Product Type: ELC baby toys
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Market day fun
ELC HappyLand Happy Market
Member Name: pandapaws
ELC HappyLand Happy Market
Advantages: Durable, colour and word recognition, nice alongside other Happyland items. Good fun for kids.
Disadvantages: Buying whole range can get pricey! Some kids may bore of it easily.
This little set is part of the Early Learning Centre's 'Happyland' range, which comprises of buildings, vehicles and people which together make up a storybook style town. The beauty of this is that you can pick and choose the bits that you want (or that happen to be on promotion at the time!) and the bits that you think will particularly interest your child.
The market set is one of the smaller 'buildings' in the range, and works well alongside some of the larger shops, although depending on how interested your child is in playing with these sort of toys, it could be used on it's own.
What do you get?
This comes in an attractive but slightly oversized box with the usual assortment of Krypton Factor wires and tapes holding it all together for display purposes. Once you've finally managed to get all the bits and pieces out, you have:
2 market stalls (which are not joined together despite the picture)
1 little truck with space for a driver and one box of fruit/flowers at the back
1 greengrocer figure (stereotypical old bloke. Which is good, I like stereotypes. They're stereotypes for a reason!!)
1 lady who can be either a shopper or the florist. Nice pink dress and hat!
3 crates of fruit/veg which fit on the slots on the greengrocery stall
3 pots of flowers/plants which fit in the slots on the flower stall.
All of these are made of sturdy plastic with lots of bright colors. The fruit boxes have a slightly squidgier texture than many other similar ranges, therefore slightly gentler on the gums should your little one decide to take a bite!
The amount of fun your child will get out of this depends very much on the individual child, their age and level of concentration. My 2yr old son enjoys putting the man in the truck which he then crashes into the Market stall/furniture/cat with great hilarity. He likes pointing to the fruit and veg that he recognises and telling me the names and colours, and loading these onto the back of the truck. We also have a bakery store and the fruit boxes and cake boxes are interchangeable, which makes it even more interesting for him.
To be honest, the market-stalls and people are probably the pieces that get the least attention from my son, he'd rather play with the vehicle and boxes. Perhaps that's a 'boy' thing. Overall, it's definitely not one of his favourite toys, and he probably wouldn't notice if it disappeared but as part of the larger Happyland set it's a nice addition and something that he does enjoy playing with.
Parental annoyance factor
I think a lot of the benefit kids get from toys depends on how much the parents themselves like the toys and therefore actually play with them (or even get them out - we've got so many things hidden in cupboards because they're just too much hassle! Bad mother.)
This toy, alongside most other pieces of Happyland that we have, scores quite well: it doesn't need any assembly, it doesn't take up much room to store, there's no mess to tidy up afterwards, it doesn't continually break or need re-assembled during play, it doesn't need batteries or make annoying noises (although other items in the set do) and it's pretty safe to leave unattended with kids in the recommended agegroup (which I think is 18mths+). However it's not something that's going to keep a 2yr old engaged in lone play for hours on end, there simply isn't enough of it to do that, so be prepared for lots of parental involvement and to have to invent little scenarios to engage your child's imagination. Which we should be doing anyway really!
Value for money
I got this toy as part of a larger set which included several other larger buildings, but I think the individual price is £10 (although there are often ELC discounts available - just read in another review that you can join their birthday club for 20% off). I wouldn't say this is outstanding value as it works out at about a quid per piece that you're getting, but that's not the worst in the world and it is very durable and would easily last it's way through countless children as a hand-me-down or for a bit of re-sale cash on Ebay.
All in, it's a bit of plastic that your kids may or may not take a liking to. Perhaps slightly more appropriate for girls if your child conforms to traditional preferences, but definitely suitable for both. Worth a tenner if you've got the patience to play with it alongside your toddler, otherwise likely to be another bit of plastic that doesn't get much attention. 4* from me as it IS a nice toy, but perhaps could have a little bit more interactivity.
This is my first review in absolutely ages...thanks for reading!
Summary: Nice toy, worth picking up if your kid likes that sort of thing.
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