Schleich make brilliant toys for children’s imaginary play. We have several varieties of Schleich figures, and have always been impressed with the quality, but hadn’t tried one of the larger Schleich play sets until now.
We were sent the Schleich Wild Life ‘Big Adventure at the Watering Hole’ set to review, which contains a magnificent oasis at the base of a cascading waterfall, and forms the center piece of the new Safari play world. The set is modular and can be added to with other pieces, or separated out into three smaller play sets.
Although you can of course add your own Schleich Wild Life figures collection to this set, you do get a lot of animals included in the box, so if this was your first Schleich purchase then you’ll have everything you need within this one self contained play set. The amount of animals included is quite generous, and you get a good variety from the larger lions and zebras, down to the little scorpions and snakes! Below are just a few of the animals included:
All of the animals are very detailed and lifelike, as you would expect from Schleich. This is one of the things I always appreciate about this brand. The animals and accessories also have a sturdier and more durable feel than some of the cheaper animals you could buy. You can easily pass them down from sibling to sibling and they will last very well!
When you first open the box of this play set, you will see that you need to put everything together but clear instructions are included and it’s very easy. Once you’ve put it together the first time, then subsequent times it only takes about 1 minute to set everything up.
As you can see, there’s loads of plants and greenery included too and you can mix and match that however you like to create your own design in the watering hole.
There are lots of little details, like rocks and caves which my children enjoyed incorporating into their play as places for the animals to climb and hide, and to make up their own stories using the animals.
The set is recommended for ages 3-6 and I would say that’s about right to get the most enjoyment out of it, although children may still happily play with this a year or so either side of that age range. My boys are 5 (just turned), 6 and 8 and the one who will play the most with this is the 5 year old, but all three have spent time happily playing with it together – and luckily it has enough animals and enough play space to make that work, which is great.
As you can see above, the three sections attach together to create the full watering hole play set, and they can easily be taken apart. You do have to be fairly careful when playing, as if children are too rough then these will separate accidentally during play – however they are easily put back in place if that does happen.
One of the more unique features of the Watering Hole play set is the waterfall. This hides a little cave behind it, and the water is removable too. All of the bodies of water in this set are quite realistic and have a lot of texture and interesting colour and pattern which I really liked, as it adds to the overall realism of the Schleich wild life toys and looks really effective.
Another of the cool features is that the tree in the centre of the watering hole can be split to lie down and form a bridge or climbing area for the animals. This works on a hinge mechanism and is really easy to do, and adds more variety to the environment.
The watering hole play set meant that the boys spent more time playing with their Schleich wild life figures, and the different elements of the set gave them inspiration and ideas for new stories and games too. I find that having the whole environment to set them up in can fuel their imagination even more – although my children do play with the figures as a stand alone item too.
See the full collection at www.schleich-s.co.uk