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I am a great believer that toys which encourage imaginative play are of far more benefit to a child than those which provide electronic entertainment. Toys which are basic require a child to think and role play, which subsequently engages the mind in a greater way than those which 'put on a show'. It is for this reason that I am a fan of traditional wooden toys.
It was whilst internet shopping for my son in preparation for Christmas that I stumbled upon the Brio range of toys. Admittedly I had never before chanced upon this brand, however I was suitably impressed from first glance.
Brio was originally set up by Swedish basket maker Ivar Bengtsson in 1884. Ivar's basket making company expanded their range in 1907 and began making a range of wooden toys. Brio has since become an international organisation, receiving numerous awards over the years.
Brio's huge range of toys and other products can be seen at www.brio.net and purchased in many stores online. It was at Amazon.co.uk that I first discovered these toys and a simple Google search of Brio reveals that they are widely available. Brio's range includes various pull and push along animals, train sets, Disney themed toys, building blocks, vehicles, puzzles and a suitably cute 'My Very First' range for those early years. In addition to toys they also supply a range of cots, high chairs and strollers.
My little boy will be receiving a Brio wooden helicopter for Christmas. It is tentatively placed away from prying eyes ready to be wrapped in preparation. This toy is lime green in colour with an orange pilot figure inside and it is beautifully made. It is from Brio's classic range, number 30195. I purchased this from Amazon at £11.99. The packaging states that it is powered by 'child-energy' as the helicopter's blade will spin as it is pulled along at speed. Who needs batteries when you have child-energy?
I plan to build up a collection of these toys for my son. Brio's toys are not only pleasing to the eye and educating to the mind but are also hardy and durable and will hopefully continue to be played with in many years from now. I urge you to take a look!
Yesterday it was my future nephew Luke’s birthday. We bought him two Brio Thomas the Tank engine trains. He has just turned four and his Brio collection is his pride and joy. He has lots of the track that fits all around his room and nearly all the Thomas trains. The only disadvantage is the price. I think Brio is expensive for what it is and once you buy one it is almost inevitable that you will end up buying more. At £10 for the average Thomas train it is very expensive for what it is. The best thing about brio is definitely the child’s enjoyment. I find it hard to think Luke ever getting tired of his Brio set and an imagine him coming home from school in his teenage years and going straight to his train set. To enjoy Brio at its most you will certainly need as much track as possible. If you are thinking of purchasing Brio for your child it maybe best to buy a small figure eight track to see if they like it. These sets are around thirty pound and also include a few trains in with the price. If your child likes the set which I would almost guarantee you can purchase the track individually. You can buy many compatible trains for Brio sets but I would recommend the Thomas the Tank Engine range. All kids who love trains love Thomas although this is definitely an expensive way of collecting. In the Thomas range there are 24 different trains as follows Thomas Sir Handel Duncan Rusty Bertie the bus The Diesel Annie Clarabel Terence Duke James Edward Duck Peter Sam Gordan Diesel Henry Stepney Daisy Percy Toby S.C.Ruffey Skarloey Troublesome truck What is a train set without accessories? There are many accessories to choose from although again the cost can be astronomical. For example the Thomas the Tank Engine roundhouse costs £70!! I think Luke can go without that one. What I find is children don’t mind the cheaper varie
ty of accessories. Luke has a Brio compatible engine shed which he loves just as much. You can get other accessories such as a water tower (around £20), a stop and go station (around £16), a set of four people (around £6). You can also get battery powered trains for Brio so if your child gets bored of pushing one along they can sit back and watch the trains go by. These are easy to work and many also have an automatic switch off which means after so long it will switch itself off to save battery power. There are many websites including the Brio range the most popular being, www.Brio.co.uk The most popular Brio stockists are the Early Learning Centre and Toymaster. If you want to purchase your goods on the net the following sites may be of use. www.elc.co.uk www.mailorderexpress.co.uk www.hamleys.co.uk www.directtoyourdoor.co.uk www.mothercare.com I recommend that you buy your products from the shops though as postage and packaging can bring the costs up. Brio provides hours and hours of enjoyment and is bound to put a smile on your child’s face. Luke spends hours a day on his train set which provides his mum and dad with time on their hands to look after their daughter. Another good thing about Brio is the ease of use. Luke can play by himself and although he often gets his dad to help him build a new track once it is up and running he can do everything by himself. History of Brio Brio was founded in 1884 in Sweden. This really surprised me, as I cannot remember Brio as a child. The BRIO name was developed from BRothers Ivarsson at Osby. They are the number one Wooden Toy Company in the world. Brio UK was set up twenty-five years ago. I think it is one of the most well known companies with children and definitely popular all round.
Which hardly seems possible, as he is devoted to his Brio railway set. It's well made stuff, perfect for train-crazed toddlers, but the real joy is the Thomas the Tank Engine range. I almost feel like selling my car, just so I can afford the myriad different characters. I haven't actually bought any yet, because my son will go completely bonkers when he finds out he is able to integrate realistic simulations of Duck, Toby and Percy into his train games. The one real difficulty though is that he seldom allows me to join in fully with his games, he is really quite possessive. I will have to seriously consider resorting to playing with it after he has gone to bed.
For me this was a Godsend, as my son was mad on trains. This wooden track slots together at each end very easily like two pieces of a jigsaw. This helps with co-ordination, motor and communication skills. The only limitations are the childs' own imagination. There are a number of starter sets available and lots of extra track to add as needed. There are also wooden accessories and different trains available. Beware though some of the trains can be quite expensive. The Early Learning Centre and Tesco do their own track and trains that are just the same, which you will find to be of a more reasonable price. My son is now ten and therefore does not play with it any longer, so it is now up for sale. I have to say that he has had about five years play value out of it (age 3-8 years) and it was worth every penny. A must for any young boy!
My daughters have inherited an enormous box full of Brio from my brothers (they are quite a bit younger than me!) which my parents bought for them about 20 years ago. You would never know that this stuff is that old! Brio is a little more expensive than most train sets but it's WELL worth it if your kids are into it and if you have a few kids AND if you have boys! The various bits and pieces have to be bought separately a lot of the time, although you can buy little sets of a few bits that go together. Our Brio has been battered around by two boys who used to make and dismantle massive train track layouts with houses, buildings, offices, churches and who knows what else. It's also been used as a fort and places for action men to fight in. I've played with it loads as did my parents - it can get so involved and complicated that it feels like an achievement. Some of the layouts we made are a real work of art. Thankfully the pieces aren't minute so they don't take long to put away. They are made of solid wood and don't seem to attract dirt. The tracks are a piney wooden colour, while the houses etc come in various colours. They are a beautiful old-fashioned type of toy that keeps my kids occupied for hours - even the toddler. She has no trouble handling the bits as they are nice and chunky. Recommended!
Being a primary school teacher, I had previously heard of the Brio train sets and their benefits, but was very wary of the cost. However, I recently picked up a bag of Brio and several trains and carriages for the amazing price of £4. My 20 month old daughter loves watching the battery-powered train go round and pushing the other little trains around. I'm sure it will last her for many years to come. Bought new, the Brio sets are expensive, particularly to other brands, especially those available from Early Learning Centre. My friend has some Brio, but also has the more chunky (and plastic rather than wooden) Thomas The Tank engine tracks and trains, which are good, cheaper, but not as good quality. My advice is to scour the boot sales for second hand Brio tracks, then top it up with extra tracks, tunnels, bridges or trains from the catalogues, or even via the internet, as they have their own excellent website. The Thomas trains are very expensive, but you are paying for the name. I do find it quite amazing that a tiny little train can zoom round the track powered by a little battery, I'm sure young children will be just as enthusiastic, particularly if it is blue with a number 1 on the side!
I have to agree that the quality of Brio's products are very good but the prices put me off. I have a mixture of Brio, ELC and other train sets. They all fit together and I can honestly say that it is quite dificult to tell them apart. Some items such as the crane at £25 pounds seem very expensive but these are maybe the items spending a bit more on. As for the tracks I would buy a cheaper set out of the likes of Argos and individual trains out of ELC (£1.50 - £3.00). My son buys one nearly every time we are in ELC. I bought a crossing and bridge set out of Index for £7.99 which is a lot cheaper that the Brio acsesories but the quaility isn't that great. Its ok for 1 child at home but definatly not sturdy enough for nurseries or childminders.
I have to agree with lily7star, this is one toy, I don't mind paying for. Our set is in constant use and the layout takes up half my son's bedroom. I hadn't intended succumbing but Grannie was persuaded to buy a basic set whilst on a shopping trip with my eldest son, and now I'm afraid I'm as hooked as the boys. It is beautifully made and easy for little fingers to slot together and of course you can get all the 'Thomas' bit and bobs. The engines and coaches couple magnetically, so even James at 16 months can make a train. We have some Tesco track which fits and is fine, but the Brio engine sheds, stations etc are far superior to the cheaper alternatives. I have a box on the kitchen counter, the front of which is labelled with next big item Harry is saving for, and the Brio catalogue is one of his most treasured possesions!
It's only relatively recently that our Brio box hasn't been coming down from the shelf any more.... and my youngest is now 9. Brio, for those who don't know, is a scandinavian range of toys....and in particular a wooden railway set, which is what I'll mainly be referring to. Brio Toys are without exception well-made and have prices to match. They are however bright and original and well-thought out in addition to appealing to small (and not so small) children. Although these days Brio has a lot of copy-cat rivals on the market, none of them seem to ever quite match up to the real thing. My boys, when young, without a doubt got much more mileage from this toy than any other (except their Little Tikes climber!) Brio appeals to any child who likes trains and who loves building their own railways. The Early Learning Centre often has a Brio railway on a board in the shop for kids to play with and has obviously realised what enormous play value can be had from it. The railway pieces are sturdy and easy to fit together. They are also well-made without splinters for little fingers to come a cropper on. You can buy (at a price, admittedly) everything from TGv's to Intercities, to turntables, to scenery, to metro trains and swing bridges......you name it, Brio has it (and so did my boys!) They can start with a basic figure of 8 set, and build up gradually..... we were very lucky to win nearly £500 of it one Christmas, and we bought some over time as well, so we have a huge collection. It is expensive, but one of those few toys which is worth the investment. Like Little Tikes, Brio railway holds its value well second hand, and you'd be very lucky to pick up any on the second hand market, and well able to sell on when, if ever, you finish with it. The toy is a classic and personally I'm not keen to sell ours....I may just keep it for any grand-children who eventually come along!