What better way to fend off the post-holiday, back-to-school blues than receiving an intriguing package to discover? That was my thinking when this lovely play bag arrived from oskar & ellen - a family-run company based in Stockholm who specialise in innovative and fun soft fabric toys to encourage a child’s imagination through role-play.
As Pierre was slightly grumpy - tired after jumping back into the school routine - I gave him the new toy to explore without asking him to pose for photos. I also wanted to see what he would make of it without any input from me.
He pulled out the fabric play mat, oohed and aahed at the scene and pointed out the different features - the space station, planets, stars, ... We were both really impressed with the attention to detail and the beautifully vibrant colours. Then he picked up the rocket and started flying it around. He loved the details such as the "fire" ribbons coming out of the bottom and the squishy fins that let you stand it up.
He was already impressed, then I suggested he have a look inside !
"Wow, Mummy, it's got extra presents inside - look !"
He excitedly pulled out two astronauts with removable oxygen tanks, two Martians and a flying saucer ... or, if you ask Pierre, two astronauts with pillows in case they get tired, two Barbapapa monsters and a birthday cake (I can see what he means, the spaceship DOES kind of look like a birthday cake if you turn it upside down !). I love the way kids' imaginations work ... and have you seen the big smile that has suddenly appeared on Pierre's face ? Bonus !
We laid out all the pieces and marvelled at the attention to detail.
Then it was time to get down to the serious business of playing ! I started off helping him out, role-playing a space mission shooting up to the moon, then left him to get on with it and come up with his own stories. "Look Mum, they're having a birthday party and sitting on beanbags now!"
The oxygen tanks doubled (quadrupled?!) up as pillows, beanbags and something else here but I have no idea what. There really is no limit to a child's creativity and imagination !
When we'd (eventually) finished playing, there was no arguing about tidying up because that becomes part of the fun - stuffing everything back inside the rocket ("Time to go home to sleep moon-men ... don't forget your pillows, space explorers ... !") then the whole thing goes back into its storage/carry bag.
It's a fantastic toy - beautifully crafted, lovely and soft, inspiring endless imaginative make-believe stories and appealing to both sexes. This is just one product in the playbag range though so make sure you check them all out - I also love the look of the pirate ship, the nativity scene, Santa's house and Noah's ark ....
Now that the kids have gone back to school, I'm starting to half-heartedly think about Christmas and I will definitely be checking out all that oskar & ellen have on offer. As well as the playbags, they also have interactive books and wall hangings, pretend play sets and dress up accessories - all beautifully crafted from fabric and relying on your kids' creativity to power them rather then batteries. That's definitely something that you'll appreciate on Christmas morning !
star rating : 5/5
RRP: €39 (approx £29)
for more information : http://www.oskarellen.com/
Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.