Saturday, 30 October 2010

Review: In the Night Garden Tea and Friends Playset

My two little boys adore In the Night Garden so it was with great interest that I opened up the parcel containing the In the Night Garden and Friends Playset.

This set is made by Hasbro and has a recommended retail price of £29.99 and marketed to the age 2+ range.

"Join Igglepiggle and Upsy Daisy for a tea party! This set includes everything you need for a fabulous, relaxing afternoon. It comes complete with Soft bodied Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy Igglepiggle's blanket, 2 cups, 2 saucers, 2 spoons, a tea pot, and a tea tray. Also included is a DVD of the famous pair in action"

First things first, and much to the squeals of irritation from my terrible twosome..release poor Upsy Daisy and long suffering chum Igglepiggle from their plastic and cardboard prison complete with instruments of torture..several rather nasty tags and ties with which they were attached!
As always, I question the integrity here of the packaging company and wonder whether it is altogether necessary to tie the various components in so many places!
Actually I always wish I had done this in advance as, being 4 and 2 years ols, my boys do not have a bucket load of patience and usually end up disappearing into another room to play with the packaging which, in some cases could be rather dangerous.

Having removed all the toys from the box I then instigated a role playing game for the boys as I love to lead their games and see where their sparky little imaginations then take them.
I was suitably impressed with the quality of the soft toy, their size making them really fun to play with. The addition of a detachable skirt and hairband for Upsy Daisy was a nice touch and my 4 year old, Leon, had no trouble at all popping the party skirt and hairband onto the pretty doll.
Of course Igglepiggle had the obligatory blanket and I showed the boys how to lay it out as a picnic blanket.
My 2 year old, Reuben, immediately started making "cups of tea" for everyone and using the little teapot to pour them out. I liked the nice neat lid that fitted perfectly onto the pot. This makes a change for childrens teaset toys which I find tend to be badly made and hard to fit together.

The colours could have been brighter on the teaset items and perhaps some mixed colours rather than the standard insipid pink.

I really enjoyed watching my boys invent a really sweet game involving Upsy Daisy trying to drink out of the teapot and Iggle Piggle getting cross because he wanted to cuddle his blanket instead of using it as an improvised floor cloth!
Sibling rivalry causes many a scuffle and often ends in tears but I have to say it was a total joy to see a gentle game unfolding without the slightest squawk!

One real plus point for me was to be able to see my boys enjoying a simple tea party game, soon involving other toys such as a favourite teddy, without the need for expensive batteries!
How I wish there were more toys on the market that did not need batteries. They are the bane of the parents' life!

After about 15 minutes my boys were getting a tad twitchy and it was at this stage that I was glad of the DVD that came with the set.
We all settled down for some typically inane antics from the Night Garden which my two seem to find completely engaging. Those Nigh Garden characters have the same appeal to my boys as Teletubbies. A combination of a nonsensical language and innocent childhood games that seems to intrigue the younger generation!

I would certainly recommend this game to friends and relatives, and, although slightly more than I would usually spend on a toy found it an idea "sharing" present which I think in principle is an excellent idea for children and gets them into the idea of toys being played with together.

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