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The doll Polly Pocket is made by MATTEL. There are a number of dolls with themed accessories. This Polly can relax by the poolside in a deckchair lounger, make purchases from a shop, climb up a ladder, to slide down into the pool, swing on the tyre, or dive from the board into the water.
Inside the box:
Polly Pocket has her own play park. The doll comes with the water park so you don't have to buy her separately. There's a diving board for Polly to jump from, a tyre swing and get this - Polly's hair changes colour in water. The tyre can be removed from the swing and used as a float in the pool. There are a few more additional accessories for the poolside including a couple of pretend glasses, a tiny beach ball and a squeezable water-squirting turtle, a chair, a plate of sliced orange (not removable from the plate) maybe they are for cocktails or just to prevent hunger pangs. It also has a café/bar area with a little till.
There are four sections that easily lot together before play can begin. I would not want this toy lying around with children under the age of four present. There are lots of small plastic parts that could be dangerous if put in the mouth. As this is made in plastic it can also be played with in the bath.
Experience of Play:
Just gently place her feet into the top of the slide, press the lever, and off Polly goes, flipping and spinning all the way down until she lands in the pool. It makes me laugh every time and the last girls, aged six and eight, to play with it here, clapped their hands and had a really fun play session. The only problem was it was too fiddly for their four-year-old sister. She got frustrated and went into a huff until I gave her an alternative toy. Experience teaches to provide this toy for children aged six and up. Even I had to fiddle to get Polly's feet into the correct place for sending her down the slide. The two older girls did manage but not every time.
There's a little bit of magic involved as Polly's hair can change colour in certain water temperatures. I put water which had been cooled with ice into the pool. I know that anything involving water is going to be messy. This is to be played with in the garden or on and surrounded by a great deal of newspaper or something absorbent and easily wipeable. The girls shrieked as they splashed the water with their fingers. I had to top up the pool water many times. The boys and girls were all silenced in wonder for a short moment when the icy water turned streaks of Polly's hair a pinkish colour. I had a cup of warm water nearby (and closely supervised) to demonstrate how hair turned back to normal after dipping it in the warm water. It was a handing magic trick but I told them it can only be performed once a day. Well, I didn't want to have to keep getting cups of warm water and dipping a plastic doll called Polly into it all day!
Their brothers are typical boys and kept well away from Polly pocket and her 'Flip & Swim' park area. Their avoidance allowed the sisters to play all afternoon without becoming bored. The second problem arose when the boys got fed up with jumping off the settee and decided to jump and flip, like Polly and interfered with the girls' game. The girls screamed and became quite aggressive. After a quick prayer that their parents didn't return to see the fight I managed to break it up with offers of juice and homemade chocolate cake and a promise of a story. Polly and her poolside retreat survived but had anyone stamped on it I suspect the doll and accessories would not survive.
This doll and accessories are great for encouraging imaginative play. However, it's not a beautiful toy and it can be pricey. I got mine in a cheap sale and would not be happy to waste full price for this. Why? I've had great fun with children playing with empty boxes. Children don't need expensive toys to have fun or to use imagination. Consumers are encouraged to buy additional accessories. I believe there are a couple of female dolls that can be bought as companions to Polly. When two girls were playing they would have loved a doll each. However, their imagination provided someone called 'Tom' and 'Fiona' so they clearly don't need the extra dolls. Nor do they require increasing the accessories as they took Polly and their imaginary friends to a theatre, school and the dentist without moving from the plastic poolside! It is a success but as with most toys not essential. Four stars for the entertainment and fun factor but one star is removed for the full price cost, the temptation of buying into further products, and the fiddly design of the toy. Lastly, I 'm not entirely sure we should be encouraging girls to aspire to be the blonde in her bathing suit who spends money on drinking cocktails!
RRP £16.99 but currently £11.50 from Amazon.