Product Type: Happyland baby toys
Newest Review: ... and Dad, two children, one baby in a buggy and a Dulux style dog. The set for sale now (May 2013) is a modern family with Daddy missing (le... more
Member Name: sandemp
Advantages: Well made, nice detail, great for talking about families and pregnancy
Disadvantages: Somewhat stereotypical 2.4 family. Would have prefered if a boy was included.
*The Happyland family set now only includes one child as opposed to the previous two.
At nearly three years old Freddy absolutely adores his Happyland toys and is always pleased when a new set joins his collection. I have to admit that I love the sets too, I love seeing the joy on his face as he explores the different buildings, vehicles and characters and I love the way that I can use the pieces to help introduce new experiences. This particular Happyland set was bought for a very specific purpose and the fact it was on offer at half price (£4), made it an even more welcome purchase.
Before I go any further I should, perhaps, tell you a little bit about Freddy and our reasoning behind buying this particular set. Although he will be three next month, Freddy has significant learning difficulties and a large developmental delay, with problems in all areas including speech, understanding and social interaction. He finds new situations difficult and does not really have a level of understanding for us to be able to simply explain what will happen. This means we have to use various routes to help him understand and deal with new or upcoming experiences, including talking about it, reading books and acting the situation out with his various toys. At the moment we are having to help him come to terms with the fact that there will be a new addition to the household in 7-8 months, along with the fact that Mummy isn't very well and may need to go into hospital at any time. This Happyland set is perfect for introducing the idea of pregnancy and a new baby, it really does provide the perfect tools to role play various situations that may come up, especially when combined with the nursing set (which contains a wheelchair and nurse).
The set itself contains five characters formed of the same rubber-like material used in all Happyland characters, with hand painted details. This material is tough and hard-wearing, yet has enough give to not cause too much damage when thrown at full force and as each character is hollow they are light enough for even the littlest hands. They are the perfect size for little hands to hold and as they follow the same format as other characters in the Happyland range they can be incorporated into whichever set your child already has (or later acquires). Being made of the tough, rubber-like material the characters are very tough and also very easy to clean, they can even be used in the bath or during water play without worrying that they will rot (although I would be sure to make sure they are thoroughly drained afterwards to prevent mould growth). The paint used to create the detail is also very hard-wearing, Freddy has had some of his Happyland characters for over two years now and is a child who still mouths and chews on toys now, but the worst that has happened to the paint on the characters is the occasional scratch and a little wearing at the edges.
As with all the Happyland characters it's the level of thought and attention to detail that separate this family from other brands. For a start there are three different families available, the white, ethnic and Khaleeji (although there is not a baby or pregnant woman in the Khaleeji family). The set we have is the white family, simply because that set contains both a pregnant Mummy and baby in a stroller. Within this set there is a Mummy, Daddy, big sister/little girl, baby sister in a stroller and the family dog. Now personally with our particular circumstances I would have preferred a little boy instead of girl, but this slight issue is easily resolved by incorporating characters from other sets and obviously if your family is any other than the Mum, Dad and children you would be able to do the same.
What I especially like about this set is that the Mummy is very obviously pregnant, which gives me a great opportunity to talk about the baby in my tummy and how the Mummy gets very tired and sick sometimes. The detail that has been moulded and painted onto the characters is fantastic, the little girl is even holding a teddy and the baby has a dummy in it's mouth. One aspect we're not so keen on is that the wheels on the stroller do not turn, Freddy loves to push wheeled vehicles and does sometimes get a little frustrated that this will not push.
When playing with Freddy, I do use this set to talk about different aspects of the family, most often about pregnancy. We talk about the Mummy growing a baby in her tummy and how one day she will go into hospital and have the baby. We talk about how even though there is another baby the little girl's Mummy and Daddy still love her very much and give her lots of cuddles. With Freddy's delay, we're not sure exactly how much of this he has taken in, but he does seem to be starting to associate my tummy with a baby. Of course, I also allow Freddy to play with this set independently and he does seem to love playing with the different characters. He enjoys examining them and exploring all the detail along with using them in his various Happyland vehicles and play sets.
All in all this is a lovely little set for helping your child understand new family dynamics or simply talk about their family. It is well made, well thought out and if you can get it for the same price we did, excellent value for money.
Summary: Another great little ad-on set
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