Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Jinja’s House

Jinja’s House

Fall 2016 Toys
Ages: 3 & Up
Manufacturer: Sago Mini
Price: $29.99

Yes, we've seen plenty of portable playhouses. But few with the charm of Jinja's. We've seen an abundance of playthings built around/upon TV characters and TV characters as a springboard for mobile apps. And we've seen digital playthings spawn a line of physical playthings. But none with the warmth and appeal of Sago Mini's Jinja's House.

The design of the fold-and-carry playhouse is clever and fun; the illustrations are delightful. The fabric-hinged panels unveil a kitchen, a hallway, a living room and a bedroom. One flap opens to reveal a bathroom, another the contents of the fridge. The colorful flip side perspective shows the exterior, complete with a neatly wound garden hose, a scooter, an apple tree and shrubs. A functioning door has a mail slot - to send or receive the mini letter and postcards included in the playset. The sample thank you notes are an inspired touch

In our testing, the accessories packaging sparked conversations about packing and moving. And new schools and new friends. Once unpacked, the whimsical characters (Jinja and Rosie) shared a meal, climbed a ladder to a sleeping loft, and arrived via slide to check on the mail. The children invented stories and talked about building a house and how long it would take to grow an apple tree in their yard, and if they could have a pet squirrel and feed it pizza.

Claire Green   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Claire is president of Parents' Choice Foundation and cofounder of Sandbox Summit®. She looks for toys and media that will unleash children's interests, and celebrate the fun of learning.

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