“ Brand: ELC / Age: 18 months+ „
My son has the Happyland Dinosaur set from Early Learning Centre which he loves playing with. So when I saw these Happyland Prehistoric Pals in the Early Learning Centre sale, priced at £1.80, I thought that they would make a nice addition to this set.
The set contains three small dinosaurs - a nice size to fit in to a toddler's hand. Each a different size, shape and colour. They are made from a hard rubber-like material and suitable for children from 18 months of age. They are packaged in a clear plastic tub which is rather hard to open.
My son actually likes these dinosaurs even more that the characters in his main dinosaur set. I think this is because of their size - he can grip and hold them tightly and likes to carry them around the room with him (I'm always finding them in odd places!). He also likes to bite on these and they stand up to this well - maintaining their shape, colour and form. They are really well made and a nice small toy for him to play with without any fear of choking. At 16 months, I feel that he is old enough to play with these despite not being quite the minimum age suggested for the toy. Although he obviously has no idea what a dinosaur is at his age, I think the colours of these (greens and purples) appeal to him and, as he gets older, an interest in dinosaurs may develop. The dinosaurs are actually quite friendly and cute looking (I've no idea what species they are meant to be, if any, and I have no in depth knowledge of dinosaurs so I won't even hazard a guess) so appeal to young children.
For the price I paid, I am really pleased with this toy - it would also make a great stocking filler for a young child. It is a great addition to the Dino set and the Happyland sets in general.
The Early Learning Centre in my local town was shutting down recently. Apparently they are shutting quite a few of their smaller store to concentrate on the bigger Mothercare stores that they have an area in. That being the case they were having a really good sale so I picked up quite a few different Happyland sets.
HappyLand is a place where children's imagination can run wild and ELC offer a range of fabulous buildings, characters, animals and vehicles from this great range. With HappyLand toys children can build a collection that can be added to over time to create an imaginary town and learn about all walks of life. This will help to stimulate imagination, improving social skills and inspiring your child to explore and enjoy.
One of the sets I bought was the Prehistoric pals which I think cost me less than £2 which I thought was a very good bargain. I really only bought it because it was in the sale, we don't really have any dinosaur villages or anything like that but I have a new born baby boy and all little boys I know love dinosaurs so I thought these would be a nice little investment for him a in few years although we really like playing with them now.
The set consists of 3 dinosaurs. These are not scary, realistic dinosaurs so no true to life characters here. Instead these dinosaurs are pink and actually really cute looking. One of them looks to me like a triceratops, it is green and has that crown around the back of its head with spikes on it and has orange horns and orange spots on it. Another of the dinosaurs looks like dino and has a really long neck and long tail. He has bent his neck around and is eating leaves from a tree branch he has in his mouth. This is a great way of teaching about herbivours and carnivours and telling kids about meat eaters and animals that just eat greens. The last dinosaur is the pinky purple dinosaur so I'm not actually sure what species he/she is but its quite cute and fun looking.
The dinosaurs are made of a thick plastic and so are very well made. They are fairly large, large enough that a small child cannot put them in their mouth or swallow them so they are perfect for under two's to play with. They are great fun and a great addition to the HappyLand family.
At only a year old, Freddy has made it patently obvious that he is going to be a very stereotypical boy. Just like many little boys he's fascinated with dinosaurs, but being so young most toy dinosaurs are just not suitable for him. Cue The Early Learning Centre and more specifically their Happyland range, which has recently expanded to include a dinosaur theme. Freddy already has the large dinosaur Playset and loves to play with that, so when I saw the prehistoric pals on sale for only £3 instead of the standard £6 I couldn't resist buying them for him.
==Rawr - A Parent's View==
There are actually two different sets of prehistoric pals available each containing three dinosaurs. Being a canny Mummy I managed to pay just £3 for each set, but I've got a feeling that one of the sets was mislabelled as only one of the sets is £3 online, with the other being £4.80. Both sets come supplied in a clear plastic tub with a lid, which is ideal for storing them in after play. It's nice to see that it's easy to remove the dinosaurs from the packaging, the distinct lack of plastic ties means that if these are bought as an impulse gift, there's no waiting before the little one gets their hands on them. As I've already said each of the sets contains three different dinosaurs, I'm afraid I'm not a palaeontologist, so I don't know all of the correct names for these dinosaurs, so you'll have to forgive the following descriptions.
All of the dinosaurs are formed from tough, rubberised material and are hollow with any detail painted on. The first set contains a green triceratops, who is covered in orange spots and has orange horns, at least I'm assuming it's a triceratops as I vaguely remember that they had a frill and three horns. Also included in this set is a pink dinosaur, who has a purple frill and yellow stripes, I've no idea what this dinosaur is called, but it does look very cute sitting on it's haunches. The final dinosaur in this set is one of those massive dinosaurs that towered over everything. We can tell this because this khaki coloured dinosaur is munching on a tree.
The second set of dinosaurs are much brighter than the first. Firstly there's an orange pterosaur, that is a flying dinosaur standing with his wings outstretched. The next dinosaur is bright green and looks a little like an ancestor of the crocodiles, with ridges running done it's back. This dinosaur obviously has very strong maternal (or paternal) instincts as it's carrying it's purple baby on it's back. The final blue dinosaur appears to be a member of the raptor family, as he is standing on his rear legs and only has small arms.
All of the dinosaurs are a good size for little hands to hold, with the largest being about 12cm long and the smallest about 9cm high. They are also extremely durable and able to withstand almost anything that your child could throw at them, including being stood on. There are also no sharp edges or arms and legs that can be chewed off, meaning that these are much safer for the youngest of toddlers than most toy dinosaurs. The dinosaurs are also easy to clean should they get dirty, the smooth surfaces are easy to wipe with a cloth and they can be immersed in water. Although as they have holes in the bottom, it is important to make sure all the water is out otherwise the dreaded black mould may form.
All in all, while I wouldn't have bought these at full price, I do think they are great value at £3 a set and at that price am perfectly happy to give them five stars out of five (although they would only get four stars out of five at full price). But it's not just my opinion that counts...
==Stomp - A Toddler's View==
Although at a year old, Freddy is considerably younger than the recommended minimum age of eighteen months, he loves his Happyland toys and has been playing with them from about ten months of age. As soon as he saw these dinosaurs, still in their packaging, Freddy couldn't wait to get hold of them and start playing. I guess there really is something about the colours and simple, yet engaging detail that draws a toddler to these dinosaurs.
When we first gave these to him, Freddy just played with them on their own, spending time exploring the different textures and deciding which were his favourites. I must admit these have probably spent almost as much time in Freddy's mouth as they have being actually played with. Not that this really worries me, the dinosaurs have been well and truly chewed on and as of yet have shown no sign of damage. And with the dinosaurs being all sorts of different shapes with different textures, Freddy really does seem to love exploring them with his mouth and it's possible that they are soothing his emerging teeth. As well as chewing on the dinosaurs, Freddy will also play with them, although his imagination is quite limited at the moment he will bash them against each other while roaring. Freddy also likes to take these into the bath with him, where the float quite impressively, although I do need to make sure that I get all of the water out of them.
I also spend time playing with Freddy using these in conjunction with his Dino Playset, and they make a great addition to that set. They fit in the egg perfectly and add to the fun as we hide them. Visiting children also like playing with these dinosaurs, although they do prefer to use them in conjunction with other Happyland sets, which is when you'll often find the dinosaurs chasing people around the room.
All in all, from the minute Freddy saw these, he fell in love with them and he really enjoys playing with them and I think that considering he will regularly return to playing with them, that he'd give them four out of five.
==Hear Me Roar - Educational Value And Suitability==
As with all Happyland toys these dinosaurs will help your child develop their imagination and role play skills, although obviously they are a little limited. They also make excellent props for talking and learning about dinosaurs as although they are not exactly realistic they are definitely recognisable as dinosaurs. All the different shapes and textures are also good for encouraging young children to use their hands and mouths to explore.
As to the recommended age range, well I do think that eighteen months is more than over-cautious. These dinosaurs are a good size for babies and toddlers to hold without causing a choking hazard and have easily survived Freddy's very sharp teeth. Ok, younger children may not get the most from them in terms of role play, but these are perfectly safe to give to even a six month old. Obviously you would need to regularly check them for damage, but I wish I'd bought these when Freddy was younger as he didn't like using traditional teethers. However, at a year old, Freddy loves playing with these and is using his rudimentary role play skills as he roars and yet I know that he's just going to get more from them as he gets older.
The maximum suggested age is, however, probably a little optimistic as while a four year might have a sneaky play, I do think that once Freddy gets to about three he'll probably want slightly more realistic dinosaurs to play with.
At the current selling price these dinosaurs are a great addition to any toddler's toy box. I love the fact that they are a range of colours means that they are a unisex toy, although many people would veer towards calling them a boy's toy. I also like how the simple, robust designs mean that these dinosaurs are safe for toddlers and babies well below the minimum recommended age, meaning that they don't need to be put away when younger babies come to visit. But most of all I love Freddy's reaction from the very first moment he saw them. So all things considered, Freddy and I are going to give these prehistoric pals four stars out of five and recommend them for those six months and older. Only wait until they are on offer, because we're not quite sure they're worth the full price of £6 for three.