Stories are wonderful things. They can transport you to a different time, a different place, a different world. I’ve always loved stories. When I was a child I had a few different Sylvanian Families sets, I had the canal boat, the treehouse and the restaurant. I would spend hours upon hours playing with the little figures in their different settings. I think that is where my creative flare sparked, through being given the space to create my own worlds… my own stories. When it came to Bear’s third birthday I decided to buy him the Sylvanian Cosy Cottage Starter Home, so he could begin his own journey of make believe.
If you haven’t come across Sylvanian Families before, they are animal figure playsets. The beauty of them is that the sets allow open ended play, meaning that how the sets are played with are left completely up to the children.
The Sylvanian Cosy Cottage Starter Home is such a great first set for a new Sylvanian Families collection and perfect for testing the water. The Cosy Cottage Starter Home comes with; one Sylvanian rabbit figure, a kitchen cabinet (complete with sink, hob and cooker), a frying pan, food, plate, a bed with covers, a dining table, two chairs, a bench and ladders. The upstairs level has two sides, one side is floorboards and the other is grass. This upper level can be detached and moved to the back of the house to create a garden.
I’ve seen a lot recently about how Sylvanian Families are very much set on a ‘nuclear family’. Usually there is a mum, a dad and children, which personally I feel is a slightly dated idea of the term ‘family’. I would love to see the sets become more diverse with families consisting of differing family units. That said, there is a lot of scope to mix things up. When I bought the Cosy Cottage Starter Home for Bear, I also bought some baby figures and a second family. Bear was also given my old Sylvanian families sets, which included a school tree house and a canal boat. Now when we play with the sets the rabbit that comes with the Cosy Cottage Starter Home set is a single mum that goes to work, while her friend looks after the children for her at the tree house daycare / school centre.
One of the things I love about sets like this is how they can be used alongside other toys. Bear created a story yesterday where a pirate from his wooden pirate ship came to visit for dinner and last week the Sylvanians went for a day out on the Fat Controllers railway. It is really amazing watching Bear’s imagination growing and seeing him creating his own little stories. Perhaps this is his spark for a love of stories.