* Prices may differ from that shown
*The pieces in this set must have changed as you no longer get a telephone box
The Early Centre recently held a fantastic half-price sale, and included in that sale were a number of their Happyland sets. With Freddy's birthday looming, I took advantage of this sale, buying him lots of the different sets, putting the bigger sets away, but giving him some of the smaller sets to play with now. This Post Office set is one that I've allowed Freddy to play with and I bought it for the remarkably low price of £8 (down from £16), an absolute bargain if you ask me.
All the Happyland sets are exclusive to the ELC brand, although some of the sets are now available to purchase in Mothercare. Although Happyland is similar to Fisher Price Little People, I personally feel that the pieces in this range are just a little more suitable for young children who are just starting to develop their imagination. There are a large number of sets available and when collected your child can become the mayor of their own town or village. With prices ranging from £8 for a set of people to £60 for a starter village, this a brilliant range with prices to suit every pocket. I would put the Post Office Set about mid-way as far as price, size and amount of pieces go.
==Here Comes The Postie==
The Happyland Post Office comes extremely securely packed in an open faced cardboard box, which means that you (and your child) can take advantage of the "try me" function (once a tag is removed). As the included cell batteries are described as demonstration, I would always suggest making sure the tag is in place when buying this set, so as to get the maximum life from the batteries. On a scale of one to ten, I would place the difficulty of removing this set from the packaging at eight, there are a fair few ties to untwist as well as cardboard needing to be peeled back. I would say that it took me almost ten minutes to completely release the post office.
Once removed from the packaging there are a good number of pieces in the set, all of which not only add play value but are also large enough not to cause a choking hazard. Obviously there is the actual post office itself, which is a fairly small, open-backed building with a bright red roof. Made of durable plastic, the post office stands approximately 17cm tall on a base measuring approximately 14cm by 9cm. The ELC have put an incredible amount of detail into this small building, from the roof tiles to the hanging sign. There is a single easily opened door, two windows and even a post slot complete with collection times and that's just the outside.
Inside the post office, there is a clock, letter rack and even a basket to catch the letters posted through the slot. There's a bell above the door that actually rings when the doormat is pressed and that's not the only sound. There's also an old-fashioned telephone that rings when the dial is pressed and a till that "kerchings". There's also a separate set of scales that fits onto a shelf by the window and is where you'll often find the post mistress's cat sleeping.
Along with the actual post office there's an old fashioned round post box again complete with collection times. This post box is hollow and has a little slot for letters to be posted ready for collection by the postman in his van. As with all the Happyland vehicles the post van is sturdy, a good size for little hands and has wheels that allow it to be easily pushed along the floor. There is also a space for the postman to sit and drive the van, which doesn't feature a peg like the newer sets, but it does still firmly hold the postman in place and it is easier for younger children to put the driver into the van.
As well as all these accessories the post office also comes with not one but two people. Firstly there's the postman in his uniform and then there's Mrs Morris the post mistress. Although these characters are in no way poseable they do feature an incredible amount of detail. Mrs Morris is even wearing a pair of wire spectacles. As with the rest of the set the characters are durable, a good size for little hands to hold and yet far too big to cause a choking hazard. I am a little disappointed with how the set uses gender stereotypes though, it would have been nice if there was also a post woman included.
As with all the Happyland sets I've bought so far, I'm really impressed with the post office, although it is in no way perfect and I personally could think of a few improvements. My first niggle is that some of the details are in the form of stickers, (although I am glad they were already applied) I have much older children and I know there will come a time when Freddy will decide to investigate the stickers. So I would have preferred that there weren't any stickers. My other tiny little niggle is that there are no actual letters included in the set, although in this case I can perfectly understand why not as they would have caused a choking hazard.
==Is there a postman in the house?==
After my experiences with opening a different Happyland set, I decided to wait until Freddy was in bed before opening this, meaning that it was set up when Freddy got up the next morning. As soon as he noticed there were new toys to play with Freddy couldn't wait to explore them and immediately made a bee-line for the post office. He loves to spend time opening and closing the door, but unfortunately he has discovered that the door does come off quite easily and he does think it's quite funny to take the door off and then shout for Mummy or Daddy to put it back on. It took quite a while for Freddy to work out that the post office made noises, and he did need to been shown a few times. But now he's got the hang of it he especially loves to press the phone and then say "Eh-ro", which is his version of hello. So even at ten months this post office is helping him to develop his role play and imaginative skills.
As with all his Happyland vehicles, Freddy loves to put the people into the van and then push it around. I wouldn't say that it's always the postman that goes in the van, because he does tend to mix and match his people. All the people are a perfect size for Freddy to hold and chew on, and even with this chewing they are still in perfect condition. Freddy is also quite fixated with the cat, that apparently says "Ow". All in all, Freddy absolutely adores this set and will play with it for a reasonable period of time both on it's own and in conjunction with his other sets.
==Learning Through Play==
Although this set is billed as being suitable for children over the age of eighteen months, there are no small pieces that would make this unsuitable for young children. As far as I'm concerned as long as a toy is suitable for children under three years of age, then in the majority of cases it's going to be safe for younger children even if they don't get the most of it. All the pieces in this set are well made, durable and large enough not to cause a choking hazard, and I would say that even six month old babies would enjoy playing with the cars.
Even though he is considerably under eighteen months, Freddy absolutely loves playing with this, just as he does with all his Happyland sets. These sets are a wonderful way of helping your child to develop new skills, I've certainly seen Freddy begin to use a very basic form of role play and improve his understanding of the world as we've played with this. While Freddy has always been a little advanced in his language, I swear that it's by playing with this set that he's learnt that cats go meow, or as Freddy puts it "ow" and it's so sweet to watch him make the phone ring and say "Eh-ro".
As well as encouraging imaginative, role playing skills and understanding of the world around them, the set also helps your younger child improve their hand-eye coordination as they put the people in the van, press on buttons and otherwise play with the set. As for an older age limit, I would say that by the age of four, your child probably start to lose interest and find the set a little too babyish.
This is yet another wonderful little set from the Happyland range that Freddy adores. Full of impressive detail this is a toy that I can see him playing with and getting so much from for the next three years. Although he isn't yet ready to use the post office to it's full potential, I've been amazed at how much it's already helped his development. With the exception of the door being easy to take off it's hinges, the whole set is remarkably well made and easy to clean. And the sounds add an extra dimension to play, with them being fairly easy to access and loud enough to hear without being so loud as to become annoying. Even at full price this toy is well worth the money as it has so much play value, but at £8 it's an absolute steal and a toy that I would recommend for any child aged about ten months upwards. And so I'm giving the Happyland Post Office a healthy four stars out of five, with it losing that one star because of the door.
My son received the Happyland Mrs Morris' Post Office play set last year as a Christmas gift from his Aunt and Uncle. We have a number of various Happyland sets and figures and have built up rather a large collection.
The Happyland Post Office is usually priced and £15 and is available from the Early Learning Centre, product code 125569. It can be purchased in-store or online at www.elc.co.uk. If purchased online there is a delivery charge of £4.95. This set is currently on offer, along with many other Happyland play sets, at the reduced price of £12.
The recommended age for this product is from 18 months to 4 years.
This set consists of a post office with sound effects, a post box, a phone box with sound effects, a mail van, a postman figure, an elderly lady figure and a small ginger cat.
The back of the post office is open rather than enclosed and this allows figures to be easily moved around and the sound buttons to be pressed.
The figures are sturdy and chunky and ideal for small hands. Their faces are rather sweet and childlike.
After receiving this set as a gift last year, my son paid very little attention to it. He would line it up on his Happyland play mat but it was no more special than any of his other smaller sets.
In the last few months however he has become a big fan of Postman Pat. This has bought new interest in the post office set and it is now this one which is regularly played with while the others are left in the box.
He likes to use his Postman Pat figure and van alongside the little building and pretend that Pat is collecting his letters. He will ask me to make him small letters and parcels from pieces of paper and will post them either in the post box or in the post slot at the side of the building.
In summary I would say that this set is a valuable addition to Happyland if your child holds an interest in posting letters or of course Postman Pat. If not then I would advise to be cautious. It may not hold as much interest as for instance the Happyland Zoo or Goosefeather Farm and may be ignored in favour of those other sets.
We bought this set for our daughter just after she turned 1. She already had a few of the happy land sets and we thought she would really like this one. It is a lovely little set and comprises of - the main post office building, a post man, a shopkeeper, post van, post box, telephone box and some removable scales that go on the counter in the shop. The main post office building has a door mat that rings when pressed and a till on the counter that makes a ping noise when you press the button. The telephone box also has a button inside that makes the telephone ring.
Our daughter has spent hours playing with her happyland post office, it's amazing to see how she has developed with her role playing in such a short space of time. At first she just liked the noises it makes and chewing on the people but now (at 2 years old) she likes to put the people behind the counter and walk them through the front door. She also loves the telephone box and puts it up to her ear to answer it and have pretend conversations.
The set says it's from 18 months - 4 years but my daughter did enjoy it from 12 months and I know other children older than 4 that still enjoy playing with their happyland sets.
I think it was worth the money for £16 and our daughter has certainly had so much play and enjoyment out of it already.
The happyland post office is a must for happy land collectors young and old! It is very bright and chunky which is great for little hands. The age recomendation is 12 months - 4 years but older kids just love it too. The little post box you get included is very sweet although my little girl cant understand why she cant put the post into it! The phone box is very realistic and makes noises. The post van is really sweet and very chunky, the post man can sit in it and drive around happyland making his deliveries.
You get 2 figures included, a shop owner and a postman. This set really is good value for money but like the rest of the itmes, not much fun on their own but great when you build a collection up, my 3 year old loves her happyland the only down side is it can take up a lot of room once youve built up a collection and can be a chore to set up and then pack away again.
Happyland is a great collection of items available from elc. Once a few sets are put together they make a lovely village. There are lots of items in the range and new items aroe brought out every year or so. The seta are really good value for money especially if you are a member of elc's big bithday club which sends you a 20% off voucher close to your childs birhtday to use on any of elc's items.
Happyland is a strong favourite in our household and I imagine will still be for years to come
The HappyLand Post Office is the latest addition to our ever growing HappyLand family (put it this way, they are aiming for world domination in the dining room!)
We started collecting Happyland stuff when our little girl was one, she is now nearly four and still plays with them most days. Hubby bought the post office about a month ago and it has been a hit. It comes complete with post office building with sound effects, telephone box with sound effects, post box, post van and post man. The products are well made (although we have had issues with doors coming off in the past) and sturdy and the usual bright colours you come to expect from ELC. A reasonable price means that these toys are perfect for Christmas and birthday presents without breaking the bank, an important factor in credit crunch times! A bonus is that your letters all get delivered on time and there is never a postal strike around Christmas!
Last Christmas when Toby received the HappyLand Village Fire Station (see a previous review) he also received the Happy Land Post Office too. This is a set of toys from Early Learning Centre, and can be bought for £15.00, or cheaper if you are a member of the Big Birthday Club and have got a discount voucher.
What do you get for your money?
In the Post Office set you get 2 characters; Mrs Morris - the lady who runs the Post Office, and Postman Percy, a post van, post box, telephone box, a cat and of course the main post office building.
The car has Post office written on the side and allows one character to sit in it, the wheels move freely, which allows it to be pushed around. The post box has a small hole in the side, which enables you to post some very small letters through, but you would have to make these yourself.
As you can see from the photo, the telephone box is the traditional old style, inside is a red circular button, which makes a ringing noise when you press it.
On the front of the post office, the door opens to allow characters to move through, if you press down on the door mat, it makes a doorbell noise. When inside the shop, there is a small counter, with a till and phone on top. Both the till and counter have buttons on top of them, which, when pressed, makes the corresponding noises. There is no back wall to the shop; this allows hands to reach in and press the buttons etc.
I think this is a great addition to the Happy Land series; it is all made of strong plastic, and can withstand being thrown across the room or dropped on the floor. When Toby received this we took the small pieces away, and left him with just the car, telephone box and post office, as he was too young at the time. He learnt to press the button in the telephone box, quite early on, and one day my Mum was round and she thought it was the real phone and got up to answer it, as it sounds so realistic. We still catch her out now. (She'll never learn!!!)
The characters are 3inches high, and are made from a soft plastic and hollow inside. They are a great size and weight for any little one to play with.
I feel this Happy Land series is a great educational and fun toy for children young and old, it is suitable for children from 18months, but with parental supervision, the larger objects can be used be younger ones. Not only do they develop their fine motor skills, but also their hand-eye co-ordination. When playing with others they can learn how to share, take turns and develop their language too.
The Post office can be used as an early learning tool for numbers, writing and role-play, and can be used as a basis to write their own letters, buy stamps, then go and post them.
You can purchase this set on its own or with other sets to make a whole village, but be careful, it could work out expensive. The Post Office is not advertised in their catalogue at the moment, but it is on the website and in the shops.
Thank you for reading my review, more Happy Land product reviews will follow shortly.