As Toddler L gets older, she – and I – are discovering new children’s TV shows to watch. Something we’ve dabbled in over the last few months is My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, which we watch on Netflix. This was sparked by my folks who bought her a Princess Cadence toy for her birthday. Obviously I’d heard of My Little Pony from my own childhood, but I literally had no knowledge of it until a few months ago. Now I’m an expert.
In an age where there’s a lot of poor role models on TV, I really like the focus of this show. I don’t wish to simplify it, but it’s basically a bunch of different friends who go on adventures, have a laugh and find solutions to problems – the fact that all the central characters are female is also very refreshing in a male-dominated world.
As such, it’s a show I’m more than happy to watch with Toddler L and I’m actually considering taking her to see the film – My Little Pony: The Movie – which sees Twilight Sparkle and the gang embark on an epic adventure to save Ponyville from an evil force.
With this in mind, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on some film-specific toys and accessories when Argos asked if we wanted to review any. They’ve started to stock 10 brand new My Little Pony: The Movie toys including character figurines, playsets and movie scene collections, which range from £14.99 up to £79.99.
I had a look at the range and decided to go with the Canterlot Castle playset and Seashell Lagoon playset. I’ve noticed a recent change in her play where she uses her imagination to re-enact everyday scenarios, so I thought these would appeal the most and help develop that creativity. Below, you’ll find my review of the two My Little Pony playsets from Argos:
My Little Pony: The Movie Canterlot Castle Playset
This playset (RRP £39.99) depicts the famous Canterlot Castle where the two regal sisters – Princess Celestia and Princess Luna – live and rule Equestria. It doesn’t include all of the turrets and sections of the castle as depicted in My Little Pony, but it shows the main entrance which is arguably the most recognisable feature and provides a good backdrop to create Canterlot-based imaginative play scenarios. Made from a mixture of hard and soft moulded plastics, it comes in at around 36cm (H) x 30cm (W) so it’s a pretty decent size.
The playset can be used in one of two ways, depending on whether you’re looking at the exterior or the interior. The outside of the castle is predominantly pink, purple and yellow with paint and stickers used for decoration. There is a door which opens, along with four external balconies and a staircase, which allow kids to create their own My Little Pony play stories with the castle as a background.
On the inside, there are three different storeys, each of which reference aspects of the castle through stickers and mouldings in the plastic. For instance, the ground floor has a red carpet and stained glass windows like in the hallway, the first floor has scrolls and book shelves like in the library and the top floor has a settee and desk like in the bedroom. Again, these help create cues and provide inspiration when playing with the castle.
The playset comes with two figures – Canterlot Castle resident Princess Celestia and evil tyrant The Storm King, who is the main antagonist in the My Little Pony movie. Being an Alicorn – part pony, unicorn and Pegasus, for those not so knowledgeable of My Little Pony – Princess Celestia has her recognisable horn and wings, plus comes with a removable crown and peytral. I’m not really sure what The Storm King is other than some kind of bipedal beast, but he has horns, a tail and the Staff of Sacanas which is used to steal magic.
There’s also a number of accessories which can be used as part of play – 13 if I’ve counted correctly. I’ve already mentioned three which are related to the two characters, however there’s a few others which act as scenery or objects to interact with. This includes a thrown, a chest, two books, a telescope, a table, a tray of cupcakes, a big cake and Princess Celestia’s pet phoenix, Philomena. There’s also a stand, which both Philomena and the telescope attach to.
I’ve been impressed with this playset and Toddler L has enjoyed playing with it over the last few weeks. At just over three, she’s at the lower age range for something like this, so I can only see her getting more and more enjoyment out of it as she gets older. She’s still had fun with it though and I’ll often watch her using it to replicate normal everyday situations, be it eating the cakes for dinner, making the characters read each other books or putting everyone to bed.
For an older kid who has a more developed imagination and understanding of My Little Pony, the playset opens up additional play scenarios. For instance, they can recreate scenes from the movie such as the two facing off against each other, or from the TV show such as the Grand Galloping Gala. It can also be added to with other separately purchased characters so that they can go on epic adventures as they celebrate the importance of friendship.
My Little Pony: The Movie Seashell Lagoon Playset
This playset (RRP £39.99) takes inspiration directly from the My Little Pony movie as it depicts Seaquestria, a place where the ponies visit on an underwater adventure. As part of this journey, the colourful four-footed characters transform into seaponies, complete with mermaid-like tails – hence Pinkie Pie’s altered appearance in this playset.
Made from moulded plastic and with dimensions of approximately 38cm (H), 46cm (W) and 11cm (D), it’s certainly a sizeable bit of kit – I’ve not found a proper place out of the way to store it just yet! The playset is made up of two ‘rooms’ with hinged doors, two platforms above these, one small ‘room’ at the top, three ledges which swing and another bit which turns manually.
There are two additional things which add something a bit different to this playset when compared to, say, Canterlot Castle above. Firstly, it has lights. Everyone likes lights. Inside the pink room, there’s a little button, which when pressed, lights up two blue LEDs which shine up the transparent window. What’s more, you can then press the two little pressure pads next to the button to make the lights do different things. This requires three batteries, but *shock horror* these are actually included in the playset which makes a nice change.
Secondly, the transparent window is actually a little water tank. There’s an opening at the top – like an old school water pistol – that allows you to fill the tank with water. You can then press the pearl-shaped button which blows air into the tank to create bubbles and give the impression of being underwater in Seaquestria. Just don’t do what I did and fill it to the top with water as the air forces water out which can get a bit messy! All of these rooms, swings and interactive elements obviously provide lots of inspiration for underwater pony-based play.
As you’d expect, the playset also comes with different accessories to use with Seashell Lagoon – the most notable one being the Pinkie Pie figure. As this is the seapony version, she has a mermaid-like tail made from soft plastic which bends and rotates to allow the figure to stand up. She also has her signature ‘party balloons’ cutie mark on her back fin, a rotating head and synthetic mane.
Other accessories include a treasure box, pearls, a table, cupcakes, drinks, a necklace, a crown and a shell chair with a mirrored sticker. Again, these can be used alongside the actual set so that your kid can create imaginative play scenarios from the film or based purely on what’s in their head. Like with the other set, Toddler L is on the lower side of the age range so her play isn’t *that* imaginative just yet. She’ll do things like press the buttons, let Pinkie Pie explore the set, have tea parties etc, but I imagine she’ll do a lot more when she’s that bit older.
You can check out the full range of My Little Pony toys and accessories at Argos here.
Disclosure: This is a commissioned post in collaboration with Argos. We were sent the My Little Pony toys with the purpose of writing an honest review in exchange for the product.