I have frequently written and spoken about why I love old fashioned toys. They are often made to last in a way which some modern plastic toys are not and I also love the simplicity of them which I think encourages children to use their imagination whilst playing. There are some companies that do this really, really well and in my mind BigJigs are one of these companies. All their toys are made to last and also beautiful to look at.
I was therefore thrilled to be asked if Little Miss C and I would review something from the BigJigs Road and Rail range, especially since we bought her their basic figure of eight set for Christmas and she has loved it ever since. We were sent the Farmyard Crossing and Wooden Fruit and Veg Train to review which worked perfectly with some of the track that we already had and one of the battery powered locomotives that we also bought at Christmas.
The Farmyard Crossing set really helps children combine their rail set with cars and also farm animals. It contains a farm barn building (with ever so important opening door!), fences, a tree, gates for the crossing, a bit of road, a magnetic crane, a hay train waggon and also a milk tanker vehicle. What is particularly clever about the milk tanker is that the tank part has a magent on the top of it and it is attached to the back of the vehicle by sliding onto two pegs. This means that the load stays on the vehicle whilst it is being driven around, but it can be simply lifted off, either by the crane magnet or by little fingers. It's also very good practice of their fine motor skills for them to put it back on. The hay waggon works in a very similar way.
One of the best things about BigJigs is the way that everything just works together without you having to put any extra thought or effort into it. The wooden fruit and veg train that we were also sent to review is a perfect example of this. All the loads have magnets on them and lift off in the same way as the milk and hay loads do. They also fit on the hay waggon and the milk tanker meaning that a small child can make things work however they want them to whilst they're playing, and they don't have to shout for mummy or daddy to help them if something doesn't work!
Little Miss C has loved having this add-on to her already loved BigJigs train set. It's given her a whole new level of excitement and I've also found her taking quite a few of her plastic animals into the farmyard barn – although the roof had to be taken off to accomodate the giraffe properly! As she's only 21 months the crane is a bit too fiddly for her to use, but I can see that she only needs to be a bit older to be able to work it on her own. The look of amazement on her face the first time her daddy demonstrated how it could pick up the loads from the train was quite something.
For me the stand out things about these items are how well made they are and also how compatable everything in the BigJigs Road and Rail range is. Add-ons like this make wonderful gifts for any child who already has one of the basic train sets and help to develop the toy as the child develops, thus giving you overall great value for money.
I can see that we're going to be playing with this, and hopefully other things from the BigJigs range, for years to come, and I've no doubt that they toys will last too. Many thanks to Merry from Patch of Puddles for this review opportunity.