Educational Play the Schleich Way
For those who haven’t heard of Schleich, they make all sorts of toy figurines and playsets for children – but we’ve always loved their animals. They’re the sort of toys that can be played with by any child regardless of ability or age, or even language – and they require no instruction manual.
We were sent four Schleich animals for S to review: a pig; a tiger; a cow and a giraffe.
S loves them and makes up all sorts of bonkers four-year-old scenarios for them to get involved in… like a giraffe getting a piggy back from a tiger, for example! I love that they don’t come with instructions or anything else; there’s nothing to limit the imagination when it comes to playing with them. Although they don’t come with instructions, Schleich toys are known for being as realistic as possible so as S grows and learns, she’ll learn about how these animals really look, rather than seeing cartoons and cuddly animals.
The Schleich pre-school collection comes with a brochure to introduce the toys and give some ideas. It explains the different types of play children can take part in, and why they need each one. Child psychologist Dr Amanda Gummer gives comments throughout the brochure to explain the importance of play. It’s great for encouraging children to get into imaginative play if they’re struggling a little.
The range of animals is great for introducing children to all the different animals they might see at a farm, a zoo or an aquarium. For example, lots of young children often confuse lions, tigers, cheetahs etc because they look quite similar – but having a realistic model of each of them in front of you allows you to spot the clear differences between them.
I love the ideas presented throughout the brochure; there are lots of ideas I wouldn’t have thought of, which allow me to join in with S’s imaginative play (when she lets me!)
The models of animals in the picture do really look realistic. I think it is a good idea to get kids to have actual miniature physical models of similar looking animals such as the cheetah and the leopard as well as others in order to be able to distinguish between them. Reminds me of these animal coloring worksheets I used for my daughter about two years ago to make her familiar with animals. My daughter has two favorite stuffed toys - a blue bunny rabbit and a brown puppy dog with drooping ears - and she's forever playing with them, talking to them and weaving imaginary stories with them! I think we will have more stories to add to her ever-growing repertoire this way...