This week was a real challenge for me, luckily I had Emily (13) and Emma (6) to help me out and guide me through the world of Sylvanian Families.
The folks at www.toyuniverse.com.au had sent over box after box of what looked like felt field mice (I later discovered they weren’t but still felt a little weird at this point) together with some samples of Real Estate options and Motor Vehicles for us to check out. Thankfully the girls knew exactly how it all worked.
So it turns out that Sylvanian Families have been around for over 30 years and have recently gone through an explosion in popularity as the go to nostalgic toy for parents who grew up with their own Sylvanian Families in the 80’s and 90’s. As the name suggests, the toy revolves around families that live in the Sylvania and interact with each other in various activities. Sylvanian Families are both a toy and a collectible, and tend to get passed down through generations.
By the time I had finished checking out the Sylvanian Families website, which is Australian based and includes an awesome fan club, the girls had everything sorted and were planning a picnic with the Goat Family and the Monkey Family all they needed was some wheels to get them there. To my untrained eye they still looked like mice but who was I to argue with a determined Miss 6.
Being in the middle of my official mid life crisis, I gravitated towards the sleek convertible but before I had the chance to argue it’s merits, the girls had the Monkey and Goat Family packed into the uber sensible Bluebell Seven Seater for the trip to the park at the other end of the table. It does seem I am destined to never own a convertible!
At the park the girls had a ball, talking, squealing and generally making up stories for the characters. The girls stayed at “the park” with the Monkey and the Goat families for about an hour before jumping back into the Bluebell and heading home, apparently it was dinner time!
Emily was looking after the Monkey Family who had set up residence in the quaint little Sylvanian Families Starter Home which is a sturdy little 2 storey loft style home with a fold out yard that is perfect for the young family just starting out whilst the Goat family had settled into the more palatial 8 bedroom Sylvanian Families Deluxe Village Home which had been decorated using some of the amazing little furniture pieces that are available to fill even the most awkward rooms.
As the girls played I realised that they had been playing together for over 2 hours, I strongly believe that any toy that can bridge the age group between a 6 year old and a 13 year old for that period of time has to be a winner.
Sylvanian Families are aimed at children above the age of 3 and interest would probably wane by about the age of 8 or 9. Having said that, it seems some older kids enjoy the pretend play and storytelling aspect of Sylvanian Families. The new designs of houses are all connectable so kids can change their version of Sylvanian and almost build their own village.
One of the great things about the Sylvanian Families range is that you can buy pieces starting at only $7.00 and grow the range as finances and birthday parties permit or you can layby the whole collection and pay it off for Christmas, the choice is yours and you can grow the collection to whatever size you like.
So the verdict ? Sylvanian Families are very interactive, seem to focus kids on story telling, co-operative and pretend play and all of the components are very cute. Kids from the age of 3 years would be captivated by the little people and their houses, however if your child is very active and likes to energetically play with their toys these little guys won't last the distance.
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