We bought this for my 4 year old, mainly because she is always having parties for her toys and we thought it would be a welcome addition to her role playing. I'd also read a great review on this toy, and knew that Melissa & Doug creations were top quality.
What you get in the set is a wooden sliceable birthday cake with accessories; you get 34 separate pieces which include:
* 6 ready to cut slices of cake
* 7 removable candles
* Numerous toppings (sweets, jelly beans and strawberries)
* Serving tray
Everything comes in a handy wooden box with different compartments for the accessories. All the items are made from wood and can be fixed together with Velcro (as in the Melissa & Doug Cutting Food - see my review). Everything is made from high quality materials as you would expect from a Melissa & Doug set, they have also used non-toxic paint which is a great safety feature for kids who like to chew their toys.
The look of the set is great; it's done in traditional colours, there is no swaying towards blue for boys or pink for the girls. The cake is mainly white, with red, blue and green decorations, so it would suit either a boy or a girl. In my mind, this is a huge reason for rating this toy so highly, because so many toys these days are gender specific, with the whole pink revolution taking over massive areas in toy shops, so to find something which is neither pink nor blue is a true gem.
**Is It Any Good?**
Well, let me tell you, before I had kids I used to think toys like this were pointless, I couldn't understand the reasons behind giving them something *wooden* which didn't actually do anything, and I felt people bought toys like this because they looked nice rather than anything else. I was under the impression that the louder the toy was and the more flashing lights there were, the more you were getting for your money. But 4 years and 2 kids later, I have developed a firm understanding of the value of toys, and now know what is good, and what is not. And this cake set is very good.
**Time To Play**
A toy like this is so simple, and perhaps to the untrained eye can appear dull, yet it can be at the centre of a huge make believe role play experience. For instance, my daughters will get this cake out and set it down in the middle of the floor; then they will go about deciding who's birthday it is, how old they are going to be (so how many candles do they need), what kind of toppings would they prefer. The toppings add another angle to the game because swapping and changing between the strawberries and sweets is fun, and each slice can have a different topping on, so each person (or toy) can choose what they want to have.
Then the singing and birthday party will commence and the cake will be divided between the toys, and the fact that they can actually divide the cake up themselves and share it out is a major plus point and added fun factor. But the fun doesn't end there, they will then put the cake back together again and another toy will be suddenly having a birthday and turning a different age, so a different number of candles and different toppings are needed etc etc.
It's not just about the pretend birthday parties, but it's the opportunities that a toy such as this creates. It gives children a chance to play together, share things and interact with each other. It can also be the catalyst in sparking off a long session of independent role playing. Often small sets like these can really jump start a child's imagination and set their mind going. I have found that the simpler a toy is, the more likely my kids are to play with it for long periods. A toy with noises and flashing lights often leaves them cold and uninterested after only 5 minutes of entertainment, whereas the toys which simply provoke the imagination are the ones which they enjoy the most.
This is a brilliant toy and well worth the money, it's easy to use, long lasting and good quality. The play potential with the toy is massive and it just takes a bit of imagination from a child for them to really enjoy themselves.
I highly recommend this toy to boys and girls alike. My girls are 2 and 4 and they both enjoy playing with it, and I'm sure they will for years to come, so I'd recommend it for children aged 2 and above.
**Price and Availability**
RRP is £14.99 but prices can vary. It is currently available on Amazon for £13.40 (March 2011).
It can also be found on other websites such as www.welovetoys.co.uk and www.ebay.co.uk
This particular wooden cut and play cake set it by Melissa and Doug a make I have come to really like over the last few months. They make beautiful, unique educational toys of all different types. I came across their range on Amazon whilst looking for wooden play food for my son's wooden kitchen I had bought him as his main Christmas present. After seeing the quality of one of their products I couldn't resist buying this cut and play cake when I saw it. I certainly wasn't disappointed. My son received it for Christmas and absolutely loves playing with. I think it might have to be his favourite cut and play set he has got. I have lost count of how many birthdays' we have had over the last month. My son insists we pretend to blow out the candles!
So this particular set has 34 pieces altogether making up a wonderful fun play experience for any small child. This particular toy is recommended for children three years and above which my son is almost. He was instantly drawn to it when sat with all his opened Christmas presents. The fun aspect of being able to cut the cake up and stick candles on top of it was a hit for him.
The set contains a lovely white cake that is slightly decorating with simple coloured patterns of lines and dots. It is spilt into six pieces which are held together with Velcro and can be pulled apart hundreds of times to be stuck back together. It makes a lovely sound when being cut apart. On each slice of cake there is a small circular indent of Velcro and on this a candle or small circle can be attached to it. So there a selection of candles that can be added to the cake or instead you can add some fun looking toppings. The toppings are either strawberries, what look like smarties or the other topping looks like large sweets but they are whatever your child wants them to be. Also included in the set is a nice strong red serving plate for the cake to sit on and a spatula to help with serving the cake. All of this is of course wooden and comes in useful wooden tray with little sections to hold the candles and toppings. My only little gripe with this is the tray doesn't come with a lid so once packed away in toy box pieces may drop out.
This set was to go with his cooker but I think it is one to be enjoyed on its own. The set looks fantastic and has given my son hours of pleasure so far and I can see him playing with it for a lot of time to come. It doesn't look babyish and I can see an older child having as much fun with it too. It is great for imaginative play something my son seems to have excelled in over the last couple of months.
As for durability well it is a wooden painted toy and I find with all of them they can chip easily. So far this particular one has held out but we have given it a fair chance keeping it away from my 16 month old. He has a habit of bashing toys on the floor when he gets frustrated with them causing the wooden ones to chip their paint. The Velcro is fine so far and seems to be fairly strong.
This Melissa and Doug set is excellent and would make a perfect present for any young child. I have seen my son play with it with great enthusiasm. I would highly recommend Melissa and Doug as a great make and this particular set doesn't let the side down. It is made from great quality materials and all of which is non-toxic. It is priced at £14.99 which I think is great value for money. To make things even better, currently (Jan 2011) it is at a bargain price of £11.24 on Amazon.