We reviewed the Horse Club Riding Centre from Schleich in the summer. Not only was it really easy to put together, it was superb quality too. The designers had even thought about maximising imaginative play too as features included a fully removable roof that doubled up as an exercise area. Schleich has launched a dinosaur collection so we hoped to see a similar level of innovation with the Giant Volcano which comes with its own dinosaurs.
POD is a huge dinosaur fan which stemmed from watching Andy’s dinosaur adventures on CBeebies. We receive the Andy’s Amazing Adventures magazine every month and she looks forward to it immensely. The grabber T-Rex she has received in the past, nicknamed “Chompy”, is still a favoured toy and just last night we were reading a book about dinosaurs.
The Giant Volcano set, from the Schleich Dinosaur collection, includes an impressive volcano with some brilliant features. There’s also a T-Rex, a Stegosaurus, a dinosaur skeleton and other accessories including a pretty frog and a flying fish. The dinosaurs are especially impressive, not just the quality of them but the attention to detail – you can even see their tongues! The T-Rex is certainly POD’s favourite with its amazing colouring, scales on its back and the way its mouth opens and closes.
The Schleich Giant Volcano is surprisingly simple to put together. It comprises of 8 pieces, each of which is lettered and clicks into position with pegs. The picture based instructions are detailed and easy to follow with all the pieces fitting together perfectly. Even the two orange lava section fit into one another with ease. Finishing touching include adding tree roots, palm trees and a pool of water for the frog and flying fish, all of which click into place. The water also serves as a hiding place as it is easily removable so the frog and fish can escape beneath it. The Giant Volcano set also includes stalagmites that can be moved around. You’re looking at around 15 minutes from opening the box to having the volcano completely ready to play with. The Giant Volcano stands about 26cm tall once its been put together.
What really appeals about this set, aside from the great quality, are the limitless opportunities for creative play. POD has the most wonderful imagination and it’s a delight to seeing her making up dinosaur stories. While the volcano is really solid, the inside is a cave. POD has alternated between playing with the T-Rex and Stegosaurus, who don’t seem to be afraid of the hot lava, to interacting with the smaller creatures. The T-Rex and the Stegosaurus at one point were father and son (the mother was the dinosaur skeleton!). On other occasions all the T-Rex has been Daddy, the Stegosaurus Mummy with the fish and frog their children. There are lots of combinations for imaginative storytelling and play.
Features of the Giant Volcano include stalagtites which can remain out of sight to reveal another entrance to the cave. By turning the mysterious skull above them, they come down and stop dinosaurs from entering the cave. POD loves this and the hidden opening to the cave which is made up of five removable fossil-like rocks. These fit together perfectly but by pressing a big stone they ‘erupt’ revealing the inside of the cave. It’s a sign of how well made this set is, the fact that they fit together so well without actually being attached. Dinosaur “Steggy” was subjected to the falling rocks as you can see below.
Yet again Schleich has created a toy that delivers so much more than you anticipate. From the way it fits together, the design quality and the element of surprise, POD is a huge fan already. The Giant Volcano has pride of place on our kitchen table so there’s a constant flow of happy dinosaur chatter. It’s made one five year old very happy indeed.
Disclaimer: We received the Schleich Giant Volcano (RRP £99.99) with T-Rex for the purpose of this review. Opinions are as always our own. For further information, visit the Schleich website.