Playmobil Advent Calendar Review

12 October 2010

Playmobil Advent Calendar When I was a kid my Advent calendar never made it through Advent. In fact, it was pretty lucky if it made it through the first day. Maybe my folks should have got something like the Playmobil Advent Calendar, which has toys instead of chocolate.

My son, luckily, didn't inherit the greedy gene. Or maybe it was because I put his advent calendar out of reach so he could only open one of the pockets with the assistance of an adult!

Last year he loved the whole Advent routine, racing home each day from school to get his piece of chocolate. And was hugely disappointed when it finished. The Playmobil Advent Calendar is an interesting concept. As well as having toys, it differs from other calendars in that you have to make it yourself.

We got two in for review, and gave them to PlayPennies mums Lauren, mum to six year old Damien,  and Jo, mum to four year old Grace, to try out.

Jo wasn't entirely sure about the concept behind the Playmobil Advent Calendar. She received the Unicorn in Fairy World advent calendar. Whereas Lauren, who got the Dragon's Land calendar, made the calendar up on her own, and Jo made hers with her daughter.

Unicorn in Fairy World SetAs Jo says "Why would you construct your own advent calendar and wouldn’t it ruin the fun if your little one builds it with you? I know I might be a bit thick saying the latter, but for me the whole point would be interacting with my child from the start."

Lauren liked the idea of building with her son and thought next time she might give it a go  "to be honest, it didn't even occur to me! I thought that whole point of Advent calendars were that each day you got a 'surprise', but really there's not reason for them not to know what is inside." Lauren was a little jealous when she heard what a good time Jo had. "My daughter utterly ADORED putting it together. She bossed me about, told me off, made me change things and giggled loads. I can honestly say that one minute it was 3pm and the next it was 4:30 – it was that entertaining and time consuming for us both. That made it a real winner for me."

It was a little bit weird doing the Advent calendar routine so early in the year for both our testers,  but the children certainly didn't seem to mind and soon got into the spirit of things. Lauren found the diorama that comes with the set to be both a positive and a negative.

"It was great as my son loved it, and enjoyed having a ready made 'scene' to play with his toys in. For me though it was a right pain in the behind. It is fairly large, and the only flat space we had to put it - and keep it up as every day he would want to play on it - was on the dining room table. So for me it meant moving it around everyday and trying not to let the little toys go everywhere!"

Dragons Land DioramaThe diorama is a backdrop for the play set that the children are collecting in the advent calendar. It is made of fairly stout cardboard, and is designed to slot together and stand upright.

How did Jo get on building her calendar with her daughter? "Building the actual calendar is EASY. At first I was a bit confused but I wasn’t given the gift of spacial reasoning so this is entirely my issue. You will have lots of fun creating the calendar, building the little pieces and so on. Once you’ve build the different boxes for the windows, you build the pieces for each window, pop them in and then seal the box with the provided stcky tape. I had to use mine to tape up the tree diorama because my little one thought she had to pull out the trees."

Jo had a few niggly negatives. "Lots of plastic packaging, and vague instructions that could have done with some more, ahem, WRITING." The box for the calendar is inside the main box, and Jo thought that the pictures that show the scene in its completed gloryshould be on the back of the calendar rather than on the main box as this means keeping the main box around for the month or so you're using the calendar.

Dragons Land SetBoth our mums thought it was a great concept. Lauren found it made a fun way to start the day. "He was in his school uniform and ready to go a lot quicker when he knew he could open one of his calendar windows and have a wee play before school!" Her main complaint was the amount of time it took to get to the dragon. "I think that such an important piece might be best placed right at the start. My son felt he couldn't really play properly with the set until he got the dragon out."

Jo thought it was a genius idea. "Easy to assemble once head is around pictures, great fun for kids and parents, awesome scenes to build that kids love, easy for kids to create pieces (big plus), hook on back of box to hang on wall, ace diorama scene that is fairly robust."

And Finally ...

There are seven calendars in the Playmobil Advent Calendar range in the UK. Most of the calendars, including the two featured here, are priced at £14.99 each. The Nativity Manger costs £19.99, while the Three Wise Kings is the cheapest at £9.99.

TOPICS:   Toy Store   Christmas UK

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