Review: Mother Garden wooden play toys

Last December I came across a bazaar stall selling these adorable, wooden play toy sets imported from Japan. They were miniatures of things as birthday cakes, tea sets, stoves, and even an oven and a refrigerator. Since then, I’ve been obsessed with getting each and every one of the sets for my daughter. I’ve tried to limit my purchase to one a month though!

Since I’ve bought three (so far), I’ve come to realize one thing: if you are buying this for a toddler, do watch out that these sets have multiple small pieces. The risk is not just that your child might put them in his/her mouth, but also, that they’re prone to being lost. So far I’ve lost about three to four pieces already.

Here’s what I have purchased:

1. Vegetable Hot Pot Set (PHP699.75): this set comes with assorted vegetables, meat, a pot with lid and ladle, and a “card” of sorts whose purpose I can’t figure out. I was kind of hoping this would somehow influence my daughter to eat more vegetables (it did not). Some of the vegetables, such as the asparagus and onions, can be “cut up” and are connected by velcro. This set has seen a lot of use in the past few months: it’s already missing two of the three asparagus segments, the ladle’s handle has been detached, and the see-through plastic on the lid is now cracked.

2. Strawberry Kitchen Stove (PHP1,999.75): this is a mini-stove that comes with a pot, a pan, and a salt and pepper shaker. No food items included. My daughter uses the vegetable hot pot on this stove. I like the attention to details that’s evident in this item. The salt and pepper shakers make a sound when you use them, similar to how it would sound when you’re using a real shaker. My daughter likes using one of the shakers and asks me to use the other one. The stove dials have clicking sounds when you turn them. I wish it were a little bigger, though – although there is a larger variant with an oven underneath.

3. Pink Fruit Picnic Set (PHP1,499.75): this pink wicker basket contains a variety of fruits and some vegetables as well, segmented and velcroed like the veggies from the hot pot set. It also comes with a wooden knife and a cutting board. My daughter, the budding chef that she is, likes to cut up the fruits. There are strawberries, lemons, grapes (held together on a wooden stem by little magnets – how creative is that?) – but then there is also a radish and a peculiar fruit/veggie that I don’t recognize. There is another picnic set that has more food types (hamburgers and sandwiches, I think) which I’m planning to get for my daughter next.

Overall, I like these toy sets; I’m a little disappointed in the sturdiness of the hot pot, but the rest are okay, and they really are cute. As you can see I bought the “healthier” sets – there are cake sets, fast food sets, and so on, which I hesitate to buy because – and forgive me if this sounds a little irrational – I don’t want to make it seem like I’m promoting unhealthy eating habits to my daughter. Although I suppose I could give in and buy the birthday cake and ice cream sets for her birthday…

All my Mother Garden sets were purchased via Key West Internationale. Follow them on Facebook, or visit their Multiply site.

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