Thursday, September 23, 2010

Review: Schleich Toys

Ever since I became a member of the Homeschool Crew I've come to think of our mailman as Santa Claus, wondering what wonderful item he'll bring next.    While my Schnickelfritz has to participate in the reviews as well (and he's usually a good sport about it), it wasn't until I told him the next package would contain toys that he really got that "waiting for Christmas morning" feeling himself.

The box arrived a little worse for wear but the Schleich figures inside were fine.  I'm not surprised.  Fritz has been playing with Schleich toys for more than half his life-on the sidewalk, in the tub, being smashed into each other and they've always stood up to the beating.    I have to search long and hard to find evidence of paint flaking or gouges and they appear to be molded as a solid piece so I've never had something break off.

 Schleich fits my philosophy of child play--I want Fritz's toys to be fueled by his imagination, not AA batteries.   The animals are extremely realistic in appearance.  That's not to say he has to play with them in a realistic way.  We've had giraffes and elephants next to cows and pigs in our plastic barnyard.  After watching Pinocchio, the big sperm whale became Monstro in the bathtub and after Fantasia 2000, there was a pod of flying whales in the living room.  

 Many of the animals come in a male and female version so you could set up your own Noah's ark ( not everything would be in the correct scale to other animals, but it never seems to bother my son).   There are also animal babies available to play with their parents or on their own (some so cute I can hardly stand it).

The individual figures are not very expensive (many less than $5.00), making them a reasonable "just because I love you" present.  They are also not out of reach for young people learning to save and budget allowances.   Sets of animals or structures like the castle for the knights can cost over $100.   In the interest of full disclosure: while all of the toys are stamped with "Germany" on their bellies, but below it says "Made in China."  I know Chinese-made toys have been in recent years.  The CEO of Schleich North America issued this statement in 2007.
... Schleich GmbH believes that toy safety is a maximum priority. Schleich has an internal quality control department and it is supported by external test centres. Our products have always been made using materials which at the time of production were classified as safe. Schleich toy figures comply with all national and international guidelines and regulations, e.g. the strict provisions of the European Standard for Toys (EN 71) and the American Specification for Toy Safety (ASTM F963-03). We have also in-troduced our own regulations and test methods which are often more stringent.We obligate our raw material suppliers and other suppliers to comply with these regulations. We also hire independent and authorized laboratories to carry out regular tests regarding the materials, the paints used for our products and the finished toys (saliva and migration tests, for example, are performed by these laboratories)...
Schleich toys organize their characters into Farm Life, Wild Life, Prehistoric Animals, World of Knights, World of American Indians, Fanatsy figures, and of all things---Smurfs.   The complete line can be found on their website .  The toys are not sold on the website but a store locator for finding retailers in your area is available (we find ours at Tractor Supply).   

To see what others on the Homeschool Crew think about Schleich figures click here.

Disclaimer:  I received a sampling of 8 small Schleich farm and wild life figures for the purposes of completing this review.  I received no other compensation for my honest opinion.

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