This post is coming quite a bit later than I’d normally want it and that, for the most part, has been down to having a poor, poorly little boy who’s been waking a lot during the night. I mostly blog in the evenings so when he’s having disturbed sleep it’s difficult to settle down to blogging because I’ve always got one ear out listening for noises from him.
When our BigJigs post arrived, last week, Ethan was really feeling very run down and snuggling up on the sofa watching dvds for the most part. When the delivery arrived, though, it was so exciting that he got out of his nest of blankets and just had to help me get it out of the box and get it all set up! That’s just how exciting BigJigs are in this house!
As always the packaging for the set was wonderful, no unnecessary plastic, mostly recyclable materials and no excessive packaging when basic tissue paper and cardboard was more than enough!
When we tore open the box and were greeted with the name ‘Figure of Eight Roadway’* I’m not sure who was more excited; me or Ethan. He’s big on vehicles, he was barely talking when he could differentiate the engine sounds from a motor bike and a car, from a van to a lorry – If it has wheels he’s probably a fan.
As such, if you’ve seen some of our previous posts, we have a Lot of wooden train track (most of it BigJigs pieces either bought ourselves or things we’ve received via the PlayPatrol) but we’d not yet ventured into the realms of the ‘Roadway’ sets.
I’ve said it before and I’m bound to say it again but BigJigs are just amazing when it comes to attention to detail, to those little finishing touches – When you get this set you don’t just get a road you get a whole little village with houses, shops, people, trees and road signs, not to mention three different coloured cars which are fantastic in their simplicity.
Even with the poorly my little munchkin just couldn’t wait to get started setting it all up. The road pieces are really nice and big and are well made and nicely painted; the sort of quality I’m used to with BigJigs now.
The set comes with a little map of how the pieces fit together to get the figure of eight shape which makes it a little more complicated than the train tracks as you can just let go with the creativity with those. The good thing about that, though, is that it’s going to be a great learning curve for my little guy, having us showing and teaching himself the way in which to set it all up to get the correct shape. He may be a little young for it now but he still gets plenty of learning out of it as, despite being quite dexterous already, he still gets very frustrated when he can’t get two pieces to link so we’re always happy for him to have something new to help him practice that and hone those dexterity skills (and to try and teach him to stay calm and not just bash them as hard as possible when they don’t do what he wants – Thank goodness for BigJigs’ quality!)
Once Mummy showed him how to get the road set up in the right way Ethan really enjoyed deciding where to place all of the little houses and people – He made himself a little village which I thought fit really nicely in the loop of that eight. There’s definite space for creativity and imagination within this set even if the actual roadway itself is quite fixed in its structure.
An extra little detail which I liked with the additional pieces was the way in which the roofs of the buildings had the potential for shape and colour matching. As you can see there are red and blue roofs of the same shape to fit with the corresponding houses and then there’s the grey/brown roof for the bank which has grey paintwork and then a further, different shaped roof for the supermarket which has blue signs. It’s little details like this that I love about the company – It’s not something that may seem to matter in a lot of ways but when you consider the learning of the child, it gives such potential. I like this feature as it means that if you have a littler one playing with the set you can get in some colour practice with them ‘Which roof goes with which building’ – Learning as they play is something I think BigJigs incorporates into most of their toys in various different ways and I just love it.
As if there wasn’t, already, enough little details to pick out, I’ve got one last one for you. There’s two traffic lights in the set, one set to red and one to green which offers great possibilities for teaching your little one road safety. Ethan’s been very aware of red and green lights for a long time as he just loves car journeys (He even tries to tell Grandma how to drive, when to stop, when to go, which way to turn the wheel, I kid you not!) so this is a feature he really likes. And, being a child who’s not afraid of taking a train off one track and magically flying it to another, he has the cutest way of playing with these – He’ll stop his car at the red light and then physically pick up the two sets of lights and swap them so that his car has a green for ‘gogogo!’
As always it’s details galore for this set. If you want the basics then it’s fantastically made and it’s great fun – Despite being poorly Ethan asked for it out every day – The quality is amazing and it’s easy to set up. It might be nice if the pieces were double sided but there’s still plenty that can be done without that – Who says that the roads need to be completely connected, Ethan has made plenty of roads which just have a dead-end, his cars love a good 360 degree turn.
And just look at the fun we had once Ethan was all better! At the weekend, when Daddy Azii was home with us, Ethan was built this phenomenal road and track hybrid which he enjoyed no end!
As if that wasn’t enough… BigJigs have a fantastic range of pieces and sets which incorporate being able to link the rail and road tracks – Take a look at their website to see the ranges – http://www.bigjigstoys.co.uk/ – If you already have some wooden track, or if you already have roadway pieces then it’s very easy to expand to get bits to interlink the two. (In fact a Very lucky boy is getting a rather massive set of BigJigs train and roadway pieces for Christmas which is going to bring his track and road building to a whole other level!)
*As you know, the products sent to me from BigJigs through the Play patrol are sent for the purposes of review – But, of course, my reviews are totally honest.