Fisher-Price Little People Big Animal Zoo reviewed by Angela Burt, mum of a 3-year-old and 16-month-old.
Thankfully the packaging was easy to remove as I had two little ones eagerly waiting for the fun to begin. After I opened the package, I was pleasantly surprised that the toy was already assembled with working batteries.
We are big fans of Little People and have quite a collection. The Big Animal Zoo looks impressive from the outside and it does not disappoint. It was almost like receiving two separate toys; the zoo enclosure and the elephant. Little Miss Three spent most time playing with the zoo and figurines, while her brother, who is 16 months old, was more interested in the elephant. The set also comes with three figures; Mia, the Zoo Keeper and monkey, a connecting fence and animal food.
The zoo enclosure features a swing, sea-saw and a slide to serve food to the elephant. These interactive features bring an element of fun. There is also a hose, measuring stick, scale and eye chart that encourage little ones to clean, measure, weigh and care for the animals. Miss Three and I had some interesting conversations about measuring height and weight and conducting an eye test. When she was playing with the toy alone, she had turned the Zookeeper's tool section into a bed and Mia and the Zookeeper were having a sleep. This shows that the toy encourages both thinking and creating.
For the elephant, the best feature is the catchy little tune that plays when you press the mouse button. My little man smiled every time he heard it. Upon first play it appeared that the elephant played music when you push the prominent mouse button. After reading the box I also discovered that you can pull the tail and move the head for extra sounds. Little Miss Three found it a bit difficult to move the head and became a bit frustrated when it wouldn't sneeze for her. I'm sure that with a bit of practice, she will get the hang of it.
Little man was particularly interested in the moving trunk and was soon making very loud elephant noises while lifting it in the air.
In terms of age range, Fisher-Price is correct in saying that it is appropriate for 1 -5 year olds. However, to get the most usage out of both toys I would recommend purchasing this toy for 2-5 year olds. The level of language required to understand the jobs performed by a Zookeeper is quite advanced. While the durability of the toy, which was tested by my 16 month old, showed that it is still suitable for a one year old, he did not engage with the zoo enclosure except for picking it up and carrying it around.
Overall, I think this toy is great simply because it will grow with your child. Your one-year-old will enjoy the sounds and music played by the elephant. Your two year old will love rolling the food down to the elephant and your preschooler will enjoy learning about being a Zookeeper. One of the biggest strengths of this toy is that the zoo enclosure and elephant can be played with separately, or together, which makes it a good toy for siblings.
Fisher-Price has managed to create yet another wonderful Little People play set – we give it 4 out of 5 stars.