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Fantastic Pretend Play - Playmobil Pools
Swimming pool sets can be the next best thing to real life
From age 4 through now at age 7 1/2, my daughter has loved playing with swimming pool playsets. She enjoys pools in real life, but when it is too cold or too rainy, entertaining action figures of people and animals in a play pool, especially with lots of cool accessories, is almost as fun. She'd love it in real life, but even as a plastic plaything, it's the centerpiece of her Playmobil people and animals' pretend world.
Here's what my daughter, BunnyJunior and I like most about this sweet pool set:
It's realistic and detailed. That's one of my favorite things about Playmobil toys; they capture children's interest and imagination because of the company's attention to detail. A toy doesn't just come with a couple of people, chairs and an umbrella, it also comes with a beach bag, sunscreen, towels and a book for the mom to read while she lounges, for crying out loud. Yes, fantasy worlds and imaginary creatures have their place in creative pretend play, but there is so much to be said for realistic toys. Because Playmobil has thought of the little details, children's imaginations have more tools to work with as they create stories and scenarios with their toys. I've overheard Bunny Junior play 'picnic at the pool' with her people, seen her dry them off with the little towels, and her people taking turns resting in the lounge chair.
It involves water. This feature might scream 'mess!' to some parents. I get it. We've soaked tons of towels cleaning up after the splashes from this pool. However, there's something kinda magical and appealing about water to young kids, so this is a toy where I really let BunnyJunior have at it and just wipe up afterwards. My favorite places for her to play with the pool are on tile floor, so she often sits on a bath mat in the bathroom to play. The Playmobil people drive their car from her room to the pool.
The potential for experimentation. The slide is just begging to be the centerpiece of casual experimentation. Which Playmobil person goes down the slide fastest? What about the toy food? What makes something get stuck on the slide? It wasn't long before BunnyJunior got her other toys coming over to play at the pool too. As a four year old, she experimented with what would float in the pool, and her plastic food (especially the waffles) became silly rafts for the playmobil people. Plastic animals got into the act, and soon we were figuring out which ones would go down the slide and trying to predict how fast they would go.
Sorting and organizing. There's quite a bit of potential for customization and finding patterns within the pool and its accessories. The teeny tiny flowers on the bushes and vines of the pool just beg to be sorted or organized. My niece would get them all color-coordinated while my daughter delights in mixing them up. The people's sandals can be coordinated with their bathing suit colors, as BunnyJunior discovered. We've utilized the people, sandals and other items for word math problems (i.e. 2 people were swimming in the pool; 3 more jumped in. Now how many are in the pool?) Yes, I know you can use most any toy for this purpose, but if your child is already into something, it makes sense to learn through it.
Compatibility with other Playmobil sets. It always adds to the fun to have other parts and accessories that work perfectly with what you already have. Playmobil does a wonderful job creating 'worlds' like this in my opinion.
Want a few options of sets that go along well with the pool? Here are our faves. There's also a smaller version of the pool that my friend's three kids (ages 9, 7 and 3) adore as well.
Large Pool with Slide
This was the first Playmobil pool set my daughter played with. It's been a staple in her pretend play world ever since. The shower really works when you press the blue pump, and it's easy to play with either filled with water or dry.
Here's a smaller version of the pool, in case you want to do some water playing on a budget.
This was the first Playmobil set BunnyJunior ever received, and it's a winner for pretending both in and out of the water. You can also get a motor (sold separately), but it's loads of fun even without the motor. Our favorite feature? The great compartments in the boat to store gear. Just like a real speedboat.
A four year old demonstrates the pool set's working shower and slide