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My 4 year old daughter loves Puppy In My Pocket, she has managed to accumulate quite a few little pups (thanks to me filling her advent calendar with them the last couple of years rather than chocolates). And for anyone who doesn't know, these are an ever growing range of little puppy friends (currently on series 4 at the moment) which are highly overpriced but seem to appeal to kids.
The range of dogs available is massive, and they all have names and stories to tell...although from my experience the ones available in the shops are usually quite limited, and you don't always know what you are going to get if you happen to buy a 'closed box'. For more information you can look on the official website which is www.puppyinmypocket.co.uk.
Anyway, due to my daughter having many of these dogs which she loves to play with I thought I would splash out and buy her one of the many play sets available so her dogs had somewhere to play. I opted for the Puppy Ski Lodge (despite poor reviews on Amazon) because it actually looked really good! The RRP is £11.99 but I only paid about £7 when it was on offer, and to be honest on seeing the product, I would not pay the full price.
You also get 4 Huskies with the set, a Mummy husky and her 3 puppies so I suppose it is actually quite good value when you can pay up to £6 for just a set of puppies like this anyway.
The Lodge itself is like a mini house which opens out to reveal a little play area for the dogs. The 2 doors fold outwards and the roof lifts backwards to provide a 2 level play area for the puppies. You also get a rocking chair and a blue thing which I have no idea what it is, perhaps a bowl of food, I don't know.
Because I ordered this online I actually had no idea of the actual size of the lodge so when it arrived and I took it out of the packet I was shocked at how small the entire thing is. When the Lodge is closed up it is not much bigger than the palm of my hand, and when it is fully opened it spans 19cm in width and stands about 10cm tall.
So, it's quite a miniature toy, and what I don't understand here is that the Mum Husky is probably about as tall as the house, so she is obviously far too big to play with in the house, and this is something which frustrates my daughter. The babies however, are the perfect size and can sit on the bed, in the rocking chair, and in front of the fireplace etc.
Something else I also expected from the toy was the ability to be able to store the accessories inside the Lodge once it was closed up, but this is not the case, the Mum is far too big to keep inside the Lodge and the babies barely fit inside when it is closed. This is quite irritating to me because when you are tidying away toys at the end of the night, it is nice to be able to keep play sets like this together, and losing small parts in large toy boxes is quite easily done.
One final thing that I find frustrating about this toy is that the doors and the roof are obviously hinged, but very poorly hinged and the amount of times I have had to fix these back on are countless. As soon as my daughter uses a little bit more force than needed, or she drops the Lodge, then you can guarantee that one out of the 3 moveable parts will fall off.
Now these are very easy to fix back into position, but that's not the point, they shouldn't fall off so easily. For a toy that is priced at £11.99, the build quality should be a lot better. My daughter and I find it frustrating that every time she plays with the set she has to come to me to get it fixed.
Despite its faults, my daughter gets a lot of enjoyment from the toy and she does a lot of pretend play focused around the Lodge. Just this afternoon she had all her puppies lined up around it, as well as the Huskies, and she was just messing about putting them in the bed and making them talk to each other. Now I know that my daughter could probably make up this sort of stuff without the need for the Lodge, but I think it's nice for her to have an area where the puppies belong and it is something which will fuel her imagination further.
I think my daughter likes it so much because it is small; she seems to have developed a liking for miniature things so this is right up her street. And a bonus is that it only comes with the 2 accessories (the chair and the blue thing I mentioned earlier) so imaginative play isn't lost under a pile of plastic nonsense, she just has the dogs and the Lodge, and the rest is up to her own imagination, and this works really well.
I am considering purchasing another set from the range so all her little Pups have somewhere to play.
I would recommend this to others, although I would try to get it at a discounted price.