“ Flair / In The Night Garden / Night Garden Fuzzy Felt „
My children like many went through a phase of being huge In The Night Garden Fans. They were purchased quite a few themed books and toys during this time between ages 2 and 4, one of which was an In the Night Garden Fuzzy Felt which was a Christmas present from Grandma.
One thing that I liked about this straight away was that it was in a case which was plastic and see through, so there was a safe place to store this item between uses. The board is quite a bit larger than other felt sets we have owned, and it matched into the them of the show with a garden theme. The pieces of fuzzy felt were large enough for toddlers hands, and there was a good selection of characters from the show including the little Wattingers who are the little blue family. Usually you see the kids merchandise with the Red Pontypine family, but not the Wattingers.
At first I thought this was something that would get lots of play, but within a few goes, I found that it was not that good. We would try and recreate some moments we had seen on the show, but the pieces never stuck to the board that well, and once you put on some of the larger characters, then very quickly the board would fill and you would end up having to take some off to continue the story.
This never caught there imagination as much as the little figures they had from the show, and eventually as there interests moved on to other characters, they got fed up of this one. It had not been played with significantly, but I found the felt board was very bobbly where pieces had been placed on, and the character pieces looked tatty quickly.
All in all, fuzzy felt is not as good quality these days in my opinion as it was twentyfive years ago when I had sets as a child. There is a lot less creative play from it, and although it is still a good concept, the quality of the sets limits the play value. I would not recommend this one really, as even the plastic outer case was cheaply made and ripped easily, and we were left with bits floating round everywhere and it didn't get played with much at all. Its ok for going out and about when you want to take something non messy and you don't mind if it gets lost, but at home it can't compete with the rest of the toybox.
**In the set**
We travel to see relatives in the school holidays a lot, and so I decided to find something for the children to do in the car. When I came across these felt play boards, I decided they would be a mess free way of keeping them occupied on our travels. At £8 they seemed reasonable, and so we purchased these in three different variations, which are all the same concept just different characters. My youngest son chose the in the night garden set, which I was surprised about as he is not a huge fan. In the set you receive a thin felt board, a range of different felt figures to attach to the board, and carry bag to pack it all away into. The felt board is a little thin compared to what I was expecting, but it seems to be the same with all of the products in this range.
I was a little disappointed as it felt like it would actually bend under the hands of a child, but in use it was not as bad as I expected. It has received a fair amount of play so far, and it is still in really good condition. The board is bright green just like the setting on the TV show as instantly recognisable as the garden to children. There is a bush printed on the board but other than that it is very minimal. The felt characters come in all different sizes, and pose so little one can create different scenes. There are a number of different poses for the main characters so little one can pick the best one to suit their story. These again are very thin, but an ok size for younger children to hold in their hand. They are bright in colour, and resemble the characters from the show perfectly. It includes poses with their favourite objects like Iggle Piggles red blanket, and Upsy Daisies bed. Then there are other variations without them too, so they can be lost and found again in the story.
The idea is to create a story board with characters provided. All of the main characters are included, as are a few background pieces to complete the scene. There are enough accessories for little one to create a detailed story board in whatever way they wish. The problem is there are about 25 pieces, but there is four of each main character. Then the other characters have two variations, which leaves very little for decorating, or changing the scene. The pieces are very easy to change around, and by tipping the board upside down they simply fall of again. I know they will never be completely stuck to the board, but even a little grip would have been useful. Even though there are a number of characters all in different poses, I still find it quiet minimal. My children do enjoy it for small periods at a time, but after a little while they just become board with it as it is the same thing over and over. The main problem with his set is the lack of grip. The other two sets we owned worked perfectly, as the felt figures actually stuck to the board. There are enough pieces to imitate the TV programs, as the show itself is very simple and repetitive.
Another problem with this set is the characters seem to curl at the edges, and refuse to stick at all to the board. This means that with even a slight slant the characters fall of the board mid scene, which can be frustrating for little one. The bag this comes in also provides some fun for my children. It has a carry handle on it which makes it easily transportable, and everything is easy to put back inside. My children enjoy taking it out; just to put it back in again. It is also a good idea to make sure all the pieces are kept together. This is recommended from three years plus because of the small pieces, but I found my youngest son was able to use them perfectly. I did keep an eye on him as the characters are a little small, but other than that he could use it fine. My five year old son does enjoy this set, but not as much as my two younger children as it seems to hold their attention better. The pieces are very easy to lose as they are so small, so we have had some casualties along the way. I think we have around 20 of the felt characters still remaining in the set. You can use other sets on these boards, as of course they are also made of felt. My children enjoy they can move characters between boards but this is not necessary to enjoy the set.
My children did enjoy using these boards while we were in the car, but while we are at home they are just forgotten about. We found it was all a bit repetitive, and although there was different poses for the characters I believe if there were a few more background decorations, rather than four different choices for each character it could have been better. It retails at around £10, but do shop around as they are often on sale. I would recommend this set to keep little one busy for short periods, but it isn't going to be something that is loved forever
My granddaughter has been an In the Night Garden fan almost from birth and, at four years old, is not showing many signs of distancing herself from the characters from this rather babyish television programme. It's rare she watches it anymore but is still very much in love with Iggle Piggle, Upsy Daisy and Makka Pakka. She was given this faux Fuzzy Felt set for her birthday by an uncle; she was immediately impressed by the large size of her gift, being packaged only in a thick transparent folder it allowed her to study the product for a while before playing with it.
She has been sorely disappointed with this impressive looking toy, in this case appearances certainly are deceptive as the felt set has a fundamental flaw - the felt pieces do not stick to the board. It's such a pity as initially this looks so promising, I recalled my grown up daughters' playing with various Fuzzy Felt sets and I really wanted my granddaughter to experience the same pleasure.
The flimsy board is roughly the size of two A4 sheets of paper; the general appearance is one you'd associate with In the Night Garden, being a grassy green colour with basic 'bush' deigns printed onto it. There are twenty seven large felt pieces to represent characters and scenery from the show; in my opinion Flair have put very little thought into the selection of pieces, for example there are four of each main character which is surely confusing and unnecessary. My granddaughter doesn't like the fact that there are four Iggle Piggles, she is old enough to realise that she can realistically use only one Iggle Piggle piece to create her scene so in the end has more characters piled up at the side than are on the board. She was rather pleased to find the flying Pinky Ponk included as this is an aspect of In the Night Garden that she's always found extremely amusing, and sadly a character that is often overlooked in related games.
The entirely themed pieces make for a rather dull game; there is little opportunity for imaginative play and I quickly noticed my granddaughters boredom with the toy. The In the Night Garden was enough of a draw for her to begin with but after a fortnight she stopped playing with it altogether unless I happened to mention it or she espied it tucked down next to the toybox. One day we noticed that the bridge wasn't sticking to the board properly, and from that moment practically every piece stopped adhering securely to the board - it was quite shocking to see how quickly and uniformly the pieces or board (or both) lost their ability to stick together. Of course, now the toy doesn't work it has been rendered rather useless - in fact we popped the felt pieces into my granddaughter's craft box this evening as she may as well use them in her collages than become frustrated by trying to stick them to the board.
As lovely as it looks, I simply cannot recommend Feltastic. With Christmas approaching it is just the kind of toy that will cause awful disappointment if bought as a gift, it is suitable only for children of three years and above - which is far too high a minimum age as most children are growing out of In the Night Garden by then, and there really is very little to capture the imagination or attention of a three year old. If the felt pieces had been a little more receptive to being stuck to the board my opinion may have been slightly higher, but I know my granddaughter would much rather play with something that will make her think and give her some scope to be imaginative and/or creative - unfortunately this delightfully designed felt play set does neither and has proven itself to be an utter waste of money, and at £20 that is a rather expensive mistake to make.
This was a gift for my daughter's 2nd birthday earlier this year. I am not really a fan of In The Night Garden toys because I found them to be generally a bit naff. Anyway, you can buy this set from Toys R Us for £9.99 and it is also available on Amazon for roughly the same price.
What you get in the set is a large board, about A3 size, for sticking your bits of felt onto. With the board you get about 25 pieces of felt (just done rough count!), and these pieces are all items you will recognise from In The Night Garden. For instance you will see Upsy Daisy in various different stances, as well as Iggle Piggle & Makka Pakka. The other characters are also present, and you also get some furniture such as the bridge, some stones and the flower balls.
These can all be positioned on the board at once, but it does look quite busy, so it is best to create yourself a little scene with only some of the pieces of felt. But from my experience with both my children (aged 3 and 2); they don't understand that all the pieces don't have to be used at once, and just like to put them all on together. They also get confused as to why there are 4 Iggle Piggles and 2 Makka Pakkas...etc. In their minds there should only be one of each character!
To be honest, although the set is quite good quality and comes in a handy plastic storage bag, it is very limiting in its possibilities. The thing that bothers me is that it leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination. Everything is already done for them, they just have to put the characters where they want them, and then the fun is over. Both my kids literally get it out, scrape everything off the board, put it all straight back on again, and move onto something else. It does not hold their attention for longer than a couple of minutes. It is positively DULL.
I remember Fuzzy Felt from when I was a kid and you just had a load of different sized, different coloured shapes, and you made your own creations depending on what mood you were in that day. This involves no creativity and no imagination, and therefore is not played with very often by my very creative children!
If your child is a proper In The Night Garden addict then they may enjoy this, but to be quite honest I would not recommend it because I just don't think children can gain anything from it.