A play set with a story book and magnetic board, together with magnet characters, which can be used to create pictures and tell out various stories. We have reviewed two of the play sets 'Milo and Mimi go the the Park' and 'Milo and Mimi go to Planet Miso', both of which centre around a boy called Milo and a girl called Mimi. The main reviewer was a 2.5 year old girl. Two older girls, 5 and 6 years old also played wth it.
MANUFACTURER: Chimen Magnets
AGE RANGE: 2-6 years
RRP: £19.99 per playset
INDIVIDUAL CATEGORY RATINGS
EASE OF USE
In practical terms, very easy. The board is roughly A3 size and folds out into one big picture scene. The magnets are easily stored on the board and it is clear to the child what they can do with them. We thought that it might benefit from some ideas on the back cover as to how the play set can be used so as to derive maximum benefit from it. For example, the story in the book does not use all the magnetic figures. My daughter was trying to create a scene to match the story but queried what some of them were for. Other than a picture at the end of the book which contains all the figures, it was not immediately obvious. Either suggestions of how the play set could be used (not including the book) or more stories which involve all the magnetic figures would be a worthwhile addition.
The magnets are really well made and durable. The board is made of strong laminated cardboard which also looks like it will last. There is the possibility that we might lose the book as there is nowhere within the board for it to easily be stored (unlike the magnets which can easily be kept within the board).
It does look good - has lots of bright colours which attracted my 2.5 year old daughter and the characters are easily identifiable as people/ animals/ objects.
My daughter has really quickly grasped how it works and loves playing with it. On the Chimen website an age range of 2-6 years is given. Interestingly the 5 and 6 year old testers were very keen to get playing and set up the scene like it is in the book, but then declared they had finished with it. We would therefore conclude that it is a toy most suited to pre-schoolers.
I felt that £19.99 per playset was quite steep and although I am sure we'll get a lot of use out of the playsets I'm not sure if I would have actually paid that much for them in the first place. Maybe £19.99 for the two would have seemed more manageable. Unfortunately the price will mean that I am unlikely to buy them as presents for friends. Having said that, they are so well made that I can understand why they may have to be pitched at this price.
The most similar thing I am aware of is Fuzzy Felt but this develops that concept in an original way by including the story books, introducing the new characters and using the magnets. Slightly older children could probably play with it on a long car journey.
I feel it is worth 4 stars overall as my daughter really does love playing with it. She wants to play with it at least every day, sometimes more than once. She knows who Mimi and Milo are and loves the little characters, working out whether they go in the sky or on the ground. As mentioned in the 'Ease of Use' section, I do feel that there are some ways in which the play sets could be adjusted but more so that we could ensure we've maximised opportunities for playing with them, rather than as any criticism of the product as it currently is. If they didn't cost so much I think they would make ideal presents for 2 or 3 year olds.
For more info click here for the Chimen website.