A few months back I was sifting through my inbox when I encountered an email offering me the chance to review a new line of mermaid toys, Waverly and the Magic Seashells. At that very moment my daughters happened to be not five feet away from me, swimming up and down the hallway, pretending to be mermaids. The synchronicity of the timing… How could I say no?
But the truth is, this is a toy I likely never would have purchased. It’s pink, it takes batteries and it has no obvious educational value. In fact when it showed up I had second thoughts about actually giving it to my kids. My husband saw the still sealed box sitting there and said, “Oh, the girls are going to love that!” I told him about how I was suffering blogger’s remorse, and was thinking of sending it back, but he talked me into giving it to the girls. And his dad intuition was spot on, because they loved it.
From the moment they saw the box they were both entranced. Mermaids! Tiny little mermaids they could hold in their hand! And wave about and make them “swim” and all of those happy silly things kids do while in the midst of imaginative play. I figured their initial excitement would wear off and Waverly and her seashell home would get forgotten, but it has actually seen quite a bit of action.
The center piece for the Waverly and the Magic Seashells line is the Magic Seashell Playset, which retails for $24.99. The playset includes one mermaid, one piece of seaweed, a ring and a magic pearl. The seashell shaped playset opens up to reveal a swing and a slide for Waverly to play on, as well as a spot for her to sit. There are places for the seaweed to peg in, or for the Pearl Pets (sold separately) to sit. The unique and “magical” part about the playset is that it interacts with the special magic pearls. Send a magic pearl rolling down the slide, and once it comes to rest in the “pearl reader” the playset will react with lights, sounds, and spoken secrets from Waverly and her friends. You can buy more mermaids separately for $7.99 a piece, and each includes a magic pearl containing her secrets. You can also buy collectible Pearl Seashells, and each comes with another magic pearl as well as a pearl pet. All told there are over 20 different pearls you can collect.
So would I recommend it….
At first I thought the playset was flimsy, but it’s actually holding up over the long term very well. The shell has come apart at least a dozen times, but it’s easy enough to pop back together. The one thing I truly dislike is how loud it is. This thing needs a volume control. I can hear mermaids divulging their secrets from two rooms away.
My favourite part is the Pearl Seashells. The price point is surprisingly low ($4.99). The small seashells are really well made, easy to open and shut, and incredibly durable. The wee pets are adorable, soft molded plastic with a nice level of detail. And I love that the Pearl Pets fit inside the closed shells. The fact that they also come with a pearl which gives the Magic Seashell Playset something else to interact with is bonus.
My daughters enjoy the playset, and play with it fairly frequently. And I will admit, I love overhearing two-year old Baby-G interacting with and talking to the seashell play set. The pearl plops down, the playset blares out “My favourite colour is pink, what’s yours?” and she shyly responds. “Hi. Hi there. I … I like.. Orange!” (And here is where I am going to add in, this set is totally not appropriate for two year olds, has many small parts and is definitely a choking hazard. The box suggests ages four and up. However I have a hard time keeping Baby-G away from what her sister is playing with. So feel free to think I’m a bad parent when I talk about my two year old playing with this, just don’t take it as an endorsement to give it to your own wee babes.)
Overall, if your child enjoys small doll play, or has a mermaid fixation like mine does, she will likely enjoy Waverly and the Magic Seashells. And I actually highly recommend the Pearl Seashell Pets, as both the quality and the play value is high on these low priced add on sets. You should be able to find Waverly and her friends at your local Toys R Us.
To learn more about Waverly and the Magic Seashells:
– visit the official website.
– connect with the manufacturer, The Bridge Direct, on Facebook.
– connect with the manufacturer, The Bridge Direct, on Twitter.