I’m not very keen or very good at writing reviews, but I thought I’d do a review of some of the products we are using this summer.  You’ve been warned, it probably won’t be a very good review.  My goal is to show you what the product contains, how it can be incorporated into a study of the Little House on the Prairie and whether it was worth buying in the first place.
This week I’ll be showing you the Little House Paper Dolls (the book you receive is in the left of the photo):

All the treasures to be found in one little book

All the treasures to be found in one little book

The book is about A4 size and contains push out cardboard dolls of each of the Ingall’s family.  They are, as you can see, dressed modestly rather than being naked, and being made of a card are likely to withstand a moderate amount of play.  The rest of the book contains sturdy paper (not card) dress up clothes and miscellaneous items, grouped together according to the occasions they would have been worn.  Each occasion, for example ‘doing the chores’, has a small paragraph giving information about the clothes as well as mentioning the jobs the Ingalls  might be doing.  I cut out these cards, to read to A4 before she played with them.  I have plans to use them as a sorting activity, where-by she will match the clothes to the activity/occasion.  Each item of clothes has to be cut out, which I did in an evening whilst watching a DVD.  Whilst the dolls could probably stand up to B2′s rough play, the clothes definitely couldn’t.  Within minutes they were crushed.  A4 was old enough to handle them carefully and fully understood how to operate them.  I would say they would be good for a child age 4 up, or slightly younger if mature enough.

The girls playing with their new set.

The girls playing with their new set.

The clothes are beautifully drawn and very attractive on.  A4 has loved dressing the dolls and undressing them.  Each doll has a standing frame, and for me this is the only thing that lets this product down.  They are simply not sturdy enough to do the job of standing the figures up over many play sessions.

T11 showing everyone how the standing frames work.  Even the older girls enjoyed playing with these.

T11 showing everyone how the standing frames work. Even the older girls enjoyed playing with these.

Included in the pack is a reversible scene, one side showing the house in the woods, the other showing the interior of the house.  These are made of sturdy cardboard and stand very well, as do the cot and table which come with it.  If the dolls stood as well this would have been a fantastic addition.  As it was the stands began to rip within a day of playing with them, rendering the cardboard scenes superfluous to requirement.  I think had I got to the stands before they ripped I could have strengthened them with tape.  Here is everything set up prior to the ripping:

The interior scene of the Little House

The interior scene of the Little House

Would I recommend them?  Yes, I would.  There’s a whole lot of very pleasant learning to be found inside this book.  I had bought them as a replica toy for A4 to play with during her quiet time.  She has quiet time for an hour and she has really enjoyed playing with them and they have captured her attention for the whole hour.  In addition one could play a matching game, matching the clothes to the occasion where they might be worn.  They are also a great starting point for chats about how dress has changed through the century and are also a great prompt to some very imaginative story making, even from my four year old.  I would recommend strengthening the stands using some see through tape or by laminating them.  Our plan is to keep them in a basket in our remodelled Little House, alongside other toys we will make, as a sort of ‘toy basket’.

All in all, they have been a great addition to this summer’s Little House project.

C10 has her first post up about clearing and painting our Little House