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Bring the Night Garden Home...For a Price
Please note: This is a review for the character set without the Ninky Nonk
One of the first things my young daughter got into was In The Night Garden as seen on CBeebies. She would become very excited every time it came onto the television and we got into the habit of sitting with her and watching it just before she went to bed - it really helped with her bedtime routine as when it came on she seemed to instinctively know that bed time was near and curled up with her bunny and blanket on the sofa. Personally after seeing a few of these episodes, I started to grow very bored but my daughter continued to love it and that was what was important.
STEP INTO THE GARDEN
In the Night Garden is a BBC (Now shown on CBeebies) show aimed at babies and toddlers and is produced by Ragdoll Productions. The programme features a cast of brightly coloured characters with very unusual names who all live in a brightly coloured peaceful garden covered in large daisies. The characters do not speak much, though speak with repetitive sounds to help children learn.
The programme is not intended to be educational, which is good as it really is not overly educational in any means, though is intended to help children relax, which is precisely what it does with my daughter before bed time.
There are ten characters/groups of characters in the night garden which include;
A blue teddy bear shaped characters who walks around with his red blanket. Iggle Piggle is the main character who opens and closes each episode by traveling to and from the garden in his little boat. He does not talk much and is rather young in his actions, instead rings a bell on his foot to answer his friends.
This character is very similar to a rag doll and wears brightly coloured clothes whilst chasing her bed around the garden. Upsy Daisy loves dancing and singing (which her singing really isn't anything to shout about!) and can be rather annoying to the other characters.
A small round bodied character who has the feel of an old man. Makka Pakka lives in a caves and loves collecting stones and washing the other characters faces (very random!). Makka Pakka speaks more than any other character in the garden though still not a huge amount.
There are three tombliboos; Unn, Ooo and Eee (very unimaginative) and they live in a tree together and enjoy playing music (though are not very good at it). Their main trait is that their trousers tend to fall down and blow away in the wind - very unusual.
All of these characters above are played by actors in costumes (the other characters are more puppets and toys) and all feature in this Night Garden characters box set toy.
We brought our daughter these characters for Christmas as we were able to find a good deal online so she did not see the toy until Christmas morning when she immediately recognized the characters and colourful packaging, making her very excited.
The characters come in a rectangular box with see-through front showing the characters contained within the box (the characters mentioned above). The whole box inside and out is covered with a recognizable garden theme in greens and blues from that of the television programme so instantly recognizable for the children who love Night Garden. The logo of 'PlaySkool' who are the makers of the toy can be seen on the bottom roght corner of the box.
The packaging has some information on the back though not an overabundance and is mainly focused on getting the attention of the child. As already mentioned, it is brightly coloured and really catches yours (and your childs) eye when on the shelves. The packaging is also easy to recycle and does not take up a lot of bin space which at Christmas, this is a plus as there is always too much rubbish laying around!
The box consists of six main characters as briefly outlined above; Iggle Piggle, Makka Pakka, Upsy Daisy and the three Tombliboos. Each character is the identical version to that in the television programme, Iggle Piggle even complete with his red blanket and for some reason, each Tombiboo leaning on two boxes that look rather like presents.
Each character is free standing and can be placed on most surfaces absolutely fine though Upsy Daisy did have a hard job standing along on thick carpet to which my daughter said that she just wanted her bed (which doesn't come with the pack). Each character is between 6 to 9 cm tall and so there are no worries about the children swallowing them (and they also have no small parts) and are in height arrangement by their actual height in the programme.
The characters are very sturdy and will not break at all. They are made of thick plastic though are very light and my daughter can carry them all around at once. They are perfect size for little hands (though also perfect size for loosing under the sofa!).
So the characters themselves are brilliant both in look, feel and safety. I have no worries about my daughter playing with these toys and she loves them (see below for test).
As soon as my daughter opened these at Christmas, she was playing with them, making them 'talk' to one another and putting them in her doll house and toy cars. They quickly became one of her favourite toys and she interacted with them in ways I had not seen with her Little People sets. She holds full conversations (at least she understands these conversations!) with them and between them and quite often tries to get that extra biscuit by saying Iggle Piggle wants one too!
My daughter loves watching the programme on the television and reading her Night Garden books whilst holding the character toys, getting excited when she 'matches' the toy to the image on the screen or in the book. She has learnt to say all of their weird and unusual names since having these toys.
It is great to watch my daughter use imaginative play through these toys and she still happily plays with these figures for hours, taking them everywhere with her. What is great about these as well is that because of their great size, we can take them with us when we go places such as restaurants as they are easy to transport (my daughter takes them in her Winnie the Pooh bag) and do not take up much space so can play on a table around food quite easily and safely.
This is both a favourite toy of mine and my daughters for obvious different reasons. For me, seeing my daughter play for hours happily and taking her figures on little adventures everywhere is great. Even though my daughter doesn't watch Night Garden as much any more, she still adores these little figures and they are perfectly safe which is a must with small children.
EDUCATIONAL VALUE AND PRICE
As far as real educational value goes, this toy doesn't have much at least not in the learning of things such as numbers and letters, though does teach the child through imaginative play which in my opinion is a great learning aspect.
These toys, although absolutely great, are really expensive for what they are though have recently gone down on Amazon. Through Amazon you can pick them up new for £9.99 though these can also sell for £15 in retail stores such as Early Learning so I think its best to look around for price as for £15 this is really not worth it. I was able to pick my set up brand new on Ebay for £5.00 which was great so I do recommend looking around.
As far as I can tell, these are available in most places both online and in stores such as ELC and Argos so you are spoilt for choice as to where to buy them.
These toys are absolutely brilliant for any young child. They are completely safe and colourful and enhance imaginative play. They don't do anything on their own (no noises, do not move arms etc) though through play, the child can make them do anything they want, and my daughter does just this.
Even after your child goes off of The Night Garden on television, these toys will last as they are simply more little people for them to play with.
The only downside really is the expense though as shown above, if you look around you should be able to find a much better price. I certainly would not have paid full price for them
My son got this for christmas, he is a massive fan of in the night garden so this seemed like a brilliant present.
This set contains 6 of the main characters - Iggle Piggle, Makka Pakka, Upsy Daisy and the three Tomliboos, as well as the Ninky Nonk train.
The figures are quite small and are all made of hard plastic making them very robust. They are all cute and bright coloured.
The ninky nonk train comes in 3 parts and is easy to connect together, it is very small but is very attractive. It is made from plastic and is quite durable.
This is a great set for any little in the night garden fan and offers good value for money, you can buy the ninky nonk or the 6 figure set separately both of which cost nearly the same as this set that consists of both.
My son loves these and spends spends hours playing with them, it is in my opinion one of the better In the night garden toys and is offers some of the best value too.
My husband and I realised a few weeks ago that our daughter had accumulated £20 in her money box, from various donations from relatives over the last few months. So seeing as though she is such a good girl we thought we would take her to Toys R Us and treat her to a new toy.
After spending about an hour in there while she looked at and touched just about every single toy in the shop, we found ourselves hovering around the In The Night Garden Section. This is her favourite TV show at the moment so she was quite transfixed with the giant Igglepiggle (far too expensive for us!!).
While she was fiddling with his massive eyes, we had chance to look at all the other Night Garden toys available - which is quite a large range. There are lots of various sized soft toys, such as a giant Makka Pakkas and mini Tombliboos, a Pontipine piano, a Gazebo shape sorter, push and pull toys... the list is endless. Anyway, we found ourselves settling for the character set where you get Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy, Makka Pakka, the three Tombliboos and the Ninky Nonk train for £15 (I think this was an offer price).
The characters are made from solid plastic and are extremely robust. Upsy Daisy and Igglepiggle are both approx 10cm tall, the Tombliboos are all approx 7cm tall, and tiny Makka Pakka is 6cm tall. They are the perfect sizes for little hands, especially little hands who love In The Night Garden. I personally prefer these to any of the Night Garden soft toys that you can get (we have a few), mainly because they take up less space...no, mainly because when my daughter is watching the programme she likes to have her characters with her, and these are much easier for her to stand on the TV stand while she is watching, rather than a big soft toy!!
There are a couple of issues with these toys that my daughter finds quite frustrating.
First of all Makka Pakka only stands on one leg, so it's quite difficult for a small child to actually get him to stand up, and she gets really quite annoyed with herself when he keeps falling over. And Upsy Daisy, although she stands on both feet, if the surface isn't perfectly flat then it is quite difficult to get her to stay stood up (and consequently she has to lie down for a sleep a lot in our house!). But apart from those two minor complaints, we just love these toys.
They go everywhere with us, and I mean everywhere. She takes them in the bath, takes them out in the buggy or the car, and even takes them to bed with her. If we ever lost one it would be a complete travesty. I even had to make a little bag to keep them in so she could carry them about with her. These are probably the most successful set of toys we have ever bought for our daughter.
I must point out though that some of the paint has started chipping off Upsy Daisy and a couple of the Tombliboos - due to intense play from my daughter - but this doesn't bother her in the slightest and doesn't make the play any less enjoyable.
Although the actual character toys are awesome, the Ninky Nonk part of the set is not so good, in fact it's pants. It comes in three parts - the 'engine' is the first section; the big round carriage where all the characters can ride & the pontipine carriage make up the second section; and the third section is Igglepiggle & Upsy Daisy's little carriage with Igglepiggle's personal carriage at the end.
When they are all hooked together, the train is about 27cm long and about 8cm high. The sections hook together with a plastic ring and a peg that slots into the hole. This seems relatively simple and straightforward, and it is to a point, but the problem is they just don't stay together when being played with, and it's just not very good at all.
My daughter does not even bother with the Ninky Nonk anymore, she played with it for about 10 minutes and got so annoyed because it kept coming apart that she has never returned to it for a second attempt. I would not recommend this Ninky Nonk toy at all to anyone! I know you can buy it separately so if you are thinking of doing so - don't bother. Stick with the characters; they are much more rewarding for a child. I don't know why they don't make a bigger version of the Ninky Nonk so the child can actually put the characters inside, which would make more sense to me.
So, I've had to give the complete set a 4 star rating instead of 5 star, purely because the Ninky Nonk is rubbish (I suppose the Ninky Nonk would be more suited to an older child who can understand why it keeps coming apart and manage to fix it back together themselves...). If I was reviewing the character set alone (which you can get) then it would be 5 stars all round.
Includes all 6 of your favourite characters - Iggle Piggle, Upsy Daisy, Makka Pakka and more! Plus four connecting carriages of different shapes and sizes plus a train engine.