As part of their new summer toy collection, Playmobil has come out with a fun and detailed playset, the Summer House (though I’ve also seen it called the Sunshine Home or the Vacation Summer House – in any case, it is #4857). Also newly out are Pool with Water Slide (4858), Family Motorhome (4859), Girl with Swimming Ring (4860), Woman in Hammock (4861), Family Speedboat (4862), Beach Buggy (4863), and Paddling Pool (4864).
To get this set ready for play, there is quite a lot of assembly. I’m not sure why I was surprised, since we also have a Playmobil castle playset, which also required much assembly. By comparison, though, my Playmobil cowboy set from the 1970s had zero assembly; it just had people, horses, and a variety of cowboy camping pieces to play with. It’s interesting to see how things have changed in 30+ years. As Lego has moved more into playsets and away from basic, free-form sets, Playmobil has developed sets that require assembly. It is hard for me to compare Lego and Playmobil, as they speak to different sides of my personality. But you don’t have to pick sides; they are both fantastic.
But back to the Summer House! Though there is a lot of assembly to do, the pieces used to hold everything together only come in two different types, and both use the same special tool. Though it does take some amount of force to get the connectors where they need to be, my seven year old son was even able to do it. Getting to put the house together yourself made it feel like a diminutive, old fashioned barn raising.
The hardest part of assembly for me was actually putting on the stickers. The set includes a few stickers for things like bathroom tile, a clock, a frying pan, and wall elements. Getting them lined up just right is a skill I apparently don’t possess. But at least the stickers’ jaunty angles make the house unique.
As soon as you start opening the bags inside the Summer House box, I highly recommend that you get a medium-sized container to hold all of the small pieces that come with this set. Some of them are itty bitty, such as the toothbrushes. There is also food, dishes, utensils, cups, toothpaste, and other wee items. The set does include two nice drawers in the kitchen area to store small things. I found them to be large enough for all of the food, but not for all the small items.
There are many different areas in which to play in the playset. There is a kitchen/dining area, a bathroom, an upstairs loft bedroom, and a nice covered outdoor area. There are all the elements of a regular house. Though there is a certain kind of greenery around the house, it would be easy enough to pretend that the house was situated at the beach, in the mountains, deep in the forest, or at a lake.
Now that the house is together, I the kids get to play with the people, the little dishes and foods, the little toothbrushes, and even the “metal” tongs for the outdoor grill. The Playmobil family can take a bike ride, sleep, or relax outside. And who knows, maybe the farmer (from our existing bounty of Playmobil toys) will drive by in his wagon delivering food. Or the Summer House family will go camping with our camping set (which sadly came sans family).
Playmobil makes some really wonderful toys. I’ve been a fan of theirs since I was a kid. I’ve reviewed their advent calendars, and The Secret of Pirate Island interactive DVD. They also carry many themed sets including African Wildlife, Pirates, Farm, Police, Dragon Land, Egyptians, Construction, Transport, Magic Castle, Christmas, some sets for preschoolers, and many more.
The Playmobil Summer House retails for $59.99. It contains a large number of pieces, and is a great play house. Anyone who likes playing with their Playmobil in a kind of setting or context will get a lot of use out of this toy.
Note: I received this play set for review purposes.