We bought this for my son to play with whilst we renovated the house, with the aim of stopping him from trying to use grown up tools. It worked a treat and he was very happy with it. The tools that came with it are well made as is the work bench. The only down side that we can see is that when my son got a bit older (still within the age limit at 4) he was a little too boisterous with it and managed to break the bottom shelf, which left sharp plastic edges, but I don't think this is necessarily a design fault, more being too rough with it. On the whole it was really well played with and if you have the room (it is not small) then it is a great addition to a play room. Just take care with a boisterous four year old, as he was rough with it and it broke quite easily.
We brought this for our son when he was 3 years old. It does actually state on it that it is suitable for 3-6 year olds. We managed to buy this from our local early learning centre where it cost us £45.
The workbench itself isnt small it stands at about a meter tall and about 65cm in width. It is made of a strong very sturdy black and grey plastic with red attachments. On tghe workbench itself you get a built in vice, lower shelf and a number of different storage compartments to put the screws and nails in.
If you buy the work bench from early learning you also get a 50 piece tool kit. This includes replica tools such as pliers, hammer, screwdriver, cordless drill, mobile phone, file, wrench, lamp, saw and a few other bit which im not quite sure of.
It seems really sturdy. When being played with my son gets really excited but has never actually knocked it over. Its great as it encourages hand eye co-ordination for young children.
I would certainly recommend this toy for any young builder.
Our son is not your 'sit quietly and read a book or do a puzzle' kind of boy. Like many two year old boys he thrives best with some weapon of mass destruction in his hand and a target - preferably something that shatters into millions of tiny pieces or leaves a permanent stain.
Our trips to the toy store to buy Kyle a treat of some sort is a bit like navigating a land-mine field before they have been de-activated. Everything has to be tested not only for entertainment value, educational value and value for money, but also for durability, beatability and destroyability!
This weekend my partner and I took our son to the Early Learning Centre to have a look around as we are desperately trying to find something that will keep him interested for more than a minute and a half. My partner, being a Man's man put his foot down when Kyle gravitated towards the pink dressing table with vanity mirror and matching hair dryer (he still hasn't gotten over me letting Kyle have two painted toenails!). Instead we opted for the Bosch Workbench my friend had recommended to me some time ago.
This is advertised as for 3-6 year olds however, we bought it for our active 2 1/2 year old feeling it didn't pose a danger to him - to the house maybe but not to him!
***Is it affordable***
£45.00 which includes a tool set worth £20 which I think is absolutely amazing value for money.
We got ours from the Early Learning Centre but you can get them also from Toys-r-us and direct from the Bosch website.
Granted, this isn't the smallest of toys and it will take up some room. (roughly 100cm tall and 70cm wide) It was a struggle to squeeze it in between the 6 foot wig wam, the crayola art easel, Tricycle, drum set and massive stuffed over-sized gorilla, but we managed it.
***What do you get for your money***
Under the umbrella of a fantastically reliable and well-known building tools and equipment company, you would expect to get a top of the range replica and you do. The plastic DIY bench in red, grey and black also comes with a solid backdrop, lower storage shelf, vice grip and attaching containers (for nails, screws and bolts - or all the leftover small bits that have been broken off countless number of toys.
Along with the bench you get a free 50 piece set of tools worth £20 (this is through ELC) which includes a cordless drill, saw, hammer, pliers, mobile phone, head lamp, wrench and many more bits and pieces someone as un-DIY friendly as me has no chance of recognising.
***Is it safe***
I can't guarantee that my boy won't try to jam the drill into the dvd player or launch a strategically aimed hammer at one of his beloved cats or use the saw to dismember his older brother, but being made out of a lightweight moulded plastic material with rounded edges and carefully covered corners, the lasting devastation should be minimal. Saying that, who knows how long it will take the cat to recover. There is nothing that I can see in this kit, short of swallowing a rather large screw or shoving a hunk of plastic in the shape of a bolt up his nose that would put my boy at risk. All the tools and accessories are large enough to make it fairly impossible for them to get lodged anywhere unpleasant and if I had a moments' hesitation, we wouldn't have bought it.
***Can it withstand the force of a Toddler***
I am not sure anything can withstand the force of a toddler. Both my partner and I have been taken down on more than one occasion by my son. However, we were very impressed with just how stable this was once it was all put together. There is no wobbling, no sign of bits toppling over and I think Kyle will struggle to get this pushed over although I am sure he is planning his attack as we speak. Like any light plastic toy it will only take so much of a beating. I wouldn't imagine it would do well dismantled and put through a spin cycle and I am sure a baseball bat could reek havoc with the workbench given half the chance, but as far as standard exuberant toddler behaviour goes, you should be able to count on this outlasting your little devious ones.
**Do they learn anything***
This may just look like a big load of meaningless fun for kids but in fact, it is a great learning tool as well and it is always best to catch them off guard with the whole education thing. Not only does this encourage imagination through role play, it also develops fine motor skills. Your little ones will gradually learn how to manipulate the tools and the workbench using dexterity for exact and delicate movement. This workbench is also outstanding for promoting problem solving skills in your kids. Much in the same was puzzles work, your child will have to figure out where bits go, how different textures interact with other textures shapes and sizes etc. Of course, it may take some time for them to learn that a large bulky headlamp won't fit in the flat paper thin cd slot on the stereo.
All of these skills and developments will give your child renewed and growing confidence which will encourage him to learn and explore even more.
***Does he like it***
Woohoo! I managed to read the paper for 12 count em' 12 minutes last night! This is some kind of record. Of course my sacrifice for the time was, having to then play Bob the Builder with him as we tried out the various tools and accessories. Note to all mothers - a head lamp is NOT a good look for anyone! Really, this is bound to appeal to any young child - boy or girl. It has loads to explore and get into. There are nails to hammer, screws to tighten and a handy little vice grip to try and catch the cats' tail in. In total, I think this kept him going for a little over an hour, only being interrupted by Maggie and the Ferocious Beast (Not even a cool new workbench can compete with Maggie)
***Mum's final Word***
This is a brilliant toy for toddlers and parents alike for all the reasons mentioned above! We'll have him building an extension on to the house in no time!
Fabulous DIY bench with lots of sturdy accessories including cordless drill, tools, vice, nuts and bolts. Age Range: 3 - 6 years.