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My children have a good mix of toys at home. Ranging from superheros and science fiction e.g Iron Man, Hulk, Doctor Who, to Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly and Rasta Mouse. One addition to our toy treasure set was this collection, bought from Argos earlier in the year, for around the £6-7.00 mark.
Why did I buy this?
I bought this set because of what it was and the character connected to this set. For my daughter's last birthday I bought her a Barbie play kitchen. It came with afew little accessories such as pans, spoons, pots etc, but I wanted some other kitchen type toys to work alongside this, and could also be played with independently from the kitchen if needed. There's loads of different characters I could have gone for that are plastered on similar sets and are geared more towards little girls than boys e.g Barbie, Peppa Pig, Hello Kitty etc, but we don't have anything Dora at home, and I know she's liked the show since she was literally a baby.
How was it packaged?
In quite decent sized cardboard box, mainly purple in colour, with the front having a clear ' window ', so you can see all the products in the box. Loads of pictures of Dora on the packaging, and on the back it gives you an idea on how the set looks when played with ( picture of two girls using this set ), it mentions how many pieces are included and a special effect some pieces of this set has.
What do you get?
This set comprises of 12 pieces:
A teapot-this is the largest piece in this set measuring 7 inches in length ( including handle and spout ) and 4 inches in height (without the lid ). The teapot is mainly purple in colour, with a turquoise spout and handle. On the front is a picture of Dora as a mermaid. Next to this picture, on the teapot itself, are raised patterns of beads star shapes, and sea shells which run past the handle and onto to other side. The handle has a bead like effect on it, as this pattern is raised, and the teapot can stand on flat surfaces due to the slightly sea shell like shape of the base. The teapot comes with a lid, pink in colour with a yellow shell shaped area at the top to pick this up from the pot.
2 small turquoise coloured cups. Has the raised bead effect around the rim and handle, shell shaped bottom so it can stand, and various sea shaped themed patterns, all raised, running around it. 3 inches in length ( including handle ), 2 inches in height. These came with two small saucers, pink in colour.
A 2 handled cup/small bowl. I assume this is more of a small bowl as there's already two cups in this set. Pink in colour, shell shaped base. Like the other pieces, has raised patterns all over that depict sea shapes. The handles on this one is a little different. Both are shaped like sea horses, and although these stick out from the cup/bowl itself, you can only hold them, there's no hole to place your fingers in. 4 inches in length ( including handles ), 2 inches high.
A pouring jug. Purple in colour and has the same raised shapes and base as the other pieces. Handle is shaped as a dolphin.
2 small yellow spoons for stirring.
2 almost spoon like pieces but still no idea what they are. I can only guess these are mimicking tea bags that are attached to string. Pink in colour.
A mat. Feels almost felt in texture. Has the character ' The Map ' on it in pirate gear. The rest of the mat has a underwater sea landscape picture on it e.g water, treasure chest, plants, key, plant life etc. 12 inches in length, 8 inches in width.
A couple of these pieces-the two cups and the two ' teabags ' ( I'll call them ), when placed in cold water reveals a purple key shape in the cups, and on the other items a purple clam with a pearl in the middle.
Pieces made from some form of plastic. Set suitable for ages 3 upwards.
What do we think?
My daughter loved this set as soon as she saw it, and it took no time for her to get it out of its packaging and have a good play. It took even less time for her big brother to have a go too! She's used this set in and on her play kitchen, and has used it separately. She's used this in the pretend sense e.g making people tea and juice, and has also been caught taking it one step further by filling it up with water in the downstairs toilet ( those steps that help toddlers reach the toilet have a lot to answer for! ). More so recently, while she's been having a bath, I've thrown these in with her as putting real water in it is far too much temptation, so this is a happy and safe medium for both of us ( I have to make sure the taps are firmly tightened! ).
It's been a good number of months since she first got this set, so as you can imagine, a young child over that period of time changes and develops in so many ways. Her hand and eye co ordination, communication, talking skills and general understanding of things is greater and sharper. Her imagination is wider and more complex, and her likes and dislikes are firmly cemented into her personality. So right now, she is a lot more confident in using this set, understands what your supposed to do with it and role plays effortlessly with her brother or on her own.
What do I think?
It's a nice looking set firstly. Lovely colours that are pretty and very cute, but eye catching at the same time. The detail in the pieces is pretty good considering what they are and the fact they are only plastic! Each piece is quite durable, easy to clean if necessary with some water and an be stored away quite easily in a toy box or cupboard, as each piece really isn't that big.
The size is perfect for little hands as its important that they can grab and hold them easily, and feel comfortable and confident to use this set which my daughter has and still id doing so. Despite their size, there still is a slight chunky feel to them so is easy to hold, rather being small, dainty and tiny not only in size, but also in thickness in regards to materials being used, so you don't feel the child/ren using this have to be too precious in their handling of the set.
This isn't one of those sets that my daughter uses all the time, but as she gets older she has more of an interest in it. Being able to use this in the bath has been a God send, as bath time can be a little up and down with her. She naturally loves it, but depending on how her skin is ( she has eczema ), she either has no problems splashing and playing in the bath, or she's screaming the house down because the water hurts her skin. This has been a perfect distraction, and a cost effective one, as I haven't had to use of buy bath toys specifically for that type of play.
Perfect number of pieces in this set, whether it's for one child to play with or two possibly more. We've lost afew pieces along the way in the house, but I never wanted a kit that had hundreds of pieces within the set, as it didn't make any sense and would be a waste. Good amount, nice selection of afew different sized and shaped pieces that can be enjoyed by young children.
Despite the recommended age for this set being 3 plus, I gave this to my daughter on her 2nd birthday. There's nothing sharp, no pieces that can come off, no chance of suffocation, strangulation etc. The only thing I would say is that now she's that touch older, it makes more sense to her and in regards to her development, it suits her more now than when she first got it. So she's very much grown in to this.
When I bought this, I had no idea about the colour changing element to some of the pieces, which makes it even more fun to play with. It was only when my daughter got a piece dirty and I rinsed it off that I noticed. My kids haven't noticed this as they're far too busy being Drama King's and Queen's!
Would I buy this again? Yes I would. It's a nice set that would please any young Dora fan! Or any child that likes to pretend play full stop! Nice to look at, made well, good selection of pieces and was quite inexpensive. For me and my little girl it was a good buy.