|Schmoo & Pan-Pan larking around with Mei Mei|
When children's website Plushkies asked me to review their clever educational soft toys, I was thrilled! I knew my kids would love them and since I am dead keen for them to learn about other countries, this seemed like a perfect solution.
As my children are learning Mandarin, I requested the Chinese Plushky, who is named Mei Mei. The other options are currently USA, Italy and Mexico.
When the perfectly packaged toy arrived I was amazed at how large the box was! I had got the idea that the soft toys were fairly small, as they appear on the website, and would fit in one of my kids' hands. But our China Plushky is really rather large, about the size of the average teddy bear, as you can see in the photo!
Schmoo, age 8, is the real lover of soft toys, and sure enough she pretty much adopted Mei Mei right away, sleeping with her every night, and playing with her too.
The twin aims of Plushkies are to teach in a fun way, so I really wanted to base my review on two essential questions:
Are they educational?
My children will always know the shape of China and the colours of its flag now, so yes, they have learnt a key geographical fact from the toy! The little booklet that comes with it gives lots of detail as to who Mei Mei is - a shy Chinese girl who can also be outgoing, enjoys socialising in Shanghai and speaking English with foreigners, where she is born and where she is studying, etc. These little details give children an insight into Chinese life and culture, and help them think about what it would be like to live there themselves. Now that Schmoo and Pan-Pan are learning Mandarin, I'm so glad they can enjoy interacting with a toy that helps them envisage where the language is spoken.
Are they entertaining?
My children are 8 and 6, so a good age for imaginative play with soft toys. They both played with Mei Mei and Schmoo loved snuggling up with her and a favourite book. Mei Mei now lives on Schmoo's bed!
All in all we would definitely recommend Plushkies to any parents keen for their children to effortlessly memorise country shapes, associated flags, and a few facts about its culture to boot.
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