“ Brand: ELC / Type: Childrens Role Play - Fairy Castle „
My daughter is turning two very soon and for her birthday, we have got her some Early Learning Centre Happyland toys as well as other things. My sister made a visit earlier in the summer as she lives quite far away and gave my daughter an early present which we decided to let her open early, as we felt she would be getting plenty on her birthday. Knowing that she was going to be getting some Happyland stuff, my sister bought her this Palace Castle. I'm not sure when my sister bought this but it currently retails on the ELC website at £30, which is pretty pricey and I hope my sister didn't pay full price.
This toy is suitable for children from 18 months and I could see how that would be an appropriate age. My little girl was immediately mesmerized as she loves fairies and princesses at the moment. Six months ag, she wouldn't have been so interested in such a theme. This is a pretty girly toy given its pink colour, and with the house comes a King, Queen, princess and a jester. My daughter wasn't really sure about he jester, and to be honest, I think a prince would possibly have been a better choice. This castle also comes with thrones for the King and Queen to sit on, but my daughter finds it quite hard to get the people to sit on them, without falling or sliding, and gets frustrated.
Ever since getting this toy earlier in the summer I would say my daughter plays with it most days. She can open up to play inside the castle as well as outside the castle, and there is a lovely balcony for the little people to sit on and doors to get in and out of the castle. There is also a little stairway for the little people to climb up and down on.
THere are a few little issues I have with this toy, despite my daughters enjoyment. Firstly, other than the thrones there isn't much else in the way of furniture for the little people to interact with, and I think there should have been. Also, the doors of the castle appear to be very fragile and can come off very easily when my daughter pushes them, so much so, that I have had to fix them many a time, which is a bit disappointing for the price that the Early Learning Centre charge.
All in all, this is a good toy for imaginative play and I can hear my little girl talking away and interacting with the castle and people which is lovely to see, however, I just think for the price, some of the issues that I have raised should be addressed if you are to pay £30.
My daughter has had this Castle now for almost 15months - she received it at Christmas 2011, when she was aged 18 months (the start of the recommended age for the Castle).
Initially, it proved to be of little interest to her. Despite it's bright appealing colour and lovely little figures, she simply didn't care for it, preferring to play with cars and trains instead. So it was put away, as we simply thought she was a little young for it.
A couple of months later though, her interest peeked (she had started to attend Toddler sessions, which provided a range of Happyland to explore) - she became interested in it, and that interest has continued ever since. Yes, it wanes every now and again when a new toy appears, but generally it is something that she always goes back too. She enjoys role-playing the little figures, along with the chairs and bed that came with it.
I have a couple of gripes with it however - whilst the castle is generally very sturdy and well made, the doors continuously come off with the slightest touch. At first, I wondered if my daughter was being heavy-handed (which wouldn't be that unusual), but no, they simply aren't very well fitted. They attach again very easily, but the problem reoccurs frequently. Another, is when the castle is clipped closed, my daughter has difficulty opening it - that can sometimes be a little stiff - maybe ELC can get a happy medium between that and the useless falling-off door problem?
Overall however - it is a lovely toy. It comes with 4 figures - a King, Queen, Princess and Jester. Ours also came with two throne chairs and a bed. Later on, we added the Queen's Jubilee set, and the Fairy Godmother carriage to it, for further role-play development. It is (generally) built to last, and at £25 is reasonably good value - but keep a look out for ELC offers - Happyland is often on sale for 20% off or sometimes even 50% off, making them an absolute bargain.
*The Happyland Fairy Castle has been re-branded the Happyland Palace Castle and no longer includes a bed. Dooyoo have asked me to place the review here.
With Freddy having a significant developmental delay and some strange quirks (such as peeling and eating stickers) he can be quite difficult to buy presents for. Last Christmas his Great Grandma bought some quite unsuitable presents (she really doesn't get that it's not a good idea to buy him something suitable for a three year old), so this year I bought his present from Great Grandma and then let her give me the money for it. With his absolute love of the Happyland range and the knowledge that they will not only provide him with hours of fun, but also help his social development while also surviving everything he can throw at them, when I saw the Happyland Palace Castle reduced in price to £15 from £30 I knew it would be an ideal gift. Before I go any further I am going to say that yes I know this is a very pink toy and that many would feel that it is only really suitable for girls, but Freddy doesn't care what colour his toys are, only that they are fun to play with.
Supplied within an open-faced box and held in place with those horrible plastic ties, there is no doubt that the Palace Castle is firmly aimed towards girls, being formed of pink and white plastic with lots of hearts scrolls across the windows. As there is no such thing as a gender specific toy in this house, Freddy has no preconceptions that pink is for girls and blue is for boys (and his understanding is not at a level where he realises that other children have prejudices) so as far as he is concerned the Palace Castle is just pretty rather than being just for girls. Of course some boys of his age (nearly three) do have these prejudices and I would imagine that they would not be quite so happy to receive such a pink castle. As with all his Happyland toys, Freddy was extremely pleased to receive this castle and couldn't wait for Mummy or Daddy to open it up once he had removed the wrapping paper. I often find it a struggle to remove Happyland sets from their packaging and this was no exception, with me resorting to using very sharp scissors to release the plastic twisty ties as Freddy was very impatient.
The castle itself is a fairly impressive size, standing approximately 35cm high with the base measuring in at approximately 32cm by 15cm when closed. Although the castle is quite large, Freddy finds it easy to carry around, which is mainly due to the carry handle situated at the top. As with all the Happyland buildings a lot of thought has gone into the castle's design, with a great attention to detail. I love the latticework on the windows which is followed into the balcony, while the flowers growing beside the lower windows are just beautiful. I also love the way that some of the stonework is in relief giving an impression of a little realism. While closed the castle has rather limited play value, there are double doors at the front that open to allow Freddy to place his characters inside and another at the back, but in common with many Happyland doors these do come off easily. While I understand the thinking behind the ease with which these doors fall off (they're less likely to actually snap) and they are easy to replace, both Freddy and I do find it a little frustrating when they come of in his hand while playing. The large open balcony is also accessible while the palace is closed, but it is when opened up that the castle comes into it's own.
Although Freddy immediately knew that the castle opened up, he couldn't quite work out how and to be honest neither could I. Unlike the Sherwood Castle that he also owns, this castle opens out from the side and it is quite stiff to start with, which did mean quite a bit of frustration on both our parts. Once opened the castle provides a whole new level of play, with a winding staircase for the characters to ascend and then an upper level complete with a mock stone slab floor and two rather pretty carpets. While we both appreciate the simple, yet pretty decoration, the carpets are in the form of stickers and Freddy has something of an obsession with peeling and eating stickers so I do keep an eye on him when playing with this. There is room on each of these carpets to place one of the two thrones that come with the set, so that the King and Queen can keep an eye on the court. The thrones are very basic, but sturdily built being formed of plastic and are the perfect size for the larger than normal (for Happyland) characters that come with the castle to sit on.
Talking of characters a total of four are supplied with this set the King, Queen, Princess and Jester. These beautifully detailed characters are formed of the same rubber-like material as the characters in other Happyland sets, with the features and detail be hand-painted on. While the characters are about the same height as other Happyland characters but are quite a bit chunkier with wider bases. While this means that the characters are easier for little fingers to manipulate, it also means that they will not fit in other Happyland vehicles, which is a bit of a shame. What I particularly like about these characters is how tough they are, they can be thrown from a great height or chewed on without becoming damaged and should they get grubby they are easy to wash clean.
Although at two and a half, Freddy is well above the minimum age for this set, he has a significant development delay meaning he is at the level of a ten to eighteen month old and so his imaginative play is still very primitive. Even so, he does love his Happyland sets and this castle is no exception. He loves manipulating the characters, putting them in and out of the doors or simply examining them. He seems to be especially taken with the Princess who has decided is "pretty" and will spend quite a time playing with her. It's not just the characters that came with this set that he will use when playing with the castle, earlier today there was a lion hiding behind a door, that he had very carefully placed there.
As well as allowing Freddy free-play with this castle, I do spend time playing with him,making up stories and scenarios using the characters included along with other sets. It's during these play sessions that we have fun while I try and help Freddy develop him imaginative, social and communicative skills as I talk about what the different characters are doing. This is the great thing about all the Happyland sets, they are wonderful for helping young children and toddlers develop those all important skills as they play. While the educational scope is perhaps not as high as some of the everyday sets (such as the school) but there is still plenty of scope for imagination, communication and sharing to be developed while making up stories for the character to enact. A final really good aspect of this set is that once play has finished the characters and thrones can be safely stored inside the closed castle, meaning that they are less likely to be lost between play sessions.
With a recommended age range of eighteen months to four years (which is just about right) the Happyland Palace Castle makes an excellent addition to any Happyland collection, albeit one that is rather pink. Freddy loves to play with his new castle, especially in combination with his other Happyland sets. I do think that perhaps the Early Learning Centre could have toned down the pink, but other than that it does add a new aspect to Freddy's play, having two castles to play with has to be more fun than once, especially once he gets older and hopefully extends his imaginative play. The castle itself is well throughout and well made, having already survived Freddy's attempt at using it as a step (with the exception of the doors that is). So Freddy and I are giving the Happyland Palace Castle four stars out of five, with it losing that one star due to the easily removed doors and the fact it is so pink.
My daughter received the HappyLand Palace Castle for Christmas last year. We were a little worried that she wouldn't be very interested in the set and it may be a bit 'babyish' for her - the age recommendation was 18 months to 4 years, and she was 4 years old at the time. However we had nothing to worry about as she loved it and still plays with it regularly almost a year on! Don't pay too much attention to the age recommendation, I think children up to around 6 years of age would enjoy it.
The Happyland Palace Castle is from The Early Learning Centre and costs £30.00. It comes packaged in a large sized attractive cardboard box. My daughter was thrilled when she tore the wrapping paper off! The set includes a castle, 4 plastic figures (king, queen, princess and jester), a bed and 2 thrones.
The castle is quite a large size and looks lovely - all different shades of pink, with pink window displays and doors. It has a pointy roof with golden balls on top and even a balcony. There are plants either side of the front door and flowers running up the castle. It looks and feels like good quality too - very solid. Although the castle is quite big, it's also quite lightweight, although slightly awkward for little ones to hold and move around. Thankfully the castle has a plastic handle on the top - this is a great feature as my daughter is always carrying it around with her.
You can keep the castle closed when not in use and open it up to play with. My daughter can do this independently. There is enough room for 2 children to happily play with the castle. You can play at either side of the castle (the inside or outside), although I would say that the most fun side is the inside of the castle. There are 2 levels inside the castle. The floors are purple and pink and there is a little staircase. The only downside of the interior is that the floors are quite small and there isn't much room for playing. You can squeeze the figures and furniture in, but there isn't much space for them to move about. Although I have to admit, this doesn't really bother my daughter at all - she usually just makes up her own fun and is happy to use the empty space in front of the castle (the floor or table) if she needs more room.
The figures are all cute looking. You can tell who each figure is supposed to be. They're all very chunky (so safe) and are good for little ones to get their hands around. They seem quite robust too. The bed and thrones seem like good quality too. My daughter enjoys putting the king and queen in their thrones, putting the princess to bed and being silly with the jester! She quite often gets her other toys to join in too. There are other Happyland figures available (people and animals), although my daughter seems to enjoy using the toys she already has.
There are a couple of things which I'm not too keen on. The first thing is that the 2 doors are quite flimsy and fall off quite often. The second thing is that it can be awkward to close the castle with the figures and furniture inside.
The educational aspects of this set are that it's very good for imaginative play and it's also good for social play (playing with others).
Overall the ELC Happyland Palace Castle isn't perfect but I'm certain it would please any little girl.
So i have to admit I am rather obsessed with the ELC Happy land range. We have a wide variety of the toys including the farm, school, pet shop, bakery and so on! I first bought happy land last Christmas 2011 and with all the ELC sales and vouchers must admit i went a bit over the top but on Christmas day the thrill in my daughters eyes! She is 3 now and still loves getting all the bits and pieces out and building her own little village! She makes the people talk to each other and organises it in her own way! My 7 month old is also a fan now and i think the toys are perfect for him as the people are the right size for him to hold and he chews on them with no damage to him or the toy!
I bought the castle for my daughter as she asked for it after seeing another friend had it at their house. She was of course thrilled when she got it and added it to the collection of the other buildings, animals and people.
She still plays with this now we got a set with a Queen, King, Princess, Prince, two thrones, a big bed and a carriage with a unicorn. All of this is still in very good condition and lasts very well (as i have found with all the Happy land) but a common problem I have found is the doors!!!!! Doors are constantly falling off these products and every time you put them back they fall off again and eventually seem to wear away and the hinge breaks and you can no longer put the doors back on.
I have to admit compared to some of the other products the castle seems to be the worst for the doors falling off and the plastic of the whole castle seems weak and flimsy!
I was slightly disappointed with this but the rest has lasted well and is very well loved in this household!!!
All in all I think the product could be improved (the doors and the plastic could be a lot stronger). But I love the Happy land range and I think it is great for all kids the people are big enough for the younger ones but small enough for the older kids to carry round! I do definately think that ELC slipped with thier design on the castle though
My little ones received their first piece of Early Learning Centre (ELC) Happyland for their 1st birthday and I really liked the look of it and thought it was something they would enjoy playing with when they were a bit older, so when it was time to start Christmas shopping I had a look at what else there was in the range. It is an extensive range but did seem expensive so I waited until ELC had a sale on, this narrowed down the options and one of the pieces I decided on was this Fairy Castle.
The castle was tied into a cardboard box with those long pieces of wires which seem to take forever to untwist. You can see the item clearly in the box as it is open fronted so there is no surprise as to how girly pink it is! Once you have removed the castle from the box it's ready to play with.
As with all the Happyland pieces we have there is lots of detail for your little one to take in. Both of my girls are attracted by the opening doors and love to see how quickly they can remove them, normally only seconds. They are replaceable but as they only remove them again I no longer bother and it doesn't detract from the appearance of the castle too much it having no doors.
The windows on the castle are a mixture of hearts and heart flowers and the castle has molded plastic vines and conifers adding some green to the mainly pink castle. When the castle is closed there is access to the balcony which the included figures can be stood on and they can also be stood on the roof. This is where most of the figures normally end up as they like to see how many they can squash in.
A small tower on the side of the castle is used to open the castle up and your little one has a whole new playing area. This includes an upstairs area at the back of the balcony and a stair case.
I find that the castle is much sturdy for play when it is closed as whenever it is played with open it ends up falling over and Happyland looks like it has been hit by a hurricane!
Unlike all the other Happyland pieces we have this one doesn't have any sound effects which I think is a shame as my 2 really enjoy the sounds the other pieces make.
Included with the castle for your little one to play with are 4 figures, king, queen, princess and jester. 2 thrones, although it is quite hard to fit the figures into these and at nearly 2 my little ones still need help with this. Also included is a royal bed with canopy, this is much easy for little fingers to lay a figure on whilst playing. I like that this toy has the potential for imaginative play to develop as they get older and they no longer need me to make up scenarios for them.
Price and Availability
This Fairy Castle is £25 but is currently half price in the sale with free standard delivery, I think £12.50 is a great price for this. I paid £20 last year but it included the Happyland carriage worth £12.50 for free.
Would I recommend?
Yes, it is a lovely addition to our Happyland collection despite it being unstable when open. It's worth waiting for a sale before buying as I think it is overpriced at full price. Little ones will love playing with the figures and if they like pink this is the castle for them.
My youngest daughter was causing me a few problems this Christmas as she is the youngest of four and hard to buy for. As you can imagine we have a lot of toys in our house and we have a good mix of girls and boys toys so finding something new is always a problem for me.
I received a 20% off voucher from ELC (Early Learning Centre) shortly before Christmas and although I wouldn't normally shop there I thought I'd take a look and see what I could get for my money.
I had heard about the ELC Happy land range from my niece as she thinks it is lovely and happily recommended it to me. I did a quick search on Ebay for second hand happy land toys and found that they were selling for what I felt was quite high prices.
I eventually came across the Happy Land Fairy Castle on the ELC website and at that time it was £25 but came with a free carriage set that would normally cost £12. I also assumed that I would still get my 20% off but this wasn't the case due to the free carriage offer.
As I say I was struggling to think of anything else and because of the offer of the free carriage I decided to buy the two items.
The Castle is made of pink hard plastic and has doors that open and a large hinge to open and close it like a case. With the castle you get two purple plastic thrones and a purple plastic bed and four little people. The characters that you get with the castle are the king, queen a princess and a jester.
My youngest daughter is almost two and likes to carry things around in her hands and pockets and even has a selection of little bags that she likes to put things into. My older daughter has a variety of little toys such as littlest pet shop and puppy in my pocket and she gets annoyed that her younger sister keeps taking them. I was hoping that the little people from the ELC Fairy Castle and carriage set would give my younger daughter some little things of her own to carry around but would be safer for her.
When we first opened the toy on Christmas day my youngest was immediately interested and helped get everything out of the box. There is no building necessary as everything come complete. We opened up the castle and arranged the furniture and people in front of it and also set up the carriage that she had opened earlier. She had a good look and picked up the people and opened and closed the castle and that was it. It is now three weeks since Christmas and despite my best efforts she has shown little or no interest in the castle. She did carry the jester in her handbag for a few hours but that is the extent of her interest. My older daughter and myself have tried playing with her and shown her how to put the people into the thrones and told her about the characters and tried to sound excited but she is not having any of it.
Unfortunately I am failing to see what the attraction is with the happy land range and cannot understand why new and used prices are so high. Maybe I have started with the wrong piece from the collection but I just cannot find much entertainment value in this toy. My first problem is that they toy doesn't seem very sturdy; believe me it is stronger than a lot of toys but the doors are constantly falling off. At first I had arranged this toy in front of a toy box but when my children moved it to get to their other toys the doors just seemed to drop out. There isn't very much keeping them in so this isn't surprising. The other problem I have is that the people don't fit onto the furniture very well. The bed is too short and the people hang over the end and it isn't dipped enough in the middle to stop them simply rolling off to the side. The two thrones are quite big but just not wide enough so the people have to sit at an angle. This is very frustrating for my daughter as she can't get the people to sit the way she wants and they won't stay on the bed. The bed will fit inside the castle when it is open but only if you have it on the part with the balcony but everything does fit inside for storage as long as you arrange it so it doesn't obstruct the staircase inside.
To be honest I am struggling to stay positive and excited with this toy so I can see why it has been largely ignored by any of my children. Even with the addition of the carriage there is still very little that can be done with this toy. I think maybe the addition of a prince rather than a jester could have improved the toy but only slightly.
My experience of this toy has put me off buying anything else from the ELC happy land range and putting it on ebay is looking very attractive at the moment as judging by the prices I have seen I could almost get my money back. My husband doesn't want me to sell this toy but thinks I should give it a little more time and see if our daughter will grow into it.
Like all mums I think my daughter is a princess so when I first saw this I knew my little girl would love it. We bought this for her first birthday and a year later she still loves it. I however no longer think it is the fairy tale castle that I initially imagined.
At £25 it is one of the lower priced large Happyland pieces however I can understand why this is the case. Although my daughter does love to play with it, there really isn't much to it and she soon gets bored and moves on to something else.
In the box you get the castle, four different characters (king, queen, princess and jester), two chairs and a bed. This does seem quite a lot for the small price tag however the furniture doesn't really fit in the castle and the people don't fit on to the furniture. To get them to sit on the chair you have to force them in, my little one isn't able to do this so I spend a lot of time sitting them in the chair and then pulling them out again. The accessories however are very strong and chunky so easy for my daughter to handle. The recommended age is 18 months plus. My daughter had this for her first birthday and was perfectly save since there aren't any small parts however it was only when she was a little bit older that she started to play properly with this.
The item is very strong, as you usually find with Early Learning Centre products. I love this shop since although you often pay more you always get excellent quality. Having said that I really do have a problem with the doors on this castle. They seem to come off at the slightest touch. With three doors in total, the main game we tend to play is find the door.
I think I had expectations that were too high for this product and was left slightly disappointed. I would however still buy this product but maybe wait for an offer. It looks beautiful, my daughter loves it and every little princess should have a castle. It won't keep them entertained for hours and you will have to spend a lot of time helping out but it is great to play together.
Being a Mum of two girls I love anything pink, and am attracted like a magpie to anything in that colour. The same applied over 3 years ago whilst looking for things to buy for my eldest daughter's 1st birthday. This castle ticked all the boxes - it was "princessy," came from trusted brand ELC, and most importantly was pink!
The castle is in shades of pink and lilac, with lots of heart shapes on the windows and doors, making it very attractive to both little girls and their mums alike.
It opens up from the side although this is tricky for little hands to do, and I've usually had to help open it. The two halves each have small floor areas built in on two levels, but they're not really big enough to put the supplied furniture onto, and it would have been better if the castle had been made deeper so that more floor space could have been built in . There's also a small spiral staircase in one corner, and a balcony above the front doors for the royalty to appear on. My girls like making figures climb up the staircase, although in reality it wouldn't be much use as they'd have to make a leap of faith from the top of the stairs to the floor on the other side.
The castle is let down by the doors and carry handle which are always falling off. They fit back on quite easily, but it's not good, especially when trying to carry it! As a result, our doors are always getting lost and spend more time off than on. It's a shame as my girls like to have the figures ringing the imaginary doorbell and being let into the building through the door, which they can't do if it's missing.
The supplied King, queen, princess, prince, wizard and jester are nice figures to have and make a change from the other Happyland figures we have. It's worth noting that if you do have Happyland sets, these figures are slightly wider at the base and therefore don't fit in many of the Happyland vehicles, chairs, etc.
Two thrones, and a canopy bed are supplied with the castle. The figures sit nicely on the thrones, but have a tendency to roll off the bed due to their shape, being more chunky at the bottom.
More accessories would be a nice addition, as there's not a huge amount of scope for play with what's provided. This is one of the least used of the Happyland sets we have. My daughters rarely play with the actual castle as there's not a huge lot to do with it, especially as the indoor floor space isn't big enough to put things on. If they do play with it, the thrones and bed are placed on the floor outside of the open castle. They have played with the queen and princess figures much more, enjoying carrying them around, and using them with other Happyland sets that they have. They like the canopy bed and thrones and use them to let other figures sleep on, along with the beds and chairs from other sets.
Aside from the doors and handle, the castle if fairly durable. Over three years it hasn't been damaged, had paint chipped, or been scratched.
The castle retails for £25 and currently has an offer on for the free enchanted carriage, which is worth £10. Officially suitable for ages 18 months to 4 years, but there are no small parts so could be used by younger children.
We have the carriage set also, which is played with more than the castle. If you do have the castle, a nice addition might be the Royal Wedding figures set available from ELC, which would add more opportunities for play.
Going back 3 years in time, would I buy it again if I took off my pink-tinted glasses? Probably not as it's not been used that much. Although if I took my daughters into ELC and asked them to choose something from this range, I know they'd opt for this as they love anything to do with princesses, and are pink girls like their Mummy!