Product Type: ELC Toy Train
Newest Review: ... train is likely to be very appealing. I think this is a really lovely set and well made. ELC have got this spot on for the toddler mark... more
ELC Happyland Country Train Set
Member Name: joshuas-mummy
ELC Happyland Country Train Set
Advantages: Chunky feel, perfect for toddlers
Disadvantages: A little Pricer Than I Would Like
I didn't really think that one through as my son was only 3 months old that first Christmas so the toys stayed in their box until this year when my son was 15 months at Christmas-perfect age for Hapyland introduction!
This Happyland Country Train Set was one of the sets bought before he was born and it was £38 then, the same as it still retails for now. You can buy it from the ELC website www.elc.co.uk and in their shops. Other retailers now carry the Happyland Range like Argos, Boots and Amazon-although you will need to check which stocks this train set.
The Train set itself is so simple to use and play with-that's the great benefit of Happyland. It's designed for children aged 18 months and upwards so therefore simplicity is key. The track itself comes in six pieces that easily slot together to form an oval shaped track for the train. There are four rounded pieces and two straight pieces that all connect together to form the one and only track combination (unless you want the train to run off the track at the end!) One of the straighter looking pieces is attached to the car crossing too. I think this is a really nice addition to this train set-you get a sports car and a man to drive it too and so in order to incorporate him and the car in to the toy there is a crossing made especially for the car. It's ramped on either side so the car can drive up to and over the track and you can put the barriers down to stop the car while it waits for the train. I think it's lovely getting the car element as an addition to the train element. It feels a little less 'standard train set'.
You also get the station platform which can be positioned anywhere but it is a rectangular shape so it slots nicely next to the opposite straight piece of track. You also get a moveable road sign for the 'Happyland Train Station' which can also be placed anywhere the imagination wishes. You also get two people as well with this set who can act as the passengers.
The train itself is red and black and painted in the traditional way. It has two carriages. One is coal filled so you can't really do much with it, and the other is hollowed out as a passenger train to fit one of the people loosely inside. These carriages both have little peg like hooks at the front and back to attach to each other and the front train in order to be pulled around the track. The main train itself has a hollowed out section for the driver who is also included in the set and the magic thing about this particular train set is that when you put the driver (or any other Happyland character) in the drivers section the weight of him pushes down and makes the train move! Removing the driver does the reverse and the train will stop. The presence and weight of the driver also is what instructs the train to make it's typical 'choo choo' noises too. As the train moves slowly around the track it will come to a stop of it's own accord when it reaches the station. After moments it's ready to go again!
My son absolutely adores this train set! It's the perfect 'first train set' and I can say I've not come across better thanks to the noises, the movement, the vibrancy, simplicity of the toy etc. Happyland has a chunky feel to all the various people and sets and this train set uses that and the beautiful way in which is moves as a great way to stimulate your child. My son loved learning that putting a man in the train makes it go forward, he thinks it's hilarious to knock him out so that the train stops and then put him back in-it goes on like that forever!
Happyland is what ELC describe as 'small play world' and I would agree. At the moment my son doesn't know what shops are, what cars and trains are but I know as he grows he will understand more and appreciate the role playing element of it even more. At his current stage of development he's happy to move the people around and touch everything, knock the train over and start it again and he genuinely loves this toy. So because of that it gets five stars from me.
At first I thought the price was a bit steep but when I thought about it I think it's not quite that bad, although I think a £35 price tag would be more than adequate. I have noticed the price of Happyland steadily increasing and the amount the range is discounted by is getting smaller each sale-which is sad. I assume it's because it's popularity is growing. Nevertheless though I will continue to invest in Happyland, not just because I like it but because my son enjoys playing with it!
The train needs 2xAA batteries which aren't included but ELC sell them at the counter's in their stores so you can get them there if your rushed. The packaging is easy, the stickers all come in place and you don't need to do any assembly other than putting the six pieces of track together-and it's ready to play.
As a mum, my take on this toy is 5 stars! It's so easy to get out and play with straight away, provides entertainment and holds my sons attention, it's already taught him something he didn't know and it will continue to give him something to play with as he gets older. I can't really fault it other than the price! Another reason I love it is because it taught my son to say 'choo choo' which is the most adorable thing I've seen! Therefore it's all worth it in my eyes!
Summary: Perfect First Train Set
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