To the Rescue! is the fire station playset from HABA’s My First Play World: The City line of wooden story play toys.
To the Rescue! is designed for ages one-and-a-half and up and is a great way for even small children to make up stories and have “action figures with accessories” that aren’t also choking hazards. The box itself doubles as a carrying case and is filled with a bunch of cool pieces–a fire truck, three fires (blazing and put out on opposite sides), a kitten, a ladder, two firefighters (one with and one without hose), a fire hydrant, an axe, a pail, a fire extinguisher, and a hose. The hose plugs into the hydrant, truck, and firefighter.
Obviously, this is a playset. You can hand it to your kids and let them go to town all on their own, and this set is wonderful for just that. My son loved all the different components, especially hooking up the house and putting out fires. But HABA isn’t content to just put out wooden play toys. They also want to increase the opportunities for learning while playing and give parents several other ways to engage with their children and the playset.
To the Rescue! comes with a booklet that includes instructions for three different ways to increase the value of the playset. The first is “listen-carefully assignments.” There is a suggested layout for all of the pieces and then story prompts with instructions for your little one to follow. For example, “Walk firefighter Max to the front door of the fire engine” or “Place the ladder next to the tree.” This mode of play focuses on careful listening, concentration, spatial perception, and following simple instructions.
The second mode is “play story.” This is a great way to use these types of toys that I’d never considered. Essentially, you read the provided story (or make up your own) while your child reenacts it with the toys. I like to think of this as an introduction to puppetry or stop-motion animation!
The last mode of play is called “look closely assignments.” At first glance I didn’t notice just how much detail is in the carrying case itself, but it really lends itself to all sorts of fun activities–making up stories about what’s going on, searching for specific items and details, recognizing and naming things and colors, and counting things (up to 12).
Although my son is a little older than the targeted age for To the Rescue!, he still enjoyed playing with the components and the fire station and making up stories about them with me. We’ll definitely by saving this one for our next little one.
Note: I received a copy of this game for review purposes but all thoughts and opinions above are my own.