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Most little girls love pretending to be mummies and daddies, and my youngest daughter (aged 4) is no exception. Whatever mummy is doing, she wants to do. We have mini irons, kettles, Hoovers, baking sets, etc. When we went on a picnic last summer, we took our large picnic hamper which is a traditional wicker type one with gingham fabric lining and buckle straps. We had been on picnics before with our children, but up until this point my youngest daughter hadn't shown any interest in wanting her own mini version. She did at this point, after attempting to carry our very large hamper (which sometimes even I struggle with), decide that she would like her own mini version, and so when one of her grandparents gave her some pennies she declared I should find her one 'inline', think she meant online.
After a little searching, I had pretty much decided that I was going to opt for the Leapfrog Shapes and Sharing picnic set which is bright and colourful, and robust as it's plastic. She had other ideas, and when I showed the picture of it to her, she very nearly had an emotional breakdown. This was not what she had in mind! She wanted one almost identical to mummies and anything short of this just wouldn't do. She certainly didn't want anything 'for babies', she so kindly told me (I thought she still was my baby but don't get me started on that one!).
After a little more searching I found this particular set and was told it was perfect by my little diva. Once it arrived, we were both over the moon with it. I liked it because it seemed strong and durable and my daughter loved it as it looks authentic and she can pretend to be mummy and daddy sorting lunch out for all her teddies.
Finding a spare green and blue checked picnic blanket in the car, I gave it to my daughter and she was just delighted. It really heightened her imaginative play and she can pretend with ease now that she is in some beautiful remote countryside feeding lunch to all her babies (bears!). She has played with it pretty much none stop for around a year now. It goes with us on picnics, and she often wants her own picnic taking in her own set. It goes on adventures in the garden, or on a rainy day she will just as happily play with it in her bedroom. It takes up such little space at around 9cm x 12cm x 16cm. The red gingham lining is a hit too, as it makes the picnic set much more authentic.
When I was buying the set, I noticed two different sets available although I only seem able to find just one now. At the time you could buy the basket on its own, or for just a few pounds more you could get the set with ceramic tea cups, plates, sugar bowl, milk jug and tea pot. It seemed silly buying it on its own, especially when it was only a few pounds more for the full set and it would heighten the role play experience for her so I opted for the full set. A year on, we have had only one casualty and that was the tea pot. It was my fault anyway, but when she was playing in the garden, she asked if I could put some water in the tea pot for her so her bears could have some tea. I did but unfortunately my hand slipped and I dropped the tea pot. The handle fell off but it didn't shatter into shards, so wasn't dangerous. I was also able to glue it back together with some superglue and everyone was happy again. I have noticed in several shops since buying this set, that you can buy the ceramic tea sets on their own so you can replace if absolutely necessary.
The only thing I would say about it in a negative way, is the inability to strap the plates into the top part of the picnic set like you would find in 'real' versions. This is something my daughter has mentioned, but I fobbed her off and said hers was nicer than mummys anyway and she seemed satisfied with that! For the price however, I really don't mind that it doesn't have this and wouldn't expect anything more for the small price you pay for this brilliant item.
I would absolutely recommend this product. I dread to think the amount of hours that my daughter has played with this set, and it doesn't look any different from the day we bought it. To say it wasn't my first choice, I love this set as much as my little girl and I can often be found in her den in her bedroom having a spot of tea and sandwiches with my favourite little girls.
You can pick this up for under £7 on Amazon which includes postage.
Because of the ceramic tea set, I wouldn't recommend this for children any younger than 3.
A 9 piece picnic set. Invite your friends or your best soft toy to lunch in the park.