Saturday, 29 September 2018

Faith and Trust and Pixie Dust...

Ever since Honey first saw the advert for My Fairy Garden on kids TV a couple of years ago, she has spoken about them constantly (ok, I exaggerate, but sometimes it feels like that's the case). I knew she would be over the moon to receive one of her very own, so I held on to it for a few days after the parcel arrived, to make sure we had the time to put it all together there and then!

Needless to say, Honey couldn't believe her luck and was ecstatic to receive such a fabulous gift. I explained that we would have to test the Fairy Garden and let other children know all about it, which she took very seriously and nattered the whole time about ideas for this post. Honey and I spent a (mostly) happy hour putting it all together, she definitely needed some adult help as some parts feel a bit brittle and Honey can be heavy handed so would have broken them without intervention.

As a primary school teacher, it's hard to let go of searching out the educational value of a toy coming into the house, but when I was offered the chance to review the Fairy Light Garden, I googled Interplay and the first thing I read was 'STEM toys' which was positive! While we put the garden together, lots of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) chat naturally occurred. We discussed 2D and 3D shapes, symmetry and the seed growing process. Honey commented that the soil pilfered from our solitary plant in the garden was cold and probably needed some water to soften it so the seeds would be able to bed in. She also reminded me when we needed to water the seeds (I needed reminding, I cannot keep plants or flowers alive to save my life). After a few days, the grass hadn't started to grow, so we had another conversation about why that might be and what we could do to encourage growth and together, we decided to move the garden to a sunnier location. Bingo, grass shoots!

Growth Mindset is a huge deal in education at the moment and putting the kit together required plenty of perseverance and resilience on Honey's part. She was keen to get on, so didn't read the instructions at first and accidentally connected a couple of pieces incorrectly. This annoyed her, but after a little pep talk, she went back to the drawing board (instruction booklet) and tried again. She also put her fine motor skills to the test by tying knots, peeling stickers and folding the bunting. The age guide states 'for ages 4+'. Honey turned 5 in May and has just started year 1, so I'd say the the age advice is accurate, if your children will be supported by an adult. 

Once she had finished laying the gravel path, assembling and attaching the bridge and sprinkling the fairy dust, Honey was really chuffed with what she had created. She loved the sounds and once she got the hang of how to turn it on and off (blow like a candle), the light was a hit too. 

What you will need to be able to put together the Fairy Light Garden:
A pair of scissors to aid unpacking.
A small cross head screwdriver.
2AAA batteries.
Some soil or compost.
Roughly a tablespoon of water.

The Fairy Garden would be even better if...
The toadstool house was secured on top of decking. At the moment, it is really easy to take off and play with separately but it slides around if they try to play with it in place. Perhaps velcro or a clip could be used so you still have the option of removing the house.

The manufacturers used less packaging. The kit came packaged in lots of different plastic bags, most of which could have been avoided, as the first thing Honey wanted to do was spread all the pieces out on the table so they ended up jumbled together anyway! 

Overall, the Fairy Light Garden is a hit in this house. I am happy with the balance of traditionally educational and free play opportunities the garden opens up and Honey is thrilled to own a much longed for toy. Even Ace asks to put the nightlight on when I put him to bed, which is super cute! The Fairy Light Garden is available from Interplay UK Ltd and while its not exactly a pocket money toy (this set retails at £29.99), I would definitely purchase it as a Christmas or birthday present. 

Honey wears... Rainbow sweatshirt from Next 

*Although we were kindly gifted this product in order to write a review, all thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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