Firstly, this is our video of Bud playing with the set with some information from me too. Read on for a few close ups of the toy and a few more of my observations on it.
We've been playing with the fire playset for quite a while now and it has been played with daily, for a good length of time. Bud doesn't actually have a lot of 'real world' small play toys so I wasn't sure if this would be interesting to him as it doesn't feature pirate, knights or animals. He understood instantly what the set was and what to do with it. When you see him shouting 'it's a fire station' that was the first time he had seen this toy.
The set is excellent quality. I worry about the box being how you store the toy as Bud has good form for destroying toys. This box is made out of really toughened cardboard and it has been fine so far. I do hope that by encouraging him to be careful with it, it should stand the test of time and a heavy handed three year old. The pieces are really well crafted, measuring about a centimetre in thickness with clear, colourful decoration. They fit into the box for storage well and then the handle comes through to secure the lid which folds over. The detailed illustrations on the outside and inside of the box really enhance the play and my son has used them to tell stories when he is playing in addition and alongside the play pieces.
As we have played with this toy I see more and more different ways to do so. The blue hose can be used as a threading game by feeding it into the fire engine, the fire fighters or the hydrant and the stories that Bud tells when playing are so funny to hear. I was surprised at how well he understands the processes that fire fighters use to tackle fires and rescue people and cats. I didn't even know that he knew about cats getting stuck up trees but he straight away put the cat in the tree and said that the fireman had to come and rescue it. Haba have thought of everything, I love that you can turn around the fire blocks when you have put the fire out to show just smoking sticks instead of a full blaze.
If I had any concerns about this toy it is for the box. It is perfectly fine now but I would hate it to get worn and, when you are using it as the background for play in this way this is likely to happen more quickly than if you were just getting it out and playing with the pieces. That said, the box is a crucial element in this set and I don't actually see how it would work as well if it was made from, say, wood.
I really feel that this toy is a great addition to our collection. I'm hoping that, once Bud is finished with it, Little Miss will love it too. Haba toys, generally, are built to last and be passed on and I am sure this is no exception.
Disclaimer: We are Izziwizzi Kids Toy Testers and this is a review for Playfest. The toy was received for the purpose of this review but all our thoughts are honest and unbiased.