Last year, we reviewed the fabulous Schleich Giant Volcano with T-Rex playset and I was very impressed with the playability and the way it really caught Pierre's imagination. He has spent hours walking his dinosaurs around the different parts of the playset, putting them in the prison inside the volcano, making them fall down the hill or inside the crater. I thought that it appealed to his make-believe creativity so much because of the real-life volcanoes that we had discovered on last summer's trip to Lanzarote, where we visited the Timanfaya Volcanic National Park, but we have just received the Schleich Wild Life Collection safari starter set to review and he has been just as absorbed.
Admittedly, we have had a few close encounters in the past with some of the animals from the set, including the time we got to stroke a zebra ...
... and even feeding bread to a friendly elephant on one memorable occasion, but we've never been on safari.
The starter set includes four animals - a zebra, a baby elephant, a chimpanzee and a lion. Pierre instantly decided that they needed some grassland to hide and play in, so he went running off to find his fairy garden. It's pretty much gone to seed so it looks a bit barren but this fits in with the grassland/savannah theme !
Pierre was particularly fascinated by the attention to detail and spent ages examining the chimpanzee.
When I innocently asked what he found so fascinating, I couldn't help but stifle a snigger.
Yes, you guessed it ... he was totally fascinated by the chimpanzee's bum !
He was also very interested in his feet though, pointing out that they look just like human hands.
After scrutinising the details of each animal, he started making up stories with them, starting with some acrobatics.
Then the lion growled at the chimpanzee who was laughing because the naughty elephant kept climbing on them.
Soon after, Pierre disappeared off to his room so I thought he'd got bored of playing, but within a few minutes he was back, with more animals to add to his story - I'm not sure what a lamb and a calf were doing on the African plains but never mind, geographical accuracy has never been a hindrance to a child's imagination at play !
So the lion roared at the lamb and got ready to eat him for dinner ...
... but it was the calf that fell over in fright !
Next, it was time for a spot of grooming, brushing down the zebra with a broom !
I absolutely love the way Pierre managed to create such detailed and exciting stories with just a few animal models. I'll definitely be tempted to add more to his collection so that he can get even more imaginative.
Schleich's Wild Life Collection is split up into four fantastic play worlds, so that children can explore the savannah, dive into an underwater world, discover jungle species and walk through the forest. In the Safari play world, giraffes and a family of elephants graze on the savannah, while big cats like cheetahs and lions prowl across the territory.
You can see the full collection at www.schleich-s.co.uk.
The Wild Life Starter Set that we reviewed has an RRP of £14.99 and a target age range of 3-6 (but Pierre is 8 and had great fun with it).
Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.