It is Thanksgiving week-end in Canada and you can’t help but think that Christmas is just around the corner. With Christmas coming, it is the perfect time of the year to seriously think about the gifts you might want to give to your kids, nieces and nephews. I was recently approached to review a new prodcut by a company called Build & Imagine. Laurie Peterson, an award-winning toy designer and mother, founded Build & Imagine after noticing that the kinds of play experiences she enjoyed as a child (involving building, creativity, and experimentation) were poorly represented in the girls’ section of most toy stores. She now develops magnetic building toys with leading female characters and rich narrative details to engage both girls and boys. The company got its jumpstart with a successful Kickstarter project, and will have five themed building sets available this fall.
About the product
If she builds it, she will play … and add an important “A” for art to the vital fields of a STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and math). That’s the mission behind Build & Imagine, an empowering toy line for youngsters ages 4 and up that starts them on a road to innovation. These magnetic construction sets are packed with foundational STEAM learning yet are enchanting for endless hours of imaginative play.
Each Build & Imagine StoryWalls play-set is made of colorfully illustrated magnetic panels that a child joins together any way she likes. The result is a scene that she brings to life with the enclosed dress-up dolls and more than 40 magnetic costumes and props. The illustrated details act as story starters, sparking imaginative play. The sets have received numerous awards from the Toy industry experts including Dr. Toy, Parents’ Choice, The National Parenting Center, Mr. Dad and many others.
Essentially, Build & Imagine sets put the child in the role of architect and storyteller, and offers adventurous leading female characters. The company makes three sets: Malia’s Beach House, Marine Rescue Center, and Day At The Beach. You can also purchase the whole Coastal Community Collection in one shot if you prefer.
I have received the Malia’s Beach House to review. I wasn’t sure how the product would be looking and wondered of the quality of it while I waited for the delivery.
The first thing I did when I received the box was to discover the packaging. I was immediately impressed with the attention done in putting the pieces together inside the box. First of all the box was sturdy and easy to open. Then all the pieces were neatly stacked in a special tray which can also be used to store the pieces. You will find all the pieces necessary to play with Malia and her friend Tyler and build the amazing beach house.
The pieces will allow your child to build a fun beach house using the magnetic pieces. Each wall and floor will connect to each other because of the magnetic part included on the site of each of them. Malia and her friend as well as the walls and floors are made of wood pieces that are covered with bright images. Now the girls of the story wears underwear but that is because sticks accessories are included in the packaging for your child to change the way the dress. The only part that I find a bit more fragile would be the magnetic pieces. Part of me would prefer them to be a bit more ticker. Because of this, I would suggest that a child ages 6-8 would be more careful to use it.
I find that the Malia’s Beach House (and the other sets available at Build & Imagine) are perfect to enhance the storytelling skills in your daughter. Pretend play is important to develop skills of interaction and cooperation. Having two characters in Malia’s Beach House makes it possible for your girl to have a friend to play with her while inventing adventure stories for Malia and her friend Tyler. Mind you, your child can even decide to rename the dolls… The bright colors and the playful setting will provide perfect creativity during quiet time or anywhere you travel because this can easily be all stored in a small plastic container to bring on vacation, the cottage, the RV, the grand-parents, or the beach for fun playing time.
If you are looking for quality in a toy, I think you won’t be disappointed with Malia’s Beach House. The sturdy pieces will make playing last longer. And it is a different kind of building system especially designed for girls which makes things even more interested. It is a well-known fact that girls are more creative when it comes to storytelling and this set will allow a girl to develop even more skills and creativity in her stories. I sure hope that Build & Imagine will also develop a line for boys so that they can also go on adventures like camping in the woods and hiking in a mountain, a fire station or police station, a farm and so on. Mind you these ideas could also be done for girls sets as well…
And to complete the experience of playing with Malia’s Beach House, you can go to the website of Build & Imagine to download a digital story book when you sign up for their email list. Note that these sets are not recommended for children under the age of 3. Also two new building activity sets are scheduled to be available in October – the Fairytale Theatre and the Pet Portrait Studio.
Malia’s Beach House and the other sets available at Build & Imagine are perfect for this coming Christmas season as well as for birthday ideas.
Malia’s Beach House is available for purchase at amazon.ca.
The two other sets are also available for purchase on amazon.ca.
The three sets are available for purchase on amazon.com as well.
Disclaimer: I received the product for review purposes from KidStuff PR and Build & Imagine. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.