THE TEA SET J & M TOYS AGE RANGE:3-5/5-8 PRICE:See below CONTACT: Telephone 01274 599314 www.jandmtoys.co.uk
The costumes are waiter, waitress, chef, chef assistant and upstairs/downstairs (which can be used for restaurant or Victorian play).
Prices range from 5.95 for a waitress tabard with Velcro fastenings to 17.50 for the chef's outfit, consisting of cotton jacket, check trousers, neckerchief and matching cotton hat. There is a 10 per cent discount if you buy the set.
Tested by Kids Korner Nursery, Halesowen 'Most of the children recognised these outfits from real-life situations which helped them bring the characters to life. They encouraged lots of language and communication between the children and helped them to be more independent while dressing and undressing. They are really well made, and the children told us how much they liked the bright colours. We think the price for each item is reasonable and it's good that you can make a saving if you get the full set. We would definitely consider buying these for our nursery.'
FANTASY DRESSING UP CLOTHES ASCO AGE RANGE:3-5 PRICE:29.95 per set CONTACT: 0113 2707070 www.ascoeducational.co.uk
Exclusive to Asco, these are designed to encourage children to act out some of their favourite stories. The sets, each of which includes appropriate accessories such as crowns, are king, queen, dragon, princess and knight.
Tested by Mulberry Bush nursery, Halesworth 'Of course, these were a terrific hit with the children, especially the dragon, and they really enhanced their imaginative play. They are well-made and should last a long time - our only concern was that the decoration on the knight's tunic might not wear well. However, we do think they are rather expensive for nurseries with limited funds, which is why we can't wholeheartedly recommend them.'
OCCUPATIONAL TABARDS HOPE AGE RANGE:4-7 PRICE:27.95 PER SET CONTACT: 0845 1202224 www.hope-education.co.uk
The set includes tabards representing astronaut, diver, pilot, builder and waitress.
Tested by St Paulinus pre-school playgroup, Crayford, kent 'These are a good role-play resource and were used at every session during the testing period. They sparked off lots of conversation and imaginative play and were useful for a number of cross- curricular activities, especially Knowledge and Understanding of the World. They are fairly easy to put on and off, although the youngest children needed a bit of help.'
DELIVERY PEOPLE THREE BEARS PLAYTHINGS AGE RANGE:4-7 PRICE:59 PER SET CONTACT: 01669 620315 www.threebears playthings.co.uk
This set of waistcoats represents motorbike courier, postman, pizza delivery service, online delivery service and parcel delivery service and comes complete with appropriate bags.
Tested by Vicars Green nursery, Wembley 'The children have not stopped using these since we put them out, with the pizza delivery being hot favourite. They immediately recognised the uniforms and started to imitate the roles. There have been two positive effects while testing these. One child with global delay (performing two years below his peers) has been able, through his role play, to develop a sequence of ordered tasks which he loves to repeat. He has started to talk about what he is doing and is now performing additional tasks. In another instance, an EAL child with emergent language ran up to everyone calling "pizza, pizza you eat, pizza my house, eat, eat". This was the most conversation she had ever attempted and she has now begun to initiate conversation with her peers.
'This set is an excellent resource for developing language as well as having great fun.'
WILD ANIMALS NES ARNOLD AGE RANGE:3-5 PRICE:49.95 per set CONTACT: 0845 1204525 www.nesarnold.co.uk
The set contains four outfits - bear, lion, crocodile and monkey - and they come complete with paws, feet and tails.
Tested by Frederick Bird Primary school nursery, Coventry 'The children responded very enthusiastically and the costumes initiated lots of lovely role play - pretending to climb trees or crawling around on the floor being wild animals. The bear hat, in particular, proved an excellent resource when we were reading 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt'.
'However, these outfits are not really suitable for the age range. Because there are lots of different pieces, they are far too complicated for our three-year-olds to manage on their own and they are too small for most of the older children. They loved them so much that they tried to wriggle into them, which encouraged their independence skills, but the consequence is that the costumes have not worn well over the short time we have tested them. One of the tails has already fallen off. It's a good idea, but the outfits need to be bigger and better made.'
MULTICULTURAL DRESSING UP CLOTHES GALT EDUCATIONAL AGE RANGE 3-5 PRICE:Pounds 23.95 each CONTACT: 08451 203005 www.galt-educational.co.uk
These include Asian wedding dress, Punjabi boy and girl, Chinese boy/girl, Asian sari, African girl, Nigerian boy and girl, Japanese girl.
Tested by Mayfield kindergarden, Ilfracombe 'The children were very keen to try these on. Although we already had a range of multicultural clothes, these offered a much wider variety. We used them as a resource for our current theme of Children Around the World and they really enhanced learning. However, they do seem a bit small. Although the labels say three to five, none of the costumes fitted our four- to five-year-olds and some were a tight squeeze even for our three- year-olds.'
Star rating ***** Excellent **** Very good *** Good ** Satisfactory * Less than satisfactory