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

Wonderhood Pet Place - creative building set

Wonderhood Pet Place - creative building set

Fall 2017 Toys
Ages: 5 & Up
Manufacturer: Wonderhood LLC

Wonderhood's full-service pet center puts young architects at the buildings core. The set includes 12 double-sided illustrated, washable plastic building panels and 18 clips to secure them, an activity journal, a dog, a rabbit, a pony-tailed figurine and a spinning "hamster" exercise wheel.

Izzy's Activity Journal starts things off with a quick meet and greet read. The three building tips are practical, the five design challenges are inspiring catalysts for young builders. Two challenge examples: A fundraiser is approaching. Can you design PetPlace so that the pet supplies and groomers can be seen by passersby? And, the animals on the exercise wheel may be having fun, but they're making a lot of noise! Can you design PetPlace so that the clinic and the exercise wheel are far apart?

Deep thought and great conversation helped the young, architectural minds decide whether to build a row of shops, a two-story animal hotel, or individual units, mixing, matching, and reevaluating their initial plans. In addition to (pardon the wordplay) building creativity, our testers took on role playing, improved vocabulary, practiced math (prices of items to be sold in the stores) and asked to learn more about what pets eat and how to groom them.

As clever as the exercise wheel is, it isn't made to scale. It spins too fast (animals fly off), and it's a bit heavy when placed on the second floor. That's our next design challenge, and our only concern.

Kathy Smith   ©2017 Parents' Choice
Kathy Smith has been leading preschool classes through playful learning for more than 25 years. Her tales of "Who is messier, 'Miss Kathy' or the children?" is a comedy act in the making. Family friendly, of course.

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