Just in time for Christmas…toy review

Back in July, a toy website called ebeanstalk contacted me about reviewing a toy for them. It was perfect timing as we have plenty of July and August birthdays to choose from! Ebeanstalk has a group of child experts who select wonderful learning toys, for kids of all ages. They have an easily searchable site making it easy to find something appropriate for your child quickly. From baby toys, toys for 2 year olds, to seven year olds and up, you can find something great for your little one.
I could barely contain my excitement when I found out I’d been chosen to review something from Plan Toys. I’m a big fan of Plan Toys and we already own a few of them. I love wooden toys that encourage the child’s imagination and have multi-uses. One of our libraries has an older version this super cool dollhouse, which the girls just love.We received the Activity Bus which we promptly gave to Brielle for her birthday.
Imagine my surprise when she wasn’t the slightest bit interested in it. I chalked it up to being over excitement and not really able to focus. I’d get it out for her intermittently, and she’d obligingly mess around with it for a couple of minutes, and wander off.
I thought maybe Aviana would enjoy it more then, since she is further along in her mental development and does pretending even more frequently. She didn’t like it either and never played with it.I thought I’d set it aside and bring it out again in a month or so when they needed something new to play with. Nope. Still not interested.Tried again a month or so later. Nope.
I was feeling really perplexed by this time because I wanted to give a nice review to these companies I think so highly about,and at the same time to be honest about our experience. I mean, I think it’s cute.

After having it in our home for four months now though, I have to say it’s a fail.

Here are some of the drawbacks. The little people are bendable via pieces of elastic, but they are hard for little ones to manipulate. Even with the small amount of play as they’ve received, their little wooden faces are sort of peeling/splintering. And while Brielle told me the other day that I’d be a better mama if I had purple hair, that apparently doesn’t translate to green and red haired dolls. She doesn’t think much of the cartoonish style of these dolls.

The desks are oddly shaped, and it’s hard for a preschooler to know which end is up. Aviana even asked me, “Am I doing it right?” I’d hate for her to think she’s doing something wrong in her play, when there are so many other times in her young life she’s needing correction. She needs play things that will conform to her, not the other way around. The books are basically decorative with no real purpose. The map got stepped on and got cracked. They somehow managed to pull the side door of the bus all the way off and neither Kevin nor I could get it back on. You’re supposed to be able to store the pieces inside the bus, but that’s clearly kind of hard, when only half of it stays on properly. I can’t say much for its durability.

I tried to get the girls to articulate why they don’t like playing with it. Aviana said it’s just not as fun as her other toys. I think it’s just too closed of an activity; the child is limited to solely playing school.

While I recommend Plan Toys in general, and definitely ebeanstalk for your Christmas shopping, I don’t recommend you buy the Activity Bus.

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