It’s a miracle really, but up until now we’ve managed to survive 10 and a half years of child rearing without so much as a sniff of a Sylvanian Family set in the house.
This is not due to a lack of trying on the kids behalf. The advertising campaigns behind Sylvanian Families is extremely effective and every Christmas/ birthday someone has put them on their list. I’ve always been reluctant to say yes on the grounds that one even set would surely open the floodgates to collecting All The Sets, and for the lesser reason that the little figurines freak me out a little.
So why did I say yes when I was offered a Campervan and Family to review?
First of all, we’d just had a pretty hefty toy cull and had a little space. Secondly, the girls had spotted the email offer and were jumping up and down saying ‘please, please, please’!
There was a huge rush to the door the morning the Campervan showed up, and a bit of competition to open the box. In the end I did it myself, and was relieved to see the Ginger Cat Family we’d been sent had 4 characters. One for each child, although no one was very keen on ‘being Daddy’.
They were a lot cuter than I thought they would be. They are slightly fuzzy, and have lovely perky whiskers and movable arms and tails. Their clothes also come off as my children discovered 1.5 seconds after I handed the figures out. Apparently they wanted to see if the boys and girls looked any different under their clothes… Luckily the clothes also go back on again, with a little effort.
The Campervan itself comes with a heap of accessories, so once I had unboxed everything, I distributed them among the kids and left them too it.
Probably it would have been better to supervise the process a little more closely as there are some really tiny accessories included. DD3 managed to break one of the knives while unsnapping it from its packaging and DD2 almost threw away the map, checker board, books and stickers provided to decorate the Campervan with. I couldn’t do anything about the knife but managed to rescue the other bits just in time.
The Campervan comes almost completely assembled, you just need to snap the bunks, ladder and bike carrier into the relevant slots. This meant I didn’t have to keep the kids waiting while I poured over complicated diagrams.
Once all the accessories were accounted for ( there are over 30) , and it was decided who has going to ‘be’ Daddy cat, the girls had a wonderful time arranging everything to their satisfaction. DS kept annoying them by driving the van away and trying to crash it into the piano, but eventually I was allowed to take a photo of their handiwork.
Apparently this is what happens at night time. The kittens have gone to bed, in the conveniently located bunks (although there was some debate about what happened when it rained) and mummy and daddy are having dinner.
Sylvanian Families and their various playsets are aimed at boys and girls 4-7 years of age, but my eldest two, aged 9 and 10, also loved this set. While the older two enjoyed creating various scenarios; driving down the road, all eating dinner together, having a picnic outside, the 6 year old enjoyed making the cats have little conversations with each other while she moved things around.
Our 4 year DS joined in with DD3′s games now and again but mostly enjoys bunging everything in the back and sending the whole lot speeding across the kitchen floor. He then opens up the roof and cackles madly while surveying the chaos inside. His sisters don’t approve of this game but they are back at school, so he gets to do this as much as he likes.
The Sylvanian Families Campervan retails at £39.99 and the Ginger Cat Family costs £15.99. They are both available on Amazon. This does sound quite expensive but these are amazingly detailed, well made toys that will last for years if played with nicely, and not left to the unsupervised mercy of little boys.
And the biggest bonus is once your child starts collecting them, you will never have to rack your brains for things that you suggest for your inlaws get your kids for Christmas ever again.
We were sent a Sylvanian Family Ginger Cat Family and Campervan to review and keep, but the opinion expressed above is entirely my own opinion.