Product Type: Hasbro baby toys
Newest Review: ... Ninky Nonk on the program, it's almost like a scale version of it. The toy is around 11 inches long and 2 inches in height. Although the N... more
Ninky Not so bad, but not so good either
In The Night Garden Ninky Nonk Vehicle
Member Name: historywitch
In The Night Garden Ninky Nonk Vehicle
Advantages: Popular programme, bright, sturdy
Disadvantages: Bad paint job, expensive
The children's programme 'In the Night Garden' first came out when my daughter was a toddler and she loved it instantly. However, the merchandise was very limited at that point and due to my location it was very difficult to get hold of it. By the time it was widely available my daughter had grown out of the series. So once my son started showing an interest in the programme I suggested to grandparents that they get him some bits and pieces for his birthday. They duly presented him with this toy Ninky Nonk which retails in Argos for £10.19 (as of September 2011).
For those who are not parents or students 'In the Night Garden' is a whimsical children's programme designed to help infants and toddlers develop their language and wind down for bed. With simple storylines, gentle music and repetition it has become part of my children's bedtime routine for years now. It has an almost hypnotic effect on both of my children (2 and 6) and even I find myself sitting down and watching it with them. The Ninky Nonk is one of the modes of transport that the characters use to get around the Night Garden.
The first thing that you notice with this toy is the size. It is much smaller than it looks in the picture, around ten centimetres from the highest point to the ground. The whole train is about 30-40 centimetres long. Like most toys nowadays it was firmly fixed into its box (although thankfully not screwed in) and we had to go through the usual rigmarole of extricating whilst the child wails -took about five minutes to get it out.
The designers have taken the original five carriages of the Ninky Nonk and divided them into three separate pieces, that then hook together to make a complete train to drive along. Due to the disparity in size between some of the carriages the smaller ones do not have wheels that turn and are raised slightly off the ground. Good for safety reasons, but slightly disappointing to my boy who likes to lie on the floor and watch wheels go around. The connections between the carriages are surprisingly easy to put together which was refreshing, we are used to repeated requests to put these sort of toys back together again. The simple loop and stick arrangement has been mastered quickly by my 2 year old and he can manage it alone and the pieces seem better designed to stay in place than other toys we own.
It's a very sturdy toy, as you would expect from a toy designed for the under-2s, but the finish isn't fabulous. Where the larger carriages have been split in half to allow the fixings and connections there is an ugly line down the middle of the carriage that gets wider toward the hole. The two edges don't quite meet smoothly either so there are several ridges, which from a practical point of view are where food/detritus will get wedged. The paint job is also not very good, there is some bleeding of colour, little bits missing and lumps.
My son was very happy to receive this toy and put it together and played with it for most of the afternoon. However due to the size of the pieces they have quickly become separated and its now rare that we can find all of the pieces in the toy car box to make a complete train. The pieces are just the right size to roll underneath things and to be hidden in things (like Daddy's shoes) so I don't think this is going to change! In my opinion I would have preferred to have a preschool toy that can't separate, with a flexible joint perhaps between the carriages. I don't think it would detract from the play value and would mean that there wouldn't have to be ten minutes of searching before play can commence.
I don't think this toy will have a huge amount of longevity, especially as it doesn't do anything other than roll along the floor. My daughter at 6 is happy to play with a lot of my son's toys, but this one left her cold and she ignores it. I suspect we will get no more than a year of play out of it (if we can find all of the pieces!), which is great for a present, but not so good if I was spending money on toys for my children myself. I prefer toys which have a longer lifespan and are more flexible. The fact that my son likes it redeems it and its probably good value if you buy it as part of the 2 for £15 promotion at Argos - £7.50 is closer to its true value in my eyes, than £10.19.
Summary: Good for a present
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