Teaching Tiny Toy Animals
- What: Calico Critter Country Tree School
- When: 3 years and up
- Why: Fun, encourages imaginative play
- Where: Amazon
If your child also fantasizes about going back to school, or just likes to be in charge, the Calico Critters Country Tree School might be an excellent match.
My daughter recently got this schoolhouse for her critter collection. (If you don’t recognize Calico Critters, think Sylvanians, which are the exact same thing.) She couldn’t be happier sending her various animal offspring to school.
The school comes with two long tables that serve as desks for any attendees, as well as six chairs, and a podium for the instructor of your choice. It also includes a library of books, from tiny sketch books for each of six students to science textbooks, as well as few miscellaneous tomes to choose from the library shelves. The main floor includes a fenced outdoor area with gates that can open to form a walkway or close in the classroom.
A ladder leads up to the upper balcony level, where you’ll find a round room tucked into the tree part of the setup, as well as a telescope for viewing things from a distance. On the first floor, two main doors in the tree lead into the school through a wide opening. Like many of the Calico Critters buildings, this one can be stacked with others in your collection, though only if you remove the tree portion of the building (which slides away easily). The partially open second floor makes it easier for little hands to reach inside, where students will find a chalkboard complete with tiny eraser and even a daily schedule of activities like art and outside posted on the wall. Critters who need some downtime or a quiet place to read can hang out on the branch or in the nest of leaves at the top of the tree tower.
All in all the set includes more than 40 pieces to make your educational experience come to life, though you have to buy critters separately. Thanks to the removable tree, it can be stored more easily on shelves or bins when not in use, and all the accessories fit easily inside.