Lego may get all the glory. The Danish powerhouse is to bricks what Tesla is to electric cars. But let’s make a little room for German brand Playmobil, which has been quietly launching standout, intricate toys for kids of all ages for decades. If Lego has a reputation for going for flash (and yes, we like flash!), Playmobil has a reputation for a studious level attention to authentic detail, with toys that dive into the nitty-gritty of a working hospital or a retro Volkswagen T1 camper with fold-down seats.
Take this water park, which encourages your toddler to splash around while also building their fine motor skills: Kids turn the crank to get the water flowing and thus create a lazy river for the Playmobil mini-figures, baby octopus, boats, rafts, and more.
Splashing around is fun. But there are also developmental reasons to let your kids play with water. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, water play is an essential sensory experience. Water is also a natural STEM toy: When kids dump buckets of water into something, they begin to grasp the concept of volume and greater-than and less-than. They see what objects sink, what objects float, and why certain things, like plastic animals, move in certain ways. It’s also a wonderful way for multiple kids to play together.
This mini water park from the German toymaker gives kids boundless opportunities for problem-solving and experimentation, as they set people and animals happily afloat on an endlessly looping lazy river. The set includes one adult figure, two child figures, a baby octopus, a fish, and floating rafts and boats.
It’s not a gaudy toy. It’s not a loud toy. It doesn’t offer kids a world neatly synced up with the release of the latest Marvel or Disney blockbuster — it’s just hours and hours of skills-boosting fun for young kids. And that’s precisely why we like it. It combines a few things kids love: Water, stuff that moves, and motion. It’s a simple toy, meant for older toddlers and preschoolers. Plus, kids can add in their own water features, in the form of measuring cups or spoons or whatever else won’t get ruined, to create waves or obstacles or even make their own water slides.
Splashing around with Playmobil’s DIY water park lets kids dive into understanding cause-and-effect while having a ton of summer fun throughout the year.
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