Product Type: ELC baby toys
Newest Review: ... particulars This retailed for £30 in Early Learning Centre shops and online for a period. As with ELC though, Happyland is regularly on ... more
ELC Rose Cottage - and it's not even pink!
ELC Happyland Rose Cottage
Member Name: pandapaws
ELC Happyland Rose Cottage
Date: 13/06/10, updated on 13/06/10 (177 review reads)
Advantages: Durable. Fun. Not pink!
Disadvantages: Lots of missed opportunities. Annoying noises.
Rose Cottage is a small-ish plastic dolls' house from the Early Learning Centre's 'Happyland' range - a series of buildings and characters that make up a typical storybook town, similar to the Fisher Price Little People range but nicer in my opinion. As far as I'm aware this is the only house in the series.
We bought this for my son's 2nd birthday, mainly because it wasn't pink like so many similar products. It is, however, still pretty girly but my little boy doesn't seem to mind, and 5yr old big brother has even been spotted playing with it too!
What you get
A two storey cottage with open back and various moulded fittings
4 figures: mummy, daddy, son and daughter if you take the stereotypical approach, plus 'ooftie', as my son calls the dog.
One car, which only one person can ride in at a time. Presumably this was with great foresight on daddy's part so as to avoid having to take the kids to discos when they get older.
As with all these type of toys, the packaging is somewhat excessive and you'll likely need a degree in wire de-tangling to unpack it all. A real pain on Christmas/birthday morning.
What does it do?
Not a great deal really. It's designed for imaginative play, therefore the
amount of fun that little ones get out of it depends very much on how much they (or you) put into it.
There is a doorbell that rings, a musical TV than operates when you press down on the seat, a telephone (far too loud and realistic!) and a noisy cooker. The door and windows open, but beyond that there isn't much interactivity with the toy. On the plus side, this means there are less things to break. On the minus side it seems like there are quite a few missed opportunities.
My son enjoys putting all the people to bed (the family have slightly unconventional sleeping arrangements) which is a bit awkward due to the shaping of both people and hard plastic beds - it would have been nice if the design had been a bit more thoughtful. Similarly the toilet and bath aren't brilliantly designed - not quite fit for purpose really! But that doesn't stop it from being great fun.
The educational value is fairly limited to that which you would gain from any 'housey' toy, but my son does enjoy pointing out the familiar household furnishings and objects and naming them. As kids get a bit older this aspect would diminish and it would be a play toy rather than a learning one, and I reckon there's nothing whatsoever wrong with that, not every toy needs to teach, it's good just to play.
Made from sturdy plastic, this is of excellent construction and built to last.
We've had Rose Cottage for about 6 months and it isn't showing any sign of wear. I was worried the batteries would be an annoyance but with Duracells in it, it is still going strong (annoyingly!). Because of the little electronic components unfortunately it can't go in the dishwasher like most of the other plastic toys I have, so if the inside gets grubby it can be a bit of work to clean it, but a packet of wipes and a bit of patience did the job for me.
Like the rest of the Happyland range, the characters are made from slightly softer plastic than similar other ranges - they're not quite as soft as bath toys, but somewhere in between. I really like this aspect, as toddlers will be toddlers, and Mr Happy (or whatever alias he is using) will undoubtedly end up in toddler's mouth at some point or another.
Value for money
I think this normally retails at about £25 (we got ours as part of a larger package) in the ELC, but discounts are often available. It's not cheap, but comparable to other alternatives, and if you can get a decent discount off this, of pick one up second-hand then it'd be well worth the money. You can also generally get a fair re-sale price on Ebay for ELC toys, and as far as I know Happyland is no different.
So, overall I'd definitely recommend this toy for both boys and girls, but it's just a pity that the manufacturers didn't put just a little more thought into it, as it could have been made even better with more moving parts, buttons etc. And a car that the whole family can fit in as well!
Summary: Good wholesome fun.
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