Playmobil figures on window ledge

The Playmobil People in Our House Officially Have More Interesting Lives Than I Do

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Shocking parenting confession coming up: I’m really, really bad at playing. Like, really bad at it. What are you supposed to do with toy cars, for instance?  I mean, I know you push them around a bit, going, “Brrrmmm! Brrrrmm!” but after a couple of minutes of that I’m just like, “Now what? How is this fun? Explain how this is fun, because surely this is not fun? Where is the wine? Would wine make this fun?”

(And no, I obviously don’t get out the wine, calm down: I know we’re not allowed to drink and drive. Also, it’s normally about 7am when this scenario plays out, and that’s a bit early, even for me…)

It’s not just that I don’t know what to do with kids’ toys / activities, though: it’s that most of them are deathly boring, right? There are, after all, very good reasons why adults don’t actively choose to spend their time at soft play centres, and, when you’re relaxing with your other half tonight, it’s probably quite unlikely that one of you will say, “Ooh, I know! Let’s put pieces of macaroni on a string, and call it a necklace!” Oh, come on: AS IF you spent your child-free days lining toy cars up along the back of the couch, just so you could push them off again. AS IF.

Which brings me to Playmobil, which is, as I’m sure many of you know, is basically an entire miniature world, consisting of people and props for almost every situation. I do mean every situation, too: like, there’s probably a Playmobil Blogger’s Bedroom out there, in which a tiny Playmobil person is carefully arranging a flatlay, before taking some selfies with their Playmobil iPhone – and if there isn’t, there should be, because I would totally buy that. (Call me, Playmobil! I’m totally willing to sell you the copyright on this amazing idea!)

Now, I’ve wanted a Playmobil set for months now. For Max, obviously. Yes. For Max. And, OK, also for me, because, let’s face it, if I’m going to have to play with toys for hours on end every day, they may as well be the kind of toys which allow me to faff around setting up houses, and shops, and riding stables, and hospitals, and literally everything you can think of that goes to make up a tiny universe. Yes, I could definitely get into Playmobil, I figured – particularly all of the horsey stuff you can get for it, because I think you know how I feel about that by now – so, when my parents announced they’d bought Max a set last week, it was a bit like Christmas had come early, really. (Again, FOR MAX, you understand. Let’s keep pretending this is all about Max, OK?)

This is the set they got him:

Playmobil Holiday home review

It’s the Playmobil Holiday Home (Or ONE of the Playmobil holiday homes, anyway, because, can you believe these folks have MULTIPLE holiday homes?!), and it comes with a ton of different stuff, including the house itself, obviously, which Max immediately christened ‘The Windmill House’. I thought he was just being charmingly imaginative, until I realised he’d stuck a giant flower (Why is there such a gigantic flower? Who knows!) onto the roof, and was calling it a “windmill”. Which, to be fair, it IS almost big enough to pass for one, right? So, yes, there’s The Windmill House itself, then there’s the family who live there, with their suspiciously over-sized pets:

Playmobil family figures

I mean, that cat is roughly the size of a small tiger, isn’t it? Max is going to be so disappointed the next time he meets a REAL cat, and realises it isn’t actually as tall as he is… 

Let’s meet the family, shall we? 

Playmobil Mummy:

Playmobil mummy

This is Playmobil Mummy, and the deal with her is that she must remain inside the house – and, more specifically, right behind the door – AT ALL TIMES. Every time I try to move her, Max insists she go right back inside The Windmill House, so, yes, that’s raised some interesting questions about the kind of messages he’s internalising, for sure. 

Once upon a time, in the far distant past, Playmobil Mummy had a name, a personality, and some dreams and aspirations of her own. Then, one day, she had a baby, and got caught up in a global pandemic, and that was that, really. Playmobil Mummy is ALL of us right now. Well, she’s all of ME, anyway. I relate SO HARD to this little plastic person: and not just because she’s wearing a jumper that matches her house, either…

Playmobil Daddy:

Playmobil figure in car

Every morning, Playmobil Daddy says he’s going to work, then he gets into his car and … just sits there, really. It would be easy to see him as the lucky one in this relationship, given that he’s the one who’s actually allowed to leave the house, but I don’t think Playmobil Daddy would see it that way, tbh, and I don’t really want to think about this any longer, so let’s move on to .. 

Playmobil Max:

Playmobil chlldren in pool

Playmobil Max is the occasionally evil overlord of The Windmill House, and, as such, is allowed to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. So, pretty standard toddler behaviour, really.

The Capt’n:

Playmobil Captain and boat figure

A random captain, in a random boat. One day it will emerge that The Capt’n is actually a famous movie star, who has purchased a remote coastal property in a bid to escape the cutthroat world of Hollywood, and live a simpler life by the sea, but, for now, he mostly just sits in his boat – which is, inexplicably, moored on dry land, next to The Windmill House – saying the word, “Arrr!” a lot, even though I’m pretty sure it’s pirates who say that, not captains.

(It’s either that, or he’s the head of an international smuggling ring, which will only be uncovered when four children and their faithful dog follow him into a hidden cave one day: I haven’t decided yet. Maybe he could be both?)

Last, but by no means least:

Interested Bystanders:

Playmobil figures

Max has yet to come up with names for these people (Suggestions welcome…), and, so far, their role mostly seems to be to stand around looking on with interest as the inhabitants of The Windmill House go about their business. Or, at least, I THOUGHT that was their main role: then, on Monday morning, I left Max playing with this set for a couple of minutes while I was in the kitchen, getting him a drink, and, when I came back, he’d done THIS:

Playmobil Murder

Well, well, well. I might be jumping the gun here, but it looks very much like The Brunette One here has designs on being the NEXT Playmobil Mummy, no? (Which is pretty wild, really, given that Playmobil Mummy has to stand behind her front door all the livelong day, but still…) I asked Max what was going on her, but he just smiled mysteriously and wandered off, at which point I realised Playmobil Mummy had completely disappeared: and I don’t mean we just pretended she’d disappeared, as part of some kind of wildly inappropriate imaginative play scenario – I mean I spent at least 20 minutes turning the living room upside down looking for her, including attempting to insert my entire body underneath the couch at least half a dozen times.

Then I handed the search over to Terry while I went to have a shower (Because, yes, all of this high drama happened before I’d even finished my first coffee of the day…), and, when I came back down, he was sitting there with Playmobil Mummy on the coffee table in front of him, all, “Yeah, she was under the couch: did you not think to check there?” And I swear I DID check there, at least eleventeen times, so either the Playmobil people are: a) Real, and, b) Messing with me, or … actually, no, there is no other logical explanation for this, so they are 100% real, The End.

So, yeah: I guess the fact that this post was supposed to be a toy review probably tells you all you need to know about how lockdown is going for us right now, huh? In a bid to pull this post back from the brink, however, and turn it into something at least vaguely resembling a review, let the record show that this set is definitely one of the things Max has spent the most time playing with. As I’ve mentioned in the past, he’s not really into independent play quite yet, but he IS very much much into imaginative play, and will happily spend hours chatting to his soft toys (And literally ANYTHING else he finds: he even asked me if he could talk to the fridge last week, so I had to stand there providing the voice of an integrated fridge freezer, and trying to imagine what it would talk about, if it could…), and making up stories about them. He’d also recently started to get very invested in the goings-of the LEGO people he inherited from his big cousin, Jonathan, last year, but the LEGO peeps are a little bit small for me to trust him with them at the moment, which is why I figured Playmobil might be a better option for now. 

(And, yes, I really wanted it for myself, too, not gonna lie.)

The downside to all of this: it’s really freaking expensive. As I said, we were really lucky in that my parents decided to get this particular set for Max, but, well, once you’ve started down the route of creating your own Playmobil universe, it can be quite hard to stop, really: especially once you’ve seen the attention-to-detail that’s gone into the Playmobil kitchen and bathroom sets, and did I mention there are horses? Because, folks, there are HORSES. Lots and lots of horses. Individually, some of these sets are only around £20 – which seems pretty reasonable, really, until you realise you need them ALL – but some of the larger kits will set you back much more than that, which is why we’ve been hitting up eBay in our search for other items I – I mean Max – might like. Because, the thing is, even if he doesn’t want to play with it, I sure as hell will…

Anyone else’s children into Playmobil? Which sets do you have? Talk Playmobil to me, people…

COMMENTS
  • Viridiana

    REPLY

    I was a HUGE fan of playmobil during my childhood. I had a lot of horses and ponies, two farms, the zoo and a wonderful fishing boat with a ton of small fishes! I passed them to my younger siblings and now that we are all grown up I guess they’re still some playmobils somewhere in my parents’ house. Thanks for the trip down memory lane 🙂

    June 17, 2020
  • Alice

    REPLY

    I’m definitely with you on the “playing”. I just don’t get it! My daughter tells her childminder that “mummy is no good at playing”.

    Fortunately now she is 3 she also enjoys “helping” me do washing up etc, so I do that with her and read stories and take her our on her bike, her father and childminder do playing!

    June 17, 2020
  • Elaine

    REPLY

    My kids had a few playmobil sets when they were younger and I loved them the most out of all of their toys. My youngest has just turned 13 and I am 48 so sadly in no way can I have any excuse to buy that playmobil kitchen, which is a shame because it is BEAUTIFUL…..and the bathroom…Lockdown must have really got to me because I think I could spend a good few hours happily playing with those sets on my own ..

    June 17, 2020
  • Myra

    REPLY

    Our Max had loads of these sets, including a zoo and a farm, a holiday caravan , and other stuff. I think most of them have gone to a car boot sale where they sold for about 10% of their initial cost or to charity shops.
    They are good value though as they are sturdy and great for imaginative play.
    Our Max had grand Prix races with his ‘Cars’ cars, dozens of them. They took a long time to be moved around the ‘track’ with the same favourites always winning. We had to commentate and while he knew every car’s name , we didn’t and he got quite frustrated reminding us. We had to report crashes, spin outs etc etc right until the last car crossed the imaginary finishing line. I don’t recommend taking this up. Lol

    June 17, 2020
  • Anneke Caramin

    REPLY

    We didn’t have that much Playmobil for the same reason you mention here, it’s expensive… But my mother managed to get us the pirate ship and island and we LOVED that. 10/10 would recommend.

    June 17, 2020
  • Miss Kitty

    REPLY

    I loved Playmobil as a kid, we only had one fairly small set when I was growing up. So of course when I got older I had to get a few sets, for my nieces and nephews of course! 😆 My mum still has the original set we used to play with, and it’s nearly as good as new, having survived us kids and now grandkids.

    Sylvanian families is another toy I had to buy, for my nieces & nephews as well of course! 😄

    June 18, 2020
  • Lusa

    REPLY

    Oh, I loved playmobil as a child! I didn’t have any sets, but my cousin had loads and whenever I went to his house we’d spend hours building the village, farms and the stables (he had so many horses!). I no longer remember the actual playing, but setting up everything was really funny.

    June 18, 2020
  • Lise

    REPLY

    Amber, you write so entertainingly you may be the only person for whom I would read and enjoy an entire blog post about Playmobil. My kids are in their thirties and neither has children yet, so I have no exposure here, and, I would have thought, no interest. But I spent much of my childhood designing homes, and castles, and neighborhoods, and making up stories about them all. These were architectural projects on the biggest pieces of paper I had, colored with crayons, and revised regularly. I also constructed a lot of furniture for my dollhouse. So I can fully understand how you might enjoy Playmobil.

    June 18, 2020
  • Amy

    REPLY

    This make me laugh out loud, thank you! I needed that. 😀

    June 19, 2020
  • Catherine P

    REPLY

    I had a playmobil operating theatre with cool snap on bandages & plaster casts- probably a not so subtle message from my parents that they wanted me to be a doctor! Which worked. Just went down the rabbit hole which is the playmobil website- OMG. I’d no idea you could spend so much! Pyramids! Hospitals! Horses! looking forward to my kid being old enough to justify buying this (& I bet my parents still have that operating table somewhere in the attic)

    June 20, 2020
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