Summer holiday is here soon and although Abby isn't looking forward to it (she said she'd rather go to school and learn!), the rest of us certainly are! To make sure that Abby will be enjoying the holidays as much as we do, apart from plenty of worksheets and all sorts of homework materials we are going to get her, we have lined up plenty of fun to do with her as well! One of the places we'll be going to is Manchester Palace Theatre to watch Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom Live, something I've arranged a year ago.
It just happened that Golden Bear has sent us a great selection of their latest Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom toys to review, which is perfect timing to get the kids warmed up for the show! Their latest addition to the range includes a Dominoes Set, Little Castle Magical Playset and Flying Fairies.
The Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom Wooden Dominoes (rrp £5.99) contains 28 pieces of dominoes with 7 pictures to match in the game, stored in a wooden box.
The classic game never gets old, and each wooden pieces are thick enough to make them long lasting. I like the quality of the dominoes and the box as well, and the pictures are colourful too. It is a bit harder to play the Dominoes Effect game with this set, however, as only one side of the domino pieces is covered with a picture, making them slightly unbalanced to stand. But if you aren't fussed with the Dominoes Effect, the great quality wooden dominoes set will certainly make Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom fans happy.
Another innovative playset on the market! The Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom Little Castle Magical Playset (rrp £24.99) is cleverly magical! The castle came with 2 sheets of decorative stickers, Ben, Holly, Nanny Plum and Fleur figurines, 2 milk bottles and Holly's magical wand.
I think it's really nice for the children to be able to decorate the castle with the stickers themselves, and if they don't feel like being creative, there is an instruction sheet included as well to tell them where each sticker goes. Some of the places are a bit tight to reach and they can be a bit fiddly, but it'll certainly provide plenty of fun just from the decorating part.
There are 5 locations where magic can happen. A firm tap on each "sparkling" spot with Holly's magical wand (face down) and one of the following will happen:
- the toy chest in Holly's room will open
- the bath tub in the bathroom will be filled with bubbles (the "bubbles" will rise up)
- the fire place in the living room will light up (the "flames" will come up)
- the door of the fridge in the kitchen will open
- the washing line in the garden will be hung up (the panel will open to show the washing line and washing)
All this magic is of course down to magnets, but the magnets are located under the "sparkling" stars, not exactly where the obvious mechanisms are located, making them much more fascinating. When I showed the trick to Abby, I said the magic word "Abra Cadabra". She quickly spotted that it's a magnetic wand, but she thought that the magic words must be spoken! Abby scored 1, but mummy scored 1 too!! I'm not sure what Clay thought about the trick, although he understood quickly that the wand needs to touch the stars to make things happen.
Each of the character can be adjusted to a sitting position, and each fairy's wings are nicely made with clear plastic, which is the first time I've seen, making plastic fairy figurines look more realistic. Holly's blanket on her bed is curved and can cover Holly up when she's in bed (it can open up sideways as well like a door), and each staircase can be packed away under each floor, to allow the castle to close up.
Abby noticed that Ben was the only one that can fit through the main castle gate, and she's decided that it's because fairies have wings so they didn't need to go through the gate. Whatever works!
With my 2 spoiled children, I was pleasantly surprised that after 3 days, they are still playing with the play set! And they actually played together nicely as well!
When I checked out the Flying Fairy (approx £4.99), I realised that the magic wand can pick up Holly, Fleur and Strawberry as well. Abby tested it out on every single character we've got and found out that Ben was the only one the wand could not pick up. Perhaps it's because he's an elf? It certainly provided a lot of fun to the game play.
Overall we think that the playset is innovative, fascinating and provides plenty of fun for the kids to play with. The only thing I didn't quite understand was the 2 milk bottles provided. I think the kids are suppose to use them to play breakfast time, although I'm not certain why they chose 2 milk bottles for the playset (1 will fit in the fridge) instead of other food. Anyway, the kids never complained, and the castle and all is still the centre piece on Abby's table.
With Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom Live currently touring around the country, the new range by Golden Bear will certainly be a big hit alongst young children. There are many more other sets included in the new range, which you can buy from Golden Bear's website or any good toy stores now.
Disclosure: We were sent a selection of a new range to trial and review; all opinions are honest and our own