Mr Z, Mr T and Mr R have been recruited as Bigjigs Play Patrol agents which involves testing out lots of fantastic toys from Bigjigs. One of the ranges they have had their eye on for a while is the Bigjigs Road range. Our wooden railway has been a very well loved toy in our home for several years now, since Mr Z was a toddler and the Bigjigs road toys compliment this so well.
We were sent the Bigjigs road figure of 8 roadway set and also the signal box which is a rail and road link item. This means that it has space to connect both road pieces and rail pieces, allowing you to create an even bigger and more varied play space.
I love the inclusion of these extra bits to encourage the children in a little more imaginary small world play alongside their basic car and train play. Mr T is just starting to develop some great pretend play skills now, and Mr R is still mostly in the stage of ‘functional’ play so we can play together and I can help to model some of the pretend play which he then loves to copy. There are lots of possibilities with all the buildings and lots of real experiences that can be brought in for simple learning, like cars using the traffic light system, or stopping at the signal box to let the trains go past.
Mr T placed the people on top of the cars to show that they were going for a ride! He enjoyed choosing who would ride in each car and there are plenty of opportunities there to use colours and descriptive words when talking about the cars and people. There’s also lots of opportunities to talk about positional words: on top, next to under etc. You can play games by hiding the people or cars around the town and talking about where each one is found. You can also play listening games with the traffic lights, by calling out red, green or amber as the cars approach – and there are so many more ideas you could do. It’s a very versatile toy.
Mr Z is very into racing at the moment, so when he saw the roadway he immediately set up a race between all of the cars and had lots of his own ideas for the imaginary play. It’s ideal that there are 3 cars included, as this makes it possible for 3 siblings or friends to play together without arguments. You can also buy extra Bigjigs cars that would fit on the roadway, we have some that we bought individually a couple of years ago that are still going strong and they were really reasonably priced.
This is a great toy which is so timeless and appeals well to all of my children, from 2-6 years old. I do love wooden toys like this for encouraging imagination. Some young boys are not always drawn to imaginary play as a first choice, particularly if they have speech and language difficulties because that makes story telling quite hard. It is a really important skill though, because play is how children learn and it’s often through role play that they make sense of the world. So I am always keen to give my boys opportunities for this type of play. The Bigjigs wooden roadway is ideal because it draws them in with their familiar favourite – cars, and then offers so many opportunities to build on that with small world imaginary play that is centred around their interests.
The ability to link up with our existing railway sets via the signal box is really handy too, as it allows the children to get extra use out of their existing toys in a new way, which always sparks extra enthusiasm for that toy. This also means that the layout combinations that can be built is so varied! The boys love the challenge of building different tracks and layouts, with is another type of play that these sets offer. Building track layouts is great for their problem solving!
We’re very pleased with the Bigjigs roadway and would definitely recommend it. Especially if you have a toddler who is just starting to get interested in wooden railways and cars, this would be a brilliant buy because it would last them for years!
You might also be interested in our other Bigjigs reviews: