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I love my children to spend as much time as possible outside in the garden, and have several good outdoor toys. This summer I decided to add to the collection by purchasing a playhouse for my nearly 2-year-old son. Every morning when we take his older brother to school he makes straight for the little tikes playhouse in the playground and makes his feelings known when I try to extricate him! Although I knew I wanted a playhouse which would stand the test of time, I was unsure whether to buy one made of wood or plastic. The wooden ones we looked at were lovely but very expensive. In addition a friend told me that her children have had several splinters from their wooden house. We checked out various plastic models but thought little tikes were superior to any others on the market. We have several other little tikes’ toys (see my op on the cozy coupe) and have always been very happy with them.
Little tikes are an American company and have been making toys since 1970.They have an impressive track record and have won many awards. Their toys are all made of bright chunky plastic, are very strong and extremely safe. I don’t intend to write any more about the company or the huge range of toys they make. If you would like to view their range they have a good web site at www.littletikes.com
Having decided to buy a little tikes playhouse we then had to decide which one. Little tikes make several playhouses and a wonderful castle. I loved the log cabin but at nearly £300 we decided against it! We finally chose the country cottage as this seemed the best value for money.
What does it look like? …………………………..
The playhouse is 50 inches in length x 41 inches wide and 51.5 inches in height or if you prefer 127x104x131cm.The house is constructed of very sturdy plastic in bright colours. The full height door has a chunky white doorknob, easy for little hands to open. The windows have shutters, which open and have a space to prevent fingers getting trapped. Inside the house has a little sink with a pretend tap, a hob with knobs, which turn and make a clicking sound. There is also a corner table with a portable phone. The house comes flat packed with the walls in 4 sections which simply lock together The roof comes in 2 pieces which also locks together but requires a few screws (supplied) to hold it securely in position. The house does need 2 people to put it together, but only took my husband (with my brilliant assistance) about 20 minutes! The little shelf, which fits inside the house, was the only tricky bit to fit as it was a bit of a tight fit. The house is designed to look like a country cottage and has a pitched roof and 4 windows. Ours has a green roof, yellow walls and a red door and window shutters. I have seen the house in different colour combinations on the Internet, but it only seemed to be available in these colours on the high street.
The verdict ……………..
We bought our playhouse at the beginning of the summer and it has been played with on most days. When we have visiting children it is always the first toy they make for. The house encourages imaginative play and is great for helping to teach children to co-operate together (well in theory anyway!) My little boy loves to peep out of the shutters when I knock on the door-a game that can go on for ages! My 6 year old and his friends also enjoy playing in the house (when his younger sibling will allow!) They recently played at serving food to each other through the open windows, MC Donald’s style unfortunately! The house will easily allow 3, 2 year old to play inside whilst mums sit in the sun with a coffee! Well for a few minutes anyway. I have spent some time inside the house albeit squatting, whilst my son cooks pretend food on his hob for me. This does little for my back but a lot for my imagination! The possibilities for imaginative play are endless.
I do have a few niggles with the house though. The roof does not fit firmly onto the walls of the house and therefore allows rainwater to get inside the walls. This is not a major problem but would make the house heavy to move if you wanted to do so. Our house is situated on our patio .If the house was placed on grass it would have to be moved regularly to avoid killing the grass. It is very heavy, so it is better to have a permanent resting place on concrete.
The house has no floor so feels a bit cold inside. I have put a rush mat down to make it more homely!
The windows are great fun to peek through, but my little darling has found that they are also great to climb through! He has managed this without mishap so far but I can see that he will need watching as he could well land on his head, potentially an accident waiting to happen on concrete!
I wish that a little seat had been included, although our chair from the E.L.C fits well. My son likes to have a snack in his new home and therefore likes to sit down.
To conclude the playhouse is recommended for children ages 2 – 6 although I think younger children would enjoy this house and as I have said my over 6 year old and friends still play with it!
As always before I bought I price checked, and the cheapest price was from John Lewis at £129.00 including free delivery. Toys r us advertised it for £129.99 with £50 off! I suspect a case of price fixing here! I could not find much price difference anywhere. Little Tikes say that the colours will not fade in the sun, but I will update you next year on this! Overall I am delighted with this toy and hope it will give many years of pleasure!
P.S spelling of little tikes is as I have written not with a y as printed by ciao!