Toy Review – Habitat London Bus

Habitat wooden London Bus. A brightly painted, traditional, red double-decker bus. Removal lid and upper deck that allows the passengers to be positioned and moved around inside. 23 little wooden figurines are also included.

Suitable for children over 10 months old. Size – W37 x H12.7 x D22.2cm

The Good

The iconic London bus. A part of history and an association everyone who has visited London can relate to. This bus is so vividly painted, I wouldn’t be surprised if they contacted TFL for the actual RAL colour code used in real life. Certainly eye-catching, this is an attractive toy for any child, not just a little boys who loves anything with wheels.

The first thing I thought about when I saw the bus was the song “The wheels on the bus go round and round” If the bus can evoke this song and memory within me, it should definitely be a winner with any child. If they too can learn a nursery rhyme affiliated with bus’ as well as learning to count with the figurines, then the aim of this toy has well and truly been met.

The bus itself is made from a high quality MDF. I’m quite an advocate for wooden toys as I feel they are built to last and a little more environmentally friendly than ghastly plastic. The wheels are securely fixed and there are no sharp corners or ways to access the wheel mechanism which prevents anything getting caught up, I’m thinking hair or other loose fibrous materials/carpet. The bus feels sturdy and being double-decked has a good weight to stop it toppling over. A great feature of the bus is that the roof and upper deck are removable allowing nimble hand to arrange the figurines/passengers on both floors. Cue imaginative play on who can sit where.

The mini figurines included, all 23 of them, have a vintage look about them and are of a varied ethnicity. This is absolutely brilliant for young impressionable children when race and inequality should be addressed and understood from an early age. At first glance this may just been seen as a toy to push and pull around but I also see this as a strong educational toy without necessarily meaning to be. With the figurines being multi-cultural balanced, a good reflection on modern-day society, it opens up for important discussions with the children; issues like countries of origin (geographically), skin colour and languages spoken.

The Bad

Now I didn’t see anything majorly bad with the overall product but identified some small suggestions/improvements that would elevate this product.

The wheels on the bus, yes, they go round and round and at some speed too. There doesn’t appear to be any wheel traction fitted. This isn’t a bad thing as children love to push and chase after objects but noting the overall weight of the product, it could cause quite a bit of damage to household furniture if sent careering across the room, crashing into a coffee table; or indeed bystander’s foot. A little added traction would go a long way and a potential calming measure.

The whole appeal of this toy for me (with Huxley in mind) was that they had in no way tried to change or alter the appearance of the double-decker bus you so frequently see. It is perfectly proportioned but the height of the bus means it could be deemed ‘ridable’ by the most adventurous of child. Definitely not safe for excessive weight, there may also be a few bumped heads from attempting this.

The small figurines, however great they are, are cylindrical. This mean they have a tendency to roll. Rolling away and under the sofa never to be seen again. I don’t know if this is why so many were included but it’s inevitable some will be lost. Saying this and thinking how a child thinks I’m sure their imagination with come up with replacement passengers from their array of other toys.

The Verdict

Overall, I think this toy is great. The initial cost of the toy is £35 but I managed to snap this up in the sale for £20. Bargain. Ideal for developing a child’s imagination and a great additional to anyone’s toy box.

Huxley has now reached the 11 month stage and always makes a beeline for the bus. His favourite pastime is removing the lid, deck and people, then proceeding to fill it with everything but the figurines as indeed. He prefers to gnaw on these as teething is still giving the boy jip. Still, happy to say I think it a success.





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