It is only 11 weeks til Christmas, I repeat 11 weeks til Christmas! Eeeek! For some people this may seem a long time away, but for others like myself, it is now the time to start preparing for another magical time with my family. I have read a few articles lately about how Christmas theming, products and advertisements seem to be in the shops earlier and earlier every year, and whilst this may be true, personally I love it!
From October onwards my children get excited about all the Christmas events we attend, the family we get to visit, the shows they get to practice and perform in school, the fact that there is stockpiled chocolates everywhere they turn, spending time together as a family, and of course writing their Christmas present gift lists.
My son Riley who is 4, loves vehicles and every day consists of building a new train track and placing his trains, cars, diggers, boats and planes anywhere he can around the track and creating a little city of his own. He loves to organise, create and build and so his Christmas lists usually consist of toys that can help him to develop his creative skills, improve his coordination and most of all, offer some fun! Therefore, when we were asked if we would like to review a product from the Toy State toddler range, it was a very easy decision to make.
Toy State are an industry leader and innovator of highly-stylized licenced "lights and sound" and radio-controlled (RC) vehicles. They have recently revealed a fantastic selection of Christmas toys which encourage co-ordination and imaginative play, as well as being designed to be tough enough to cope with toddler play. One product in particular from their range that really stood out to us, was the Cat Machine Maker™ Junior Operator, which is suitable for children aged 3+.
When the product arrived, Riley was firstly very impressed with the box. He loved the fact that he could carry it around and that it would give him somewhere to store all the pieces. The image on the front of the box was very clear, so Riley could see exactly what the toy would look like once built and he was also very excited to be getting his very own screwdriver! The front of the box stated the age recommendation, the number of pieces in the box and a picture of a screwdriver, to signify that assembly is required.
The rear of the box provides some further images that show you the individual pieces before construction, as well as another image of a partially built model.
Riley couldn't wait to get the box open and once inside, he quickly cast aside the instructions declaring he would be building it on his own and that he didn't need them. This is what my husband Mr. F still does at the age of 37, so I guess it runs in the family. We arranged all the pieces out, so he could see exactly what he needed to put together and he began picking things up bit by bit, trying to connect them all.
The pieces are a really nice hand held size. Not too big, but not too small, just quite chunky and the ideal dimensions for a toddler. Riley did take a couple of glances at the instructions, but ultimately he managed to construct the toy quite easily using the image on the back of the box.
Once he had finished building the toy, I expected him to instantly play with it constructed, however Riley had different ideas and instead decided to start using role play and pretend he was a mechanic. He asked his brother Ben to bring the vehicle to his garage, so that he could take it apart to then fix it again. It was actually quite fascinating to watch and great to see him creating his own little story about how the vehicle had broken down on a very important job, so Riley the mechanic had to fix it urgently. He continued to take it apart and rebuild it again for nearly an hour, before beginning to play with it fully constructed alongside his other toys.
The Cat Machine Maker™ Junior Operator, is part of a line of Build-It-Yourself construction sets, with a total of 5 in the range to collect. Models include an Excavator, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, Service Truck and Wheel Loader. They each come with their own chunky screwdriver, as well as a reusable carry case, which is useful for storing away all the parts neatly. The Machine operator is also included and fits nicely into the driver's seat. The clever aspect of this range is that you can also mix and match the parts as you collect each model. This means that your child can also get creative and make their own marvellous machine!
The RRP of the product is £11.99, which I think offers excellent value for money. It is a nice sized gift, that also doesn't cost a fortune, so it is the perfect price for a good quality, low cost gift idea. This product can currently be purchased from Hamley's, Morrisons, The Range, Toymaster and Smyths and I am sure, they will prove to be very popular this Christmas.
Disclaimer: We were provided with this product on a complimentary basis, for the purpose of providing an honest review of the toy. All opinions and photographs are my own unless otherwise stated.