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
This is a Happy house
ELC Happyland Rose Cottage
Member Name: historywitch
ELC Happyland Rose Cottage
Advantages: Great for imagination, appeals to wide age range
Disadvantages: hard to clean
***What you get***
The dolls house is about 30 cm x 30 cm x 15 cm which is smaller than I was expecting from looking at the picture. The front is set up to look like a country cottage and the back is cut away so you can see the rooms inside. The top floor is the bedroom and the bathroom- a double bed and two bunk beds are on one side; a small partition divides the room from a tiny bathroom with bath, sink and toilet. The bottom floor is the lounge and kitchen with a large chair and TV and a smaller kitchen. Everything is moulded plastic and is fixed in place. Underneath is the battery panel - you will need a screwdriver and two AA batteries to make all of the sounds work. Once powered up an eager child can press the front door bell, make the telephone downstairs work, get things sizzling in the kitchen and sit a figure in the armchair to turn the TV on.
In addition to the cottage you get a car, four little figures (the nuclear Barley family) and the family pet -in our case a dog (newer and older versions sometimes have slightly different extras).
RRP is £30 but you can get it cheaper in Early Learning Centres regular deals and sales.
Early Learning Centre state this is from 18 months plus, but both of my children have been playing with Happyland stuff since they were 12 - 15 months.
As I said above, this is a great toy that appeals to a wide age range, certainly it has gone down well with my two children. It has been dropped regularly and repeatedly on to a range of surfaces and has not sustained any damage at all over the course of the year we have owned it. The batteries have lasted well and despite daily play we have not had to change them yet (a good thing as I can't find any screwdrivers!). The sounds are clear and not tinny although an off switch would be good for when you simply cannot take any more repetitive pressing of the sound buttons. Like many items in the Happyland range the door regularly comes off, but it can be reattached very simply - I suppose this feature is to enable the weakest part to stand up to the sustained play of young children; much better to have something that comes off when forced than to have a broken door that you can't fix. All the furniture is fixed in place so you cannot reposition it as you like, however this also means that there is no chance of losing anything, or for that 'Argh' moment when a child spends twenty minutes organising the furniture and then brings the house to show you in another room. My children enjoy going through little scenarios with the figures and its lovely to watch them co-operating and discussing a storyline rather than squabbling (that comes later!). It is a super toy for developing imagination, language skills and vocabulary and my son in particular enjoys using his other toys as monsters which chase the innocent Barley figures around the house.
There are a few negatives to the house but none of them would put me off buying it again. Firstly the windows don't open which has led to some considerable force being applied to them by children who are determined that they should. Secondly its size means that it either needs to be placed on a table or the child to lie on the floor to get a proper view of the inside. Again, not a serious problem - I just have to be more careful about where I am putting my feet when crossing the small lounge with a load of washing! The one thing that does niggle is that it is very tricky to complete clean the inside. There are lots of cracks and corners which means if a sticky drink is spilt or chocolate (or god forbid something brown coloured but much less fragrant) on the toy then you have to get out the cotton buds and toothpicks to get all the substance out. For a toy that is made for small children this seems a little short sighted. I have had to clean the house out two or three times now and each time it has taken at least half an hour to do a proper job, balancing the thing on my lap and angling a lamp inside to check all the crevices.
I'd still buy it again though, its an ideal first dolls house and it has the bonus that you can add on other bits of the Happyland range or not, depending on the space available.
Summary: Great first dolls house
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