And so to the final Toys R Us review from us as 2011 Toyologists. I might have a little sniff once I've pressed publish!
Please excuse the length, but this is a big and expensive item worthy of a detailed review. We're very lucky to have been sent the PlayMobil Grande Mansion and the seven room sets to furnish it.
The PlayMobil Grande Mansion is designed like a French large townhouse on three levels (additional floors are available to buy). There is an exterior to the house with steps leading up to the front doors, an opening postbox, a working doorbell, balconies on each floor (I haven't attached the hanging flowers as this toy is intended for 4years+ and The Boy is 2), windows and shutters. On the inside of the house is a spiral staircase connecting the three floors together.
Constructing the house took a while: there are many different sections, plugs to join walls and floors together, similar parts and fiddly bits. However, I was making this with The Boy present who was desperate to get to grips with it. It took me two hours (eight episodes of Poppy Cat and three of Peppa Pig) to finish it, so I would recommend making this before giving it to your child!
As a child, I always wanted a playhouse, and my dad once made me a wooden Barbie house for my birthday. This is no Barbie house, this is the next generation of playhouses and being PlayMobil it is most definitely unisex. I even had a discussion on twitter (more of that later) as to whether people thought that a playhouse was exclusively a girls' toy, and the general consensus was a resounding no!
The Boy absolutely adores his house, it is without a shadow of a doubt, the one toy that he plays with every single day for a sustained period of time. For the first week, he literally played with nothing else and I have had to bribe him away at times to play with the other toys in order to review them. The learning opportunities and possibilities to develop his understanding of the world around him are extensive, and his imagination has developed no end in the last month since it arrived.
There are seven room sets which can be bought to furnish the Grande Mansion, and (nearly) all of them are excellent quality and value for money. The accessories included are really detailed and comprehensive. However, if you wanted to build up the collection of rooms slowly and when finances allowed there are one or two that you could leave out initially.
PlayMobil Kitchen (£19.99)
This room is essential and one of the best value room sets. With a fridge-freezer, cooker, dishwasher, sink and extra opening cupboards it's really detailed. There is also a 'breakfast bar', two chairs and a highchair, coffee machine, plant, crockery and cutlery, tins and packets of food, a dog, a dog's bowl, a nana and a baby. There's even a chicken to roast in the oven! The Boy is forever acting out the grown-ups cooking tea and loading the dishwasher afterwards, although the fact that the adults only ever cook pizza is slightly telling! This is a must room-set, although it has a lot of little pieces which could get easily lost. For safety, I haven't given them to The Boy yet.
Something to note is that the cupboards don't attach to the wall and move easily. I've used double-sided tape to fix them to the walls. I can cope with them now!
PlayMobil Dining Room (£9.99)
The dining room is one of the rooms that you could come to last, if at all. To be perfectly honest I'm not entirely sure what it adds that isn't covered by the kitchen. There is a table and four chairs (the kitchen set has a breakfast bar and two chairs), four ice-cream sundaes and spoons (food is provided in the kitchen set), a plant (?!), a jug and four mugs, and a male adult figure. The space allocated for it in the house isn't huge and is also right at the bottom of the staircase, so it's a little crowded. It's difficult for The Boy to sit the figures on the chairs and tuck them under without him knocking off the other people, and the food bits are too small for him to play with at the moment.
PlayMobil Living Room (£17.99)
This is essential to have in the house, and is good value for money. The set comes with a three-seater sofa, an armchair, a television, a tv stand with opening cupboards, a dvd player, cd player and video (which I've fixed into place with double-sided tape), two plants, a vase of flowers, a coffee table, a fire which glows when the button is pressed (also fixed to the wall), a cat and basket, a grandad (looks just like The Boy's grandad), a caraffe and a glass. At the moment, The Boy is too young to be able to handle the caraffe, glass, vase of flowers and small plant, so I've put them away. A really good set which I'd recommend.
PlayMobil Parents' Bedroom (£15.99)
At first glance you could be forgiven for thinking there's not much in this room set considering the price, but the two bedside lights light up and that makes it completely worth the money! There's also a wardrobe with opening doors and a drawer, a vanity table with a turning mirror and chair, an alarm clock, and a mummy (that look a bit like me, although I'd love her eyelashes!). The Boy is captivated with the working LED lights and puts the mummy and daddy to bed at night. A perfect set, although mildly annoying that the mummy can't lay flat on her back due to her ponytail sticking out.
PlayMobil Children's Room (£19.99)
An essential room to buy but full of tiny pieces that are fiddly and unsuitable for under the recommended four years of age due to chocking hazards. You can't fault this room for value for money though as there is so much in it. The two children's beds can be kept separate as twin beds or stacked on top of each other as bunk beds, which is what I've done. Even better is that there are dips in the mattresses for the two provided children to lie down properly. There is a wall shelf, a high drawer unit, a table and chair, an underbed box, a guinea pig cage with two guinea pigs, a farm set with tiny figures, a boat, a fortress, musical instruments and a teddy. There is so much in this room, you can't not get it. Be warned though, the farm pieces are incredibly small and I see them getting lost very easily.
Playmobil Nursery (£11.99)
This is one of those rooms that you could come to towards the end of building the room sets up. In the set is a cot with canopy (pink, how sexist! I've removed the canopy), a changing table with opening doors, a mobile to fit on the change table (although I've put it above the cot), a dad, a baby, a plant (they're obsessed with flora), various bottles and potions to 'help' with changing the baby's bottom, a few toys and a potty. The potty is the smallest piece which I'm happy to have out (although we've temporarily misplaced it) and The Boy loves it because of his potty training journey in the Summer. Unfortunately, the baby provided is also another girl baby (like the one in the kitchen), so I've had to buy a boy baby in order to have a The Boy in the house.
PlayMobil Bathroom (£17.99)
This one's brilliant! I'd highly recommend this one's bought because of the value for money. Provided in the set is a toilet with moving lid, a bath with overhead shower (which detaches), an opening wall cupboard with mirror, a sink with an opening cupboard underneath, a chair, a plant (another one!), a towel, a female figure with underwear on and a plastic wrap around towel, and various tiny toiletry bits. The Boy is constantly giving the figures a bath and then drying them with the towel, or sitting them on the toilet and pretending to use the toilet paper. A definite must!
Taking into account the price of the house (£99.99) and the cost of the room-sets, all in all this amounts to what seems like an expensive toy. However it is worth it. It's aimed at 4-10year olds and I can see The Boy playing with this for years to come. Already it is his favourite toy and he has played with it every day for the past five weeks. Break that down into cost per day over the years it is used, and all of a sudden it is an investment for the future.
Would I recommend this?
Without a moment's hesitation.
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We were provided with these toys for the purpose of the review. Our opinion is honest and unbiased. Now where's the tissues?