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As a child I remember having a great time with a toy oven. It was an upturned box with circles drawn on the top to represent the hob and my mum had cut a door out of the front for the oven. I doubt it survived very long, but I do remember it, despite it's simplicity. These days there are toy kitchens with so many features they put my REAL kitchen to shame! I can't help but feel that some toys are so 'all singing, all dancing' that there is little scope left for children to use their imagination. Which is why the Bilibo caught my eye!
The Bilibo is aimed at children aged 2 - 7 years. It is a large, curvacious, plastic shell made out of 100% recyclable polyethylene. It measures 39x39x22cm, has two holes in it and comes in six different colours. They cost around £17.99 each, but ever the bargain hunter I managed to pick an ex-display one up on ebay for a tenner! (I rarely pay full price for anything!!)
"But what is it?!" I hear you cry! That is the whole point! It is whatever your child wants it to be! They can sit in it, rock dolly to sleep in it, spin around in it (my daughters favourite!), balance on it, wear it as a funny hat and peep through the holes, fill it with water/sand/snow/mud, spin balls around in it, use it as a target to throw balls in to, use it as a giant mixing bowl for play cooking....these are just a few of the things my daughter has used hers for, and believe me, I could go on!
The whole concept of the Bilibo is that children are more stimulated by non-specific 'things' than the 'all singing, all dancing' toys that they so often get bombarded with. This award winning toy is open to interpretation and can become whatever your child wants it to be! And children can't help but investigate it, the shape of it is so inviting that the curiosity of visiting children always wins and so far it has been a winner with every child.
I bought this with the intention my children (18mths and almost 4years) would share it. I have to say that in our case the manufacturers suggested age range is right, as my 18mth old rarely plays with it. He enjoys being spun around/rocked in it, but can't do this without assitance. Occasionally he'll fill it with cars, then take them out again! But for him it's use is still limited. Whereas my 4 year old uses it almost on a daily basis for one thing or another - and I wouldn't hesitate to buy another if the time came when they started fighting over it! Although they are quite bulky to store, they do stack so storing more than one wouldn't take up much more space. At the moment we don't have a problem storing the one we've got as it's in such constant use it doesn't need storing!
The Bilibo can be used indoors or outdoors and is virtually indestructable, I imagine if used on a hard surface it would scratch but this would be purely cosmetic. The Bilibo is quite expensive for such an abstract toy, which is why I searched for a cheap one! However, now I have seen it in action and know it is a good quality toy then I probably would pay full price for it....but only if I couldn't find a cheaper one somewhere! ;-)