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Last year I purchased my sons a lego city advent calendar which they shared between them and took great delight in opening every day. I was tempted to buy another lego one this year until I saw one with the contents on display in the lego shop, and I thought to myself it was very little variation on last year's theme. Seems though I have bought both my boys a playmobil set for their main present this year, I decided that a Playmobil calendar might be the better option for this year. I was then umming and aahing about which one to choose as there are a few different themes, and I almost went with Pirates, but then decided to buy this dinosaur one as my children have recently been playing with dinosaur toys more and also they loved Jurassic Park when they watched that.
I felt that the price I paid of around £14 including postage was a brilliant price. The usual RRP is over £18, and that is a lot, but this is a 70 piece set, so it is a fair price I feel.
This came in a pretty large and impressive box, and my children were absolutely delighted on the 1st of December to see such a large colourful box. The dimensions of this calendar are 30x 40cm, and 7cm in depth. The calendar came in a cardboard sleeve which was taped to the advent calendar on the sides of the box. I took this off, but managed to tear some of the picture off the box doing so. It's only on the bottom and top edges, so it hasn't wrecked it but it has spoiled the look a little.
The back of the box the calendar is in has a perforated section with a hole, so if you wanted to you could hang your calendar on a wall. We have not used this, instead perching this on a table so my children can access it when they want to open a door each morning.
Under the cardboard sleeve was a cardboard play scene to put all your little playmobil figures on. We have not assembled this yet, as it is quite large at 50cm long. I don't think it would last till Christmas time if I assembled it now without having somewhere to put it. I'm saving it till we get some more accessories.
The calendar itself is quite a sturdy cardboard. We have been able to easily open the doors using the perforated edges around the doors. None of the doors have torn off when opening, which is something I disliked on the lego advent calendar. I felt that it really looked tatty by the time advent was done.
The pieces inside have been excellent. So far we have had an explorer, his hat and binoculars, his map and sat nav, a motorbike, some boxes with pictures of dinosaurs on, and some walkie talkies and a torch.
The outer sleeve shows pictures of what we will be getting on each day, so I know we will get more excavation tools like a shovel, snakes and scorpions, a little plastic island, a dinosaur, some eggs and a hatched egg. I didn't like this really that the surprise is spoilt, and I made sure I got rid of the outer sleeve before the kids started having a good look at it. I think if you know what you are going to get, it is then not as exciting for them.
My only complaint about this is that the contents inside are in a plastic tray, and we have found that some of the smaller items have fell from one section to another, so this morning for example, my sons took out the torch and walkie talkies, then they looked again and found a set of three tools. They were about to just use them, but I realised that they would then be upset another day to get nothing. I luckily could see from the outer sleeve exactly which door the tools needed to be under, and managed to sort it out.
My children are enjoying this, but I do think they found the little lego models that needed assembling last year were a lot more engaging. Here, the play value will improve as we go through the 24 days and collect all the bits, but for now, they are not finding it as exciting as I hoped. I think when we get the dinosaur skeleton on day 8 they might enjoy more pretending to dig it up and build the bones together.
The recommended age on this is 4-10. The lower end of this I totally agree with due to the number of smallish parts. We've had smaller parts in other sets, but plenty of things are small enough to be a choking hazard. I am not sure about the upped end - I think judge it yourself on your child. I think from the 10 year olds I know, they would find it a bit babyish. The link to Christmas is pretty minimal, with a little picure of santa on the box and some little snow flakes on the outer sleeve being about it.
I think for the price, if your child likes little figures and dinosaurs, then you can't really go wrong with this set. Currently it is £12.99 on amazon with about £3.50 postage on top. I think there are a fair few of these advent calendars with toys in, and this is better quality than some of the more expensive ones like the lego.
Model: Advent Calendar Dinosaur Expedition / Age: recommended For Ages 4+ / Includes: twenty-four surprise items for each day of Advent / This Playmobil Advent Calendar is full of surprises, open a door each day to reveal the mystery for today / The advent calendar