* Prices may differ from that shown
Firstly, this review is related to Brambledale Farm, which ELC has replaced the one pictured above with. It is a similar set-up - a fold-away base with several "flat-pack" wooden out-buildings to put together, it's just the more modern design.
What you get:-
>> 2 rectangular fold away bases - one depicts farm land with pathways, whilst the other has a duck pond - they can be used together or separately.
>> A large barn
>> A duck/hen house
>> A pig pen
>> An enclosed stable
>> A more open stable building
All the buildings are flat pack - they assemble via a variety of slots and fit together relatively easy. The larger of the building are the sturdiest, and hold together well. The smaller buildings, specifically the open stable and the pig pen, come apart very easily (at least ours do), and are notorious for falling apart if my daughter attempts to move them to another part of the farm.
What you don't get:-
>> Any sort of animals or farmer figures - these must all be bought separately, either in the larger packs (an additional £8-£10), or by buying the individual Schleich animals (which are rather pricey individually, but actually worth it for how beautiful they are).
This farm was bought for our daughter for Christmas - it was half price when we bought it (we paid £22.50, reduced from £45). I have since noticed the full price has been reduced to £35 now, still rather overpriced but if you look for offers it is well worth it), and we found that to be reasonable value. Paying full price just isn't worth it, when you consider you have to buy figures to actually be able to play with it.
It is a good role-play opportunity for children though - my daughter has spent hours making up little scenarios with the figures (her favourite - the "naughty goose"!). It's an opportunity to develop imaginative skills, as well as language too, and we've seen a vast improvement in both with our daughter!
I was so fed up with all the plastic toys in my house that I was really pleased when I cam across this farm in Early Learning Centre. It is made of wood and comes with the following items:
* 2 pre-printed base boards. These have a vegetable patch and pond printed on them. They don't join together so can be used seperately or next 2 each other.
* Several wooden buildings with removable roofs. These include a barn, pigsty, chicken coop etc. These buildings need to be put together using wooden dowels. To do this each time you use it would be a real pain and fustrating for children wanting to get on and play. We therefore decided to glue the buildings permanently together using wood glue on the dowels and now all my girls need to do it pop the roofs on or off depending on the game they are playing.
* Wooden fence/wall pieces that can be used to create enclosures.
We paid about £15 for this farm and then purchased the animals/farmer on top of this as the farm does not come with animals. We have purchased additional animals as and when we've seen them.
I think this is suitable for children from 2+ and is good for them to use their imagination. It is a nice looking good quality farm.
Having just had a quick look on the early learning centre website I don't think they are actually selling this farm anymore and it seems to have been replaced by Cobblestone Farm shop instead. Personally I think this is a real shame as the set that we have has a good range of buildings.
The set that we have was bought for my son by his grandparents in Christmas 2007 and he was almost three at the time. I believe they paid around £20 for the set which I think is reasonable however it did not come with any animals which is a shame. We already had animals at home so it wasn't a problem for us but I think ELC also sell a range of farm animals. In my opinion they are over priced though at around £15 for approximately eight animals.
The farm set arrived in a large cardboard box and it was all flat packed for you to build. We got rid of the cardboard box and instead purchased one of the large plastic boxes with lids that you can pick up in many discount stores. It stores the farm well and keeps it tidy and together too.
In the farm set you receive the following:
2 rectangular MDF mats which are the base mats and 3 curved pieces which you can put around the base. They are painted with things like grass and a pond so that you can put your animals on there too. My main issue with this is that they don't slot together in any way. Whilst this is useful for storage, when you are actually playing the base can slide about and there is no continuity.
A barn: This is a good little piece of the farm as it has a pulley with a magnet on and you can use it to lift the magnetic mini hay bales and store them in the barn. It just gives you something different to do as you are playing with the set and it was the thing that initially my son went to every time.
A pigsty: This is a small shed with a little out section and a gate.
There are two more sheds which we use to keep horses, cows or sheep in- one has no front on and the other has a swinging door.
A dog kennel: A small kennel which unfortunately you cannot really fit a dog figure in!
A chicken shed: This is a small little piece and can fit easily on the base.
You also receive some fencing type pieces which you can use to create an outside enclosure. My son normally uses this to keep the sheep in!
It is worthwhile noting that with the set you do need to build these each time that you play with the set. Initially I tried gluing some of them together so that there was less building to be done each time we played with it but for some reason half of the fun for my son was dismantling them! Very frustrating! When he did this some of the "dowels" pulled out of the holes and now it is difficult to put it together at times. I would definitely recommend that if you can get a really good quality glue and fix it all together the set will last longer. It is also ready to go whenever your child decides to play with it if you do this-for me we have to spend around 10 minutes setting up before he can begin to play.
For a first time build the sheds are pretty simple to build but I would not allow my son to do this alone when he was younger. Certain pieces need to go together and he could get quite frustrated when putting wrong pieces together! It is made of good quality materials and will last a long time (providing your child doesn't rip it apart once it is glued!)
Once built I would find that my son would play with it on and off for a couple of hours. If you have the space I would recommend leaving the product out for a couple of days and you will find your child goes back to the set on and off.
All in all I think this a good set for a child to have at home especially if they are at a pre school age. My son played with his pretty regularly when he received it but doesn't play with it as often now he is five.
One thing that I find annoying at products aimed at children is the lack of realism; this isn't a new thing for me though. I remember as a child playing with Sindy but hating Barbie because it wasn't realistic enough ... all pink and plastic. That is why I really like the Early Learning Centre's Wooden Farm set. It looks like a farm (minus the mud!) with realistic brick buildings, fences and dry stone walls. The extras you can buy all look like real farm animals rather than plastic moulded creatures that only vaguely resemble the animals they are supposed to be.
My eldest son had the farm bought for Christmas when he was three and five years later it is also a favourite of his little brother. The wooden base of the farm comes in two pieces and is painted green with painted on tractor tracks and a pond. The four buildings are all made of wood which is painted on some buildings to look like grey stone and on others it is painted to look like red brick. It all needs putting together as each of the walls and roofs are all separate. It also includes pieces of fence and wall which can be linked together to either go around the green base or made into separate fields for the animals.
Our farm gets packed away in a plastic box and ends up in pieces each time it is put away so it does become easier working out which wall belongs to which building. (I suppose I could glue them together but what would be the fun in that?) I doubt a young child could put it together from scratch unsupervised but it doesn't take too long for an adult. The wood for the walls and base is quite strong and our farm is still in pretty good condition considering how much use it has had.
One of the downsides of this toy for me is that the animals, farmers and tractor are not included in the price. This is a policy of ELC that I really don't like because lets face it how can you have a farm without animals? Once you start with the animals it is difficult to know when to stop. They are only about £1 each but you have to buy a male, female and baby of everything and there are cows, sheep, horses and pigs. Then of course there is the dog and the goat, a man and woman farmer and the tractor and trailer not to mention the chickens and the goose!!! It soon adds up. A word of warning ... whoever designed the animals got the proportions wrong and the goat and the dog are REALLY HUGE compared to the other animals. (Not that my children seem to be bothered much).
I feel that it is one of those toys that will never really be out of fashion as it is so realistic ... I can see it lasting a very long time.
This review is also on Ciao.
my son recieved this farm for his 3rd birthday today. whilst he loves the toy, there is a couple of problems that i have found.
the two base boards (which the farm sits upon) do not connect in anyway, you literally sit them next to each other, meaning they slide and seperate when in play.
i found the buildings took quite a while to put together. they come apart very easily too during play.
the roofs 'open' up meaning you can play inside the buildings, but my son has asked me to remove them as they keep falling down on his fingers.
our set has arrived with a wrong piece, meaning the chicken coop cant be constructed. although i have been told i can return the wrong piece for the correct one, i'll update on that one next week!
just to update; i took the chicken coop into elc the other day and the sales assistant swapped the incorrect piece with no fuss - so 100% for theyre customer service
this set was bought at £45 with a free animal set which has an rrp of £15. to be honest i think £45 is a bit steep and there is no way i would pay £15 for the animals, although they are soundly made these can be sourced for much cheaper.
as i said before my son loves his farm playset in particular the winch which has a magnet to carry the bales of straw up to the second floor of the larger building.
all in all, a great playset from my sons eyes, unfortunatley i dont agree!
We purchased the Early Learning Centre Cobblestone Farm playset for my sons third birthday. This farm set is a relatively new product to the ELC, appearing in their Autumn catalogue, so it is different from the one pictured here. It replaces the older farmset which was cheaper, although I have seen both on sale in our local shop. Cobblestone farm currently costs £45, but you get a free farm animal set worth £15 when you buy the farm.
This is a wooden farm which comes flat packed in one fairly heavy box. There are two base boards and then the buildings slot together and sit on top of these. The buildings were not too difficult to assemble- we had it put together in 15 minutes or so (there are detailed instructions) and now we know where everything goes we can do it much quicker.
The farm includes two main structures, one of which incorporates a barn complete with a hayloft, magnetic winch and haybales, next door to a farmhouse. The other building houses the stable and pig stye. In addition to the two large buildings there is a hen house and several walls which can either edge the farm or form a pen for animals. As it is wooden the pieces which make up the farm are pretty solid. The buildings do come to pieces easily although not during normal use- if a fight breaks out between my sons however it can be flatened in seconds! The fact that it packs away flat makes storage much easier. The illustration on the farm is lovely and very detailed.
You can buy many accesories for the farm- there is an animal set, currently free with the farm as a special offer, but otherwise £15. This includes a cow, calf, sheep, lamb, pig, goat, donkey, horse, duck and hen. The animals are nice, good quality figures (although I think £15 is a little expensive for the set). You can also purchase a farm family for £10, with the usual farmer, farmers wife, a son, daughter and dog. There are tractors and combine harvestors available, and finally even a farm shop and petting corner!
My boys are really enjoying playing with this farm set, its great for firing their imagination, especially for boys who love tractors and other heavy machinery anyway! We have only owned it for a few weeks but I think it will stand the test of time, being wooden there is nothing really that can break on it, and even the opening doors are attached by elastic so should be pretty robust.
Overall I am really impressed by this farm set, and my boys definatley give it the thumbs up.
We bought this farm for our toddler when he was about 2.5 years old. The set we have is slightly different (bigger) to the one depicted in the picture here:
...but the principle of the toy appears to be the same: it's a flat-pack wooden (or rather MDF) farm, consisting of several buildings (barn, cowshed, stable, chicken coop, pigsty etc.). Originally this came without animals and was I think about £20 from ELC. We bought it when it was offered with "free" animals; now it's £35 and includes the animals.
It takes a while to set up, and it definitely requires an adult or at least a teen to do that, as the dowels are quite fiddly to fit into the holes.
In fact, we have glued the whole set together which means that the buildings don't collapse and that the roofs stay on. I would definitely recommend doing this unless you are going to play with the farm very carefully and always supervise your child.
For an older child, it might be a good option to leave the roofs unglued to allow easier access to the buildings.
The farm has plenty of playability in it, what with setting up the buildings, putting animals in, taking them out to pasture and similar. Animals are excellent: solid, very lifelike, in different poses. It would be good if some humans came with the farm too. As it is, it's possible to buy a family for another £10 and some farm vehicles for roughly round that price (but then ELC toys are expensive overall).
The barn is pretty good, with a winch equipped with a magnetic "hook" and bales of straw to pull to the upper level of the building. Sadly, we lost the winch handle very quickly, but that isn't the fault of the toy :-)
I was not impressed with the base for this set, it consists of several pieces that don't lock together and isn't very big - but we usually make some extra pasture with coloured paper.
I think this is an excellent toy overall, probably one of the ones my child played most of all: daily for many weeks after receiving it, and even now six months later it still comes out every so often.
Highly recommended, although glueing the buildings together is an absolute must.
For my sons 3rd birthday we werent sure what to buy but on a visit to ELC we spotted the farm set and thought this would be great as he had a collection of animals but we used old cereal boxes and things to store them in.
The collection was wooden so I thought that it would with stand wear and tear well. It has 2 base boards which are green with tractor marks and a pond on them. They fit together then you build the farm, barns, walls etc on top. There are 2 large barns, a pig sty and a hen house. Each of these have 4 walls which you push together, 2 sides have holes 4 holes in them and 2 sides have 4 small wooden pegs sticking out and as you push them together it forms the walls and you then place a roof on top.
This making of them is quite tricky but I thought that the idea was greagt as it didnt take long to build or dismantle and that way it was easy to put away. Unfortunately we find that they dismantle to easily and now fall apart when the children are in the middle of playing with them.
The walls and fence are good and go together well and are quite sturdy.
This set was £35 which is very expensive considering they dont even include any animals.
This is a great idea but I would not recommended it as it falls apart to easily.
That said looking on the ELC website they have redesigned it since we bought it and it looks like they have rectified our issues.
I bought this farm set for my sons second christmas. He was given a small farm set made of plastic which made animal noises for his first christmas but seemed to get bored of it easily. I'm not a fan of plastic toys that need a constant supply of batteries and would much rather he used his imagination and created his own animal noises.
The farm set consists of a base which comes in two parts with a duck pond on one side and a cabbage patch on the other and a trail of tractor tyre marks. There are also four wooden building which come in 5 peices each (four walls and a roof) that make up a chicken shed, cow shed, Stable and pig sty which can be placed around the base and there is fences and stone walls too.
My son loved making animal noises and building the fences and we even had monkeys on top of the farm building stealing bananas for the pigs! He is 5 now and is still probably one of the toys he enjoys best on a rainy day.
The farm was £15 or there abouts when I bought it, looking today they have changed it slightly and increased the price to £35. Also they have added a pully system to one of the buildings and some other changes.
It used to be my sons treat on shopping trips that if he behaved he could choose an animal which varied in price from £1 to £4 the collection soon built up. He also collected tractors £7 and farmer figures too £5
This may seem quite expensive but as with the wooden farm the model animals and figures are really good quality and virtually indestructible during that inevitable temper tantrum at tidy up time or when they are left all over the bedroom floor. This is a toy that provides hours of entertainment, can be used educationally to teach your kids about animals and best of all they wont grow out of it for years. My eleven year old nephew happily plays with it when he visits (but he wouldnt want me to tell anyone)
Great investment buy in my opinion, no gimmicks or frills just a good old fashioned clasic toy that they can play with for years and can be passed on in about the same condition it was in when you bought it.
We got my son the ELC Wooden Farm for his Christmas present when he was 2 years old. He was always into animals and loved playing with horses and dogs especially, so we thought a farm would be an excellent toy for him.
We paid £15 for it 2 years ago and I have just checked the ELC website and it is still the same price today.
What do you get:
Well there are two large wooden floor pieces with grass and a pond painted on to it. This is meant to be the basis for the farm buildings to stand round. They just sit next to each other or you can have them anyway you like - thats the beauty of kids imagination!
You also get a cowshed, a stable, a pigsty, a dog kennel, and another building, which I guess could be a barn.
Along with this you get chunky wooden fence pieces, which slot together to form a wall all the way round the farm. These can also be used to make other things, like a small enclosure in a field for a horse or even a chicken pen.
All the buildings slot together really easily as it comes flat packed. There are no instructions but the picture on the box is enough to go by and be able to make each building. Once you have done it a few times it is easily remembered without the box anyway. Lucky as ours fell apart after a few times of being packed away. I now store all the pieces in a plastic box with a lid to keep them safe.
The roofs of the buildings are made from two pieces of wood joined in the middle with a kind of fabric material so they bend in the middle and slant over the building tops. This is a really good idea, although I was worried they would tear easily, but after 2 years and very much play they are still strong as ever.
ELC also do animals that you can buy to play on the farm along with the farmer and his family. My son already had the majority of the animals so we just brought him the farmer and family but if we had needed to buy the animals I think some of them are not in proportion to the buildings. Like the cat they do for instance is massive, as are the dogs. The horse, pig and sheep seem to be OK but the others are just too big for the buildings. However there are plenty of places to buy cheap toy animals from which are perfect on this farm.
Overall opinion on this farm is excellent. It is a strong sturdy, collapsible farm that has had loads of play in it here and will hopefully have loads more to come when my daughter starts playing with it properly instead of wrecking everything. The colours are bright and pleasing on the walls etc and my son loves it.
Only real disadvantage is that because it is collapsible I have to put it together every time my son wants to play with it. It is a bit tricky for kids to do as it involves little dowel type rods being pushed into little holes on corresponding pieces of building.
Recommended absolutely by me!
Wooden farm with base, buildings and slot in pieces.