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When friends and relatives started asking me what my daughter would like for her second birthday, I flicked through the Early Learning Centre catalogue and my eyes fell on happy land. Happy land is a 'small world' set of toys and has grown to include almost every type of vehicle and shop you could think of. There are also many residences and a fairground. The train set is one of the best parts of happyland, as it comes with the train, carriages, driver, track, car, crossing and station it is a great way to start a collection as it can be used on it's own before you have bought any more of it. Happyland can only be purchased from Early Learning Centre, in store or on line and this particular set reatils at £35, although they often have offers on Happy Land so you can sometimes buy it for less. The greatest thing about this train, and the thing that sets it apart from others in the happyland collection is that when you sit a figure on the train, it pushes down a button which makes the train go. It will either go in a straight line or round a curved track. No other vehicles in the happyland collection have battery operated movement. It also makes train noises (i.e. like steam being released from an engine with the occasional 'choo,choo'). It comes with 2 carriages (one that can sit a passenger and one that has coal in it) which can be attached together, although my daughter cannot do this for herself. The battery life seems to be pretty good as I have never changed them and we have it out a lot in our house. Their are 6 pieces of track, made out of durable brown plastic. They fit together to form a small oval and can be fitted together by the hands of a clumsy two year old, as they simply click into place like a jisaw. The set also comes with a car (ours is green with stripes) and an extra figure for the car. One of the track pieces is a level crossing so you can attach road pieces to either side to use this with part of a bigger happyland set. If you don't have road then this set comes with two 'end' pieces to cap the level crossing with. This piece also has the level crossing barriers that can be lifted and traffic lights. There is also a separate plastic station which can be positioned anywhere around the track and features a station clock. The happyland collection is suitable from about 18 months, which I would consider pretty accurate, however this toy can grow with your chil'd growing imagination so I can easily imagine 4 and 5 year old still playing happily with this. We have added to our collection with some second hand bits of ebay and the condition of these pieces supports my feeling that this is a durable toy that really is built to last. At two, my daughter cannot set this up alone. She can fit the track pieces together, but not in an oval and she can't attach the carriages to the train. Once an adult has set it up for her she can access it independently for a while. She particularly enjoys putting the people in and out of the train so that the movement starts and stops. It is also good as a 'play together' toy though, as you can help scaffold their imaginative play. I would recommend starting a happyland collection to any parent of young children, and I would particularly recommend starting with this train!
It doesn't look like the youngest and I will be leaving the house today - time to dig out one of those toys that we haven't played with for ages and destroy the front room. Today's first choice is this train set; it is proving very successful and I had forgotten what a great toy it is. Happy land is a range of well made toys from ELC. They are aimed at the 12 months + market and include various houses, shops, people, animals and imagination promoting toys. This particular train costs £14.99 and currently is available in blue, complete with a very cool train driver wearing shades. When I bought it about 4 years ago now it came with amount of track, but as far as I can ascertain the track now seems to be purchased seperately. The train is in three sections, which are pleasingly easy for little hands to put together and pull apart. The middle carriage can hold a passenger and cunningly the whole thing is activated by placing a figure in the driver's compartment. I say cunningly as even the youngest children seem to grasp this concept quite easily and enjoy the sense of control whilst parents enjoy not being expected to switch the thing on and off endlessly. The train goes around the track or across a floor making a fairly innocuous train sound and an inter-city toot toot. It is not too greedy on the two AA batteries that it requires, they last a fair while. I would recommend this toy as suitable for boys and girls, the age recommendation from the manufacturer is 18 months but younger children would enjoy it too and my 5 year old is still happy enough to play with it. This is an excellent base for building up a small collection - "happyland" has been such a succesful mini-utopia that there are plenty of these toys available second hand - they are the kind of toy that lasts well. We have a road track that goes with the train that I think is no longer made, which is a shame as I think it has been one of our most played with toys at £4 for a whole bag of second hand track. At the very least I would recommend buying more track to go with this toy and perhaps considering buying a station or more figures for added play value. The toy is extremely robust and survives the inevitable ie a toddler pushing the train the wrong way to great gear crunching. As I have indicated we have had a good fair few years' use from this toy. I see that one other reviewer on this site said that they had a problem with little fingers getting stuck in the wheels - this hasn't actually happened to us and I am extremely happy with this toy. The happy land range is ELc's answer to the "Little People" range, personally I prefer the ELC toys. I must stop there as it appears that a huge King Kong monster has invaded Happy Land - maybe time to build a duplo wall to protect the Happy Land commuters from doom!
This motorised HappyLand Intercity Train Set is brilliant for the younger kids. It comes with a driver figure that has a red train drivers uniform and dark shades. Alos included in the package it a main motorised front train, a middle section of train, and a back section of train. The train is light blue with yellow windows. The only part of the train that is powered is the front section of the train that the driver sits in. When you place the driver into the front section of the train the shear weight of the figure pushed down on the floor. This action activates the train to start moving. It is really easy to start the train moving as there is plenty of room for the figure to fit in. Then the middle and back sections are connected to the front of the train using the couplings and they are pulled along by the powered front section. This train runs on carpets, hard flooring and is great fun for the children to chase after. You can also get the train line so that you can build a train line for it to run on. Its retail price at ELC is £12.50 but you will get it cheaper than that as ELC are always doing offers on Happyland equipment. ELC also do another complete train set that has tracks, and stations with the train. It must be said that this is a differnent train to the above train and it retails at £30. This version can be seen to be different to the other version as it has a red train.
I recently brought this happy land train set for my son aged 2. I purchased i brand new from the early learning centre and couldnt wait to get it home to give it to my son. Once I got home I showed it to him and he wanted it opened straight away. The train came in a bright orange with a small figure as the train driver. It comes with quite a large purple track and a couple of yellow train signals. The train and the track were quite easy to put together. We put the batteries in the train and put it on the track to go. You have to put the driver in the train and the train will drive itself. Once the train was going my son picked the train up and caught his fingers under the train where the wheels wouldnt stop going round so his fingers got caught. This happend on a number of occasions so i have since got rid of the train set. You dont expect this to happen when you pay good money for a childs toy. I wouldnt recoment this toy to any one.