Kids (mine included) have loved Brio trains for almost 60 years and now there’s a newcomer to Brio World, the Village. Working with kids for over 35 years to improve their speech and language, I am excited to see the addition of this character-based play theme, encouraging kids to produce their own stories, based on their everyday experiences. Pretend play is just that-imitating their little lives, trying out different scenarios and role-playing, using dialogue with their characters, building language skills. As one wise dad said, “There are more characters per square inch of play area than most playhouses. Yes! And that provides a greater factor of conversations, working out problems, negotiating plots and planning the story. The different wall, window and floor panels snap together to make 5 modules that can be re-configured (kids love to make it taller) and invite kids to customize their home. Snap the ladder on to go to the next level with accessories to categorize the rooms–TV, sink, oven bench, bed, potty or chair. Several levels of play have been expanded with the introduction of the Village. Now the railway theme has a beginning and end to the story, showing life at home before or after the trip, or perhaps where to play in the Village when a friend or Grandma comes to visit!