Miniature Settings
Ready Made or Ready to Build for Dramatic Play
Tags: minitature settings, pretend play, construction sets
Posted: 2013-10-08 12:08:35 By: Joanne Oppenheim

 


 

 


2013 Award
All Season Doll House
(HaPe $199.99 Score: )

Our testers really loved this multi-leveled home with a balcony and solar panels. We recommend buying it with furnished (includes bed, living room furniture, kitchen appliances, a toliet, bath and shower and even a flat screen tv!). The design of the house is very open (including from the sides of the structure) making it easily accessible to younger kids. While we had some trouble putting this together, our testing family (more adept with a screwdriver) had no complaints in getting it all level. It has a more modern feel to it than many traditional dollhouses.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 


2013 Award
Fairview Manor Dollhouse
(Big Jigs $184 Score: )

Players have full access to all the rooms of this splendid painted dollhouse. No decorator needed since it comes fully furnished with lovely painted furniture for every room plus a play family, including an oddly old-fashioned white haired granny and gramps. The staircase has a turned landing that took some figuring out and there is a back door that slides, but not too easily. This is one of those memorable play settings that will get long-term use.  3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 

 
2013 Awards
Hape City Parking Garage
(Hape $99 Score: )

A handsome wooden parking garage with working elevator to lift vehicles up to the two level garage with ramps for coming down. Comes with three small vehicles and has a heliport with little helicopter up on top. This is larger than the older garage from Hape. There are miles of pretend play waiting to happen. Great for developing pretend stories

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 


2013 Award
International Playthings Calico Critters Supermarket
(International Playthings $60 Score: )

Our brother/ sister tester team really loved all the details in this super elaborate supermarket. They spent hours putting the merchandise on display and then hours more playing pretend games. It comes with over 100 pieces including fruits, vegetables, bread, fish, canned food, drinks, cookies, ice cream, shopping cart, check-out counter with cash register, display stands, and more. However, like other sets in this collection, it does not come with critters, though they are shown on the packaging. So, be sure to add some critters for their dramatic play. Marked 3 & up, but we think older children will appreciate all the tiny pieces even more. Our testers were 6 & 8 and not too old for these settings.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 


2013 Award
Calico Critters Adventure Tree House
(International Playthings $70 Score: )

Get your critters ready for real adventure in this three level tree house with a two-story slide, a cabin on top, and ladders for getting up and down. There is a swing big enough for two to share as well as a bucket on a pulley for getting supplies up and down with ease. There is plenty of room inside for cozy living. You can combine this setting with the Lakeside Lodge vacation house. Like all settings in this line, the animals and furniture pictured on the packaging are not included in the set, but sold separately.

Our tester loved the little log cabin playhouse that is on the top of the tree house and the slide. She also likes the pulley for transporting small treasures to the different levels of the tree house.  The only negative comment was that the swing comes off the branch easily. This experienced 6 year old Calico Critters fan, incorporated her Tree House into her other settings to create a village.  Her mom noted that she would recommend Calico Critters to other parents because the line has lasting play appeal. 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 


2013 Award
Neat-Oh Hot Wheels Crash Racer Backpack
(Neat-Oh $20 Score: )

A small backpack that is shaped like a racing car and unzips to become a race track. This is not a backpack for carrying lots of school books and such. It is more like a fun carry along to a play date. It comes in several color choices and with one hot wheels racing car to use on the small ramp. 3 & up

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2013 Award
LEGO Creator Family House
(Lego Systems, Inc. $74.99 Score: )

A gender free house that can be built as a modern Mediterranean villa, a classic family home, or turned into a factory. There are 756 pieces and clear instructions for building and rebuilding this versatile set. Testers loved the working light brick that illuminates the interior with a golden glow. Depending on the site, kids can choose to build a variety of accessories such as a pool, BBQ, or delivery van. 8-12.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 


2013 Award
Playmobil Large Furnished Hotel
(Playmobil $164 Score: )

A clever alternative to a traditional dollhouse, this large hotel has a grand lobby with check-in counter and a working elevator. There are two rooms upstairs, open the doors with key cards. The rooms include crib for baby, beds, chairs, side tables, phone, TV, and bathrooms with shower and toilet. Hungry? Go to the cafe where a waiter will provide you with all you need. Ready for a game? Try the playroom with lots of mini toys. The set includes, eight figures, luggage, food, dishes, and all the accessories you need for setting up a grand resort. 4 & up

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 
Products for Infants
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Products for Preschoolers
Products for Early School Years
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