My reviewers were my two daughters, aged eight and five. Two eight-year-old friends, one boy and one girl, also played with it during a visit. The Pop-up House is a thick white cardboard playhouse with a roof, windows, door and letterbox. The outside of the house is like a big picture for colouring in, with details such as a person, a dog and so on.
MANUFACTURER: Cardboard Playhouses
AGE RANGE: 2-9 years
COST: £24.99 (includes free delivery)
INDIVIDUAL CATEGORY RATINGS
EASE OF USE
The house is incredibly easy to use. It simply pops up, with slots for the roof to slide into to hold it in place. It folds away flat really easily. The cardboard is very good for colouring on and felt tip pens and colouring pencils show up well on the white cardboard.
Despite basically being a big fancy cardboard box, the playhouse is made out of quite strong cardboard and survived four children playing in it at one time without any damage. Parts of the roof have eventually started to wilt after a lot of play, but that is after many hours. It is obviously not a toy that will last for years. At the end of the day, it is made out of cardboard and once the children have completely decorated it/coloured it in, then half of its appeal is gone. The children can play with it outside, but it has to be quickly brought in if it rains and it did start to blow across the garden on a windy day.
This toy is not particularly pleasing to look at. Having said that, it is not particularly offensive either. It is a big 3D colouring picture in the middle of your room when it is being played with, and it is quite big. The beauty is, however, that you can fold it back flat and store it behind a cupboard or something when it is not in use.
It is designed to keep the kids amused and allow them to be creative and use their imagination, and it most definitely fulfilled that in our house. My children spent hours and hours colouring it in and then drawing their own designs on the inside and out. They then spent many more hours playing in it and posting each other letters through the little letterbox. When their friends came for a play, four of them had quite a lot of fun in it as well. I wonder if there could have been a few more pictures to colour in, which would give it a longer life. My daughters said: "It is really good for playing games with" and "I love it! I love the windows. I love the fact that we can draw on it, I love the letterbox."
I initially thought it was far too much money for something that is just made out of cardboard, but after seeing my children having hours and hours of fun with it, I have changed my mind. The colouring in element really captured their imagination, but they do really enjoy colouring-in anyway and spend a lot of time doing this. It may not be such good value for money for children who do not spend a lot of time with their pens and pencils. Also, I think that it would be better value for money if it came with some pens. As it stands, it's not fantastic value because the amount of colouring needed on such a large scale means you use up half of your pens!
It is certainly an original idea, and that is why it works so well. My children have never had a giant 3D colouring picture to do before, so they were really excited about it and couldn't wait to get started.
I have to give this four out of five. It was a real hit in our house and has provided my children with hours of fun. It appeals to children from about two to eight or nine. However, I do think the novelty will wear off after a while, especially when most of the picture has been coloured in. I usually want a toy with a bit more longevity for this amount of money and that is the only reason I have not given five stars.
For more information go to http://popuphouse.co.uk