I spotted Wonderhood Toys at the New York Toy Fair this year and thought their sets were winners so it is exciting to see that kids agree with me! Their 2 sets, “Corner Shops” and “Wonderhood Grand Hotel,” include illustrated plasticized panels, staircases, and an elevator (in the hotel set) with clear clips for customizing your building according to the story you are creating. They come with 3-D figures, Emmie in the Corner Shops and Chelsea and Erik in the hotel set, with a journal to learn about the characters and add your personal information and design ideas. Characters give their bio, favorites, and design challenges. How fun to provide language, story-based instruction so kids can learn from a word problem rather than a picture, which mirrors much learning in the classroom.
One of my toy testing families includes a mom who is a seasoned first grade teacher. I offered the sets for her to take into her classroom to see what the kids thought. She thought they would be well received but was amazed at the reaction:
“Sherry. My kids absolutely loved the “Wonderhood Corner Shops.” I had a group of 4 play with it. They loved building their own creations, as well as trying to make the ones on the box and in the booklet. Their comments were, “It is super fun!”, “I love this!”, “I want to have one at home.”, and “I could do this all day!”.
As a school extension activity, they created a story about Emmie. They wrote the story, and acted it out with Emmie moving to the stores as they read their story.” I was surprised how much they liked it. They wanted to stay in at recess to keep working on it!”
Next, she took in the Wonderhood Grand Hotel Creative Building Set which is a bit bigger and includes a working elevator. Kids loved that too, as they could relate to the theme. They got into lots of creative play with the two figures, Chelsea and Erik, and started referring to the set as “The Water Park!” Tells you where they relate to the theme. Their teacher said, I was surprised how much they liked it. They wanted to stay in at recess to keep working on it!”
Stay in for recess???? Wow, that is quite an endorsement.