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Sylvanian Families are beginning to take over my house! I don't even mind! When I was little I used to have lots of these and I wish we had kept them now but I think we gave them away to some distant cousin. If we had have saved them it would have saved us lots of money as these are really expensive yet they have barely changed at all! My little girl is now really into these little collectables and seems to want them all just like I did when I was her age!
=== Sylvanian Families ===
Sylvanian Families have been around since the mid eighties. They are small fuzzy, clothes-wearing animals which have exciting little houses to live in and have lots of accessories that come with them. They come with many tiny parts which make playing with them that bit more exciting and more 'grown up'. They are mainly plastic and a good quality one too which will last a good amount of time. They are very cute and very fun to play with. The only negative thing about them really is the price tag, there is nothing cheap from these little families and although you can get a set for about £6 it doesn't contain much and once you buy one... you want to buy more!
=== Dalmatian family ===
Within this family set you get four figures. These are mummy dog, daddy dog, little girl dog and little boy dog. The majority of family sets have this make up although you can buy some larger sets which have babies and grandparents too but these standard sets tend to be made up like this. Stereotypical perhaps? I don't mind at all! The figures have a fuzzy covering which makes them really soft to touch, my little girl really likes to stroke them, they do feel nice. They are mainly white but have little black spots and the daddy and little boy have black ears too. The male dogs look more 'manly' by having more spots I've noticed! They have floppy ears like a dalmatian has. The clothes they wear have lots of little details on them. The mummy wears a red spotty dress with an apron, the apron unties at the back and the dress slips off by undoing some velcro on the back. The daddy's dungarees have tiny buttons on and these too can be removed. It is very cute how the clothing can come off and these clothes can be put on other little animals too that are of the same size. I struggle to get them back on but my little girl, with her much smaller fingers, can do it fine. They move their arms and legs if you move them, not far, just up and down but it's enough to mean they can sit down.
=== play time! ===
My little girl plays with these within her Sylvanian village for hours! She won't play with them very much on their own but will involve them in the whole set up. I think on their own they are a little limiting as they don't have any accessories except for their clothes and once you've taken them on and off and moved their arms and legs there isn't much more to do! So these are very entertaining if they have things to do. My little girl likes to play with these in her canal barge and pretend they are going on holiday. She does like to spend quite a bit of time messing around with their clothes and swapping them with other characters' clothes too. I like watching her use her imagination and make up stories with these. Sometimes they chase each other around, other times the parents tell off the children... her imagination is very funny at times! They will interact with other sets fine, they are all made so that the accessories will fit the animals so if these are going to bed then they will fit in the beds or in chairs and so forth.
=== Learning? ===
Yes your child can learn by playing with these. I think children can learn through playing with anything actually and these do help with educating children. When children use their imaginations they are learning lots in their minds about the world so this is a good toy for children to play with as they can make up stories with these figures. They will also learn about basic things such a colours and moving clothes on and off. I often find myself saying things I assume she will understand such as "the daddy's dungarees are beige, can you find them?" and then realise that this is helping her learn colours I just assume she'd know! I sometimes use these figures to help show various things such as behaviours that I am trying to help my daughter to understand like how upsetting it can be to push someone at nursery or how Mummy can get upset if little girl doesn't eat her dinner. This is helping her to understand emotions and feelings and hopefully will help her to understand why certain situations arise.
=== Conclusion ===
As a stand alone set you can learn with these and play with them but they are a little limiting. I think that they do need an accessory or two to come with them so that they are more interactive. They are a very cute little family, I think they look really sweet with their spots and floppy ears! My little girl will play with these for a while so long as they are interacting with the other sets that she has. They are very cute. They cost me £14 which I think is rather pricey but seems quite average for Sylvanian Families now. They are very good quality and go with the other sets well.