My husband's family is from Hong Kong and it's a big part of who they are. My husband picked up a little bit of Chinese growing up but mostly had an "All-American" upbringing. Now that we have kids, it's brought to light the importance of showing our kids pieces of their heritage so they can keep in touch with their roots.
Our toddler has been going to Chinese school for awhile. It's been really helpful since neither my husband nor I really speak Chinese (and our toddler just laughs when we try.) Not only do we like that he's connecting with Chinese culture, but we also hope that it will help him later in life. The hard part for us is supplementing his Chinese at home. It's been difficult to find products that encourage us to talk about China.
I came across this World Village Playset China Adventure Kit while looking for toys about China. It's fantastic because there are so many components. This playset is designed to grow with your child and inspire imaginative play.
The first thing I noticed about the playset was the 13-piece painted wood puzzle. Not only is it a puzzle, but the pieces are chunky enough to be used as play pieces on the playmat. My son is especially fond of putting the boat in the river and having the bicylist crash into things. Each piece also has the Chinese and English names of each item painted on it.
There are also 14 story cards with pictures on one side and storytelling prompts on the other. The images on the cards matches picutres on the playmat. My son and I have spent a lot of time searching the playmat for the corresponding image. I'm saving the storytelling prompts for days when he doesn't already have a story in mind. He's been creating all kinds of adventures using his imagination.
It comes with a soft fabric playmat that is about the size of two door mats. My toddler is fairly active and the playmat tends to bunch up when he sits on it to play. It might be nice to tack it to a rubber playmat to make it a bit sturdier. However, it folds up really compactly for storage. We were unable to fit it back in the original box, so we used a Ziploc freezer bag, which does the trick.
I especially like that this playset is compatible with most of my sons toys. Some days, Thomas the Train makes a visit to China, crossing over bridges and around the village. Other days, his airplanes will drop off tourists to check out the sights. I can see this playset lasting him a long time and evolving as his style of play evolves.
The only thing we haven't thoroughly checked out is the My China Travel Journal. It's a 32-page story/activity book narrated by a brother and sister who are traveling in China. It seemed a bit advanced for our almost-3-year-old and I like that we have something new to incorprate when he's ready. We're really hoping to bring our toddler to China in the next couple of years, so the travel journal will be perfect to prepare him for the trip.
It looks as though China is the first World Village Playset they have created. I'd be very eager to see what other countries they add in the future. I could see this being something fun to bring to a hotel room while traveling to keep kids entertained. It would also be a fun way to announce a trip to children.
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I'm a mom to a 3-year-old and a baby. We believe in traveling as a family as soon as possible and sharing our tips and tricks with other families!