.
In the Happyland Happy Farm Animals Set you get five plastic figures with nice detailing: 1 pig, 1 sheep, 1 chicken and chick, 1 horse and one cow. This was ample stock for the farm, which conveniently required exactly this selection of animals, and had enclosures for all of them, each capable of making the correct animal noise for its new occupant. The figures come in a small cardboard box with open front, and they have plastic ties securing them in the packaging, which are fiddlesome and annoying to take off. The packaging contains tips for playing with the figures, which basically involve imagining things the animals might do: "jump fences and neigh, or have a good kick as you bray! Baa as you eat grass and cluck as you try to keep your cheeky, cheepy chicks in order".
Baby CrazyEgg sometimes makes her animals do these things, though more often than not it is me that makes the sounds. (She really only does a dog sniffing and a lion roaring at the moment), however, she has clearly learned the names of the animals and the sounds they make as I can ask her to pass me the one that goes "Oink!" for example. Having the farm as a backdrop helps, and Baby CrazyEgg likes to put the animals away for the night in their stalls, or alternatively in the Happyland Post Office or Tea Shop. She has a lot of fun simply lining them up in front of the telly, or hiding them in the washing machine. Something about them appeals and she will take a shine to one or the other and carry it from one room to the next for quite some time. The figures are generally well designed and make a nice collection. They are also easy to wipe clean.
One concern I have is that the sheep is cracked at the base, and as Baby CrazyEgg is not rough or boisterous when playing with these I am surprised. I have removed it from play in case a bit snaps off. We have only had the figures out for playing since Christmas so this is disappointing. * However, judging from other reviews I think this must be an exceptional case, so they will only lose one star for this. We have recently purchased a jungle animal set for Baby CrazyEgg's birthday at the end of May (to go with the FisherPrice jungle from Barnadoes, whose animals had all escaped) so this fault has not put us off Happyland, just made us more aware of the need to check the figures periodically.
It may be that you are reading this because your child has reached play-figure age, and you are wondering whether to stick to one brand as your collection grows or whether it doesn't really matter. Two of the main collections are the Fisher Price Little People range and the Early Learning Centre's Happyland. The former is a slightly bigger and chunkier range suitable from age 12 months. The latter, a slightly more detailed and smaller collection suitable from 18 months. A key difference is out of sight on their bases- the Happyland figures have a tiny hole that enables them to be seated securely in Happyland vehicles and so on, since these products have a tiny plastic 'spike' that they fit onto. The Little People on the other hand have a much bigger hole in their base, with corresponding bigger 'spike' on their vehicles. I think it is this that makes them suitable for the younger age group since the movement to place them in their various carriages and cars etc requires a lesser precision of movement. Despite this difference, we happily blend figures from the two series and for the most part this works very well.
* I raised this with ELC customer services along with another query about a different toy. They were surprised and agreed it should not have cracked. They sent us a replacement pack of figures to make up for 'any disappointment caused.'
Summary: An appealing set of play figures for toddlers
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