Whenever parents ask me, where should they look to get toy animals for their child, the first brand I always mention is Schleich. With Schleich animals, you know that you are getting brilliant quality, realistic animals, and they last for years and years. We have built up a great collection of Schleich animals over the years, and they are perfect for children who enjoy imaginary play and making up their own stories with their toys. We were sent a couple of products from the Schleich Wild Life Collection to review, and these two sets work very well together, and also may compliment other sets or animals you already have in your collection.

The first of these two sets is the Wild Life Starter Set, which includes four life-like animals with elaborate detail stimulate children to play creatively, allowing them to come up with their first adventurous stories from the wilderness of the safari. The animals included are a zebra, chimpanzee, elephant and lion.

This set is available for RRP 14.99 from retailers including Smyths.

This set is recommended for ages 3 and up (recommended 3-8 years) and I found my kids at both ends of this age range played really well with the animals, engaging their imaginations with the play straight away. These are ready to play with straight out of the box.

The next set we’ve been playing with is the 4×4 Vehicle with Winch. This is a little bit different to other Schleich animal sets we already had, as it includes a large vehicle and lots of little accessories, alongside the figures. The figures included are ranger David and his trusty companion, the young chimpanzee which are of course very detailed and lovingly painted just like the Schleich figures you would get in the animal sets. The 4X4 Vehicle set is also available from Smyths for RRP 34.99.

With this play set it’s time for an action-packed adventure with ranger David and the young chimpanzee! Accompany these two on their wild journey through the jungle! Secure the extendable winch hook to the tree trunk to pull it out of the mud! Change a tyre or refuel the 4×4 vehicle with the petrol canister! Save injured animals with the veterinary equipment! Help them explore the dense jungle.

There is also a CROCO jungle research station from Schleich which is a great companion to this set to extend the play time even further.

With the 4×4 set, there is a bit of construction first to add the final details to the vehicle. If you have kids at the older end of the age range, then they will probably enjoy doing this themselves as my 8 year old R did, but if you have younger ones then I would complete this yourself before giving to them to play. The instructions provided are very clear, and it won’t take too long to put together.

The finished 4X4 vehicle has lots of detail including lights, a spare tire on the back, and it’s easy to get the David character in and out of the set without any frustration (and the chimpanzee too if he would like to drive!)

The winch is fixed in place at the front of the vehicle and can easily be extended, with a little hook on the end of it.

The amount of accessories included in the set is quite generous with lots of little pieces for the children to explore and add into their imaginary play. There are axes, fuel canisters, shovel, vet equipment, storage cases and more.

The vet equipment was a big hit especially with my little girl and was a great way to combine the two sets as she would take some of the wild animals and have them lie injured until ranger David could reach them to put their bandages on and give them a check over.

R was enjoying making some crazy disaster scenes where the car would get over turned and various animals had to get pulled out of the mud with the winch. The great thing with this type of toy is that it is very open ended so they can take their games in whichever direction their ideas take them.

That’s why these toys can be enjoyed by a wide age range, and I was really happy to see them playing together with it and cooperating with their imaginary play too.

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