Reviewed by Melody Floyde
As Christmas is rapidly approaching, and I am rapidly running out of new ideas for gifts, I was really pleased to be asked to review two new products from Milly & Flynn which could be ideal Christmas presents for children. My two sons aged 8 and 5 were very happy to help me test them and couldn’t wait to get stuck in.
Firstly, we tried the Puzzle & Grow Treehouse Set (RRP: £12.99) which is a lovely set comprising a 3D model garden with a treehouse to build and seeds to plant in the garden once it is constructed so that children can grow their own garden. The set is aimed at children age 5+ and both my boys were eager to put the garden together. The box was brightly coloured with a photo of the finished product, so that we knew what we were aiming for. I liked the fact that the box was fairly compact so would be easy to wrap up and send as a Christmas gift.
Inside the box there were four sheets of puzzle pieces that needed to be pushed out, with the help of a plastic assembly tool for the fiddly bits, before we could start constructing. There were also two packets of seeds, a small watering bottle, a plastic planting tray and an instruction booklet which also doubled as a planting diary.
It was very easy to pop all the puzzle pieces out and, as all the pieces were numbered, it was very easy to see where they all needed to go and how they fitted together. My 8-year-old son got stuck in and the treehouse and garden rapidly started to take shape. We did find that it was quite fiddly to get some of the pieces to fit together, and a couple of pieces broke as we were trying to bend them to fit together, but this didn’t seem to affect the final product as we ended up with a fairly impressive model garden and treehouse, including a gardener, squirrel, dog and welcome sign. There were even little steps up to the garden.
Next, we had to plant the seeds. The kit didn’t include the planting materials, but we used some cotton wool for this. The instructions said that we could also have used compost or soil, but I thought that might be a bit messy. Once the seeds were scattered, we used the water bottle to wet them and then placed them on our kitchen windowsill to wait for the red radish plants to grow. As it’s still early days nothing has grown yet, but my 5-year-old son has been eagerly checking the garden regularly and making a note in the planting diary of anything that happens!
This set retails for £12.99 (currently on offer for £9.99) and is available from Amazon. There are also a Farm and Windmill set available which look just as cute.
This would make a lovely Christmas gift for a child, and is fun to make and educational. There are two packets of seeds provided, so once the garden has finished growing, you can empty it out and start all over again which is an added bonus and means that the gift will last for a little longer.
I would give the Puzzle & Grow Treehouse Set a score of 4.5/5, marked slightly down for the pieces being a bit tricky to push together and not as robust as they might need to be for small children, but overall, we loved this set.
The second item we tried was the 3D Foam Puzzle Lion (RRP: £7.99). This is aimed at children aged 5+ and is a set with all they need to build their own 3D model lion.
The set consists of a number of sheets of foam shapes, which once pushed out, are put together to make the lion. There were 20 foam pieces in total and the box told us that we could make our lion in 15 simple steps, which were shown in pictures on the back of the box. The kit is designed to help children with their creativity, shape recognition and hand-eye coordination and, as my 5-year-old son is already great with building with LEGO, I was confident he would tackle the lion with gusto! In reality it was slightly trickier than the box had suggested, and the pictures weren’t that clear at showing us how to put the pieces together – maybe breaking the steps down into more than 15 might help. My son struggled with this, so I stepped in to help, and once I managed to work out which pieces he needed he was able to push them together. In the end we were very pleased with our joint effort at making a really cool lion model which he has called Leo and is now taking pride of place on display in his bedroom.
The lion is one of five different sets available, there are also a giraffe, elephant, crocodile and a panda, and retails at £7.99. It is available from Amazon and is currently on offer for £6.99.
This is great value for money and would make a great Christmas gift for a child, perhaps even as a stocking filler. I think my son would be very happy to receive any of the other animals, and hopefully if he was a bit older, he would be able to make them on his own.
I would give this product 4/5 – marked down because of the slightly confusing instructions which make it very difficult for a 5-year-old to make the lion without adult help.