I’m embarrassed to be *so* late to the party with our latest Bigjigs review, but here it is – The Finger Puppet Theatre costing just £9.99.
Now I have to first point out that Willow is a teeny bit younger than the recommended 3+ age guidelines, but guidelines are not set in stone and we felt that this was more than suitable for her at 2 years 7 months. She is beyond the stage of trying to suck her toys, although she perhaps was a little more rough with this set than an older child would have been. I’ll come to that later.
As always, this little Bigjigs set is solid, simple and brightly coloured, making it feel like great quality overall. The stage was easy to put together, and I loved that the box wasn’t full of unnecessary packaging. The bits of wood slid out, slotted together and the whole thing was up in a matter of moments. Incidentally, we just got back from a holiday in Orlando and Willow was bought a Woody doll from Disney – no word of a lie, it took us a good twenty minutes to get him out of the box! Ridiculous, frustrating and wasteful. Shame on you Disney!
Whilst this particular toy is a bit more limited in terms of actual play – it really is all about the puppets, Willow also had a great time lining up the three included characters ready for action, placing them up on a perch above the ‘stage’ and sitting down for a good, old fashioned chat with them – Jester was particularly chatty it seems.
Now the only tiny ‘issue’ (not exactly much to write home about however) is that the bobbles on both the King’s crown and around the Jester’s neck came off with very little encouragement. Yes, Willow shouldn’t have pulled at them (and perhaps an older kid wouldn’t) but she was curious and I only turned away for a minute to find half of the bobbles on the floor. I’m not sure there is a way around this, other than to perhaps use stronger glue or change the design so they are not there in the first place. Either way, our little lady found those small round balls of colourful fluff too hard to resist!
If I wanted to be really picky I’d also suggest that the little loops (curtain ties) were probably unnecessary too, as they neither held the curtain back any more than the curtain held themselves back, nor did they want to stay in one place. This made them more frustrating than useful, although I do like the cuteness and attention to detail. It’s not that the toy was worse off by their existence; more that their existence didn’t add anything to the set – hence I think are a little superfluous.
Overall, Willow really took an interest in this little set and on our return from two weeks away this was actually the first toy she reached for and asked to play with. We made a great little stage by setting this up on the bench she sits on at the dining table, and our table also leant itself well as a den for Willow to hide in when she became upset with Jester for burning the cakes and ice cream!
This actually leads me to my final point – it’s wonderful to see Willow using her imagination and communication skills whilst playing, and this is something I think all Bigjigs toys encourage. There aren’t flashing lights or buttons that play annoying tunes over and over – these are simple, wooden toys that let our children decide how to play. Just brilliant!