Our Bigjigs Play Patrol adventure is coming to an end, and we have one mission left. Freddy was sent the Seaside Slope to play with to put the fun to the test!
The Bigjigs Seaside Slope is a beautifully made wooden structure featuring four angled ramps on which the colourful wooden fish roll down. Starting at the top, they travel to the end of one ramp before dropping down onto the next and so on. Passing the centre point they ring a little bell. If you time it right you can have all fish rolling down the ramps at the same time.
Freddy couldn't wait to try out the new toy as soon as he got home from school. He loved the colour and the design of the toy. He instinctively knew what to do and soon had all four fish rolling and ringing the bell. It is a lovely gender neutral toy with appeal to both boys and girls.
At four and a half years old he is a bit above the recommended age (36 mths +) and the Seaside Slope didn't keep him fully engaged once he'd mastered how it worked. Unlike his trains or cars, the concept of rolling fish didn't lend itself to any role play or imaginative story telling from him. I guess aquatic creatures just aren't his thing!
He was initially quite mesmerized by the friendly faced fishes rolling down the slopes. I could see him thinking about the timing of setting the fish go and he showed great dexterity as he positioned them on the slopes. He was very interested in how it worked, watching the fish fall onto the next slope and travel down it in the opposite direction. The science of the motion was clearly of interest to him.
I took note of some of the comments, questions and observations he made while playing:
The bell rings when the fish hit it. I'm not sure why there is a bell in the sea though?
I love the blue colour. Blue is my favourite colour.
The holes look like bubbles.
Why do the fish get stuck if two go together?
The fishes roll down the track. They roll and fall, roll and fall.
They go in the other direction when they get to the end.
I wish it was a car racer instead of fishes.
The whole fish spins around and not just the wheels.
I like it when they all go down together.
I want to show this to baby Ted because I think he'd like it. (Ted is his 15 mth old nephew.)
I do wonder that if it had been a toy with racing cars or construction vehicles whizzing down a sloped road, if it would have sparked more of an element of role play and he would have had the vehicles rushing to the rescue of some disaster to save the day. (Yes...I know he is very gender stereotypical when it comes to cars and trucks!)
For a slightly younger child, or one with an interest in fishes, this toy would tie in beautifully with a play session involving reading some themed books like The Rainbow Fish. Or with a musical tie in with the song about the three little fishes who "swam all over the dam!" Fishy craft activities such as a collage made using shiny paper for scales would also be a lovely way to extend playtime and explore the theme further.
You can find the Seaside Slope on the Bigjigs website and it costs £29.99. They also have a huge selection of gorgeous wooden toys including their rail and road collections and other top quality toys.
We have loved every minute of being Play Patrol agents for Bigjigs. The toys that Freddy has tested have all been beautifully made and he's enjoyed each and every one of them. I love the fact that long after he has outgrown them, they will be handed on to the grandkids. We still have wooden toys that belonged to my eldest son from 25 years ago. That's the beauty of buying such great quality toys...they last a lifetime and they are timeless classics that never go out of date.
Here is a round-up of all our reviews: