Planet Play CubesSpring 2016 Toys
HABA's Planet Play Cubes are cleverly designed, well-made and well-priced. Compact, portable, light-weight, self-storing, these cubes beckon. The children enjoyed mastering how to fold and unfold the cubes, sparking a discussion on cubes and what else they could find that were the same shape (blocks in the room, ice cubes). And then came the play.
The Land of Fairies set cube unfolds into a sweetly illustrated outdoor setting with trees, flowers, mushrooms, a sleeping mouse and a waterfall. The set includes three wooden figures: a squirrel, a unicorn, and a fairy. And because each is painted to show both its front and back, we talked about what the back of their clothes looked like, what their hair looked like from the back, prompting a discussion about observation skills. Discussions followed about unicorns, fairies, forest animals, and the other illustrations. The cube can be fully or partially opened/folded, with or without the waterfall showing. When it was partially folded, one room became a house for the animals to sleep in, while the fairy went hunting for food. To extend the play, our children added additional small animals and plastic insects. The children asked to go outside to find small rocks, acorns and grass to use for food for the animals. Tissues became blankets.
My Little Town provides even more choices for play; one side is printed with buildings and a road through town, the other a race track with a pit crew, spectators and a satellite TV truck. Two wooden cars and one traffic light are included. Here too, each side is painted differently: one side of the bus/taxi has a female driver, a mustached passenger and a man who could be shaving, growing a beard, or splashed with milk from his latte. One side of the traffic light featured a red light, the other a green. And the red car has a man with his green-sleeved arm hanging out of the widow, and the other side, the woman's hair is blowing in the breeze. Yes, we talked about it all. Our player/testers talked about stores, signs, vehicles, houses, a helicopter pad, traffic lights, broken white lines in the middle of the street, crosswalks, concession stand, checkered flags, and much, much more. We learned about neighborhoods, occupations, gas prices, cleaning up after pets, and played out scenarios involving all.