Having a child with autism can present all sorts of difficulties when it comes to toys. I have no idea of how much money we’ve
spent wasted over the almost six years of Tink’s life, on toys that she simply isn’t interested in – or doesn’t know how to play with. We realised quite early on that jigsaws weren’t really her thing, which is a shame, as I love them. Imaginative play can be difficult for children on the spectrum, so she’s never really done too much of that, although she does love to put on a costume and jump around a bit!
We have one of those Ikea Kallax units with the boxes, crammed full of toys that barely get a look-in; Peppa Pig playsets, cuddly toys, puppets, the few puzzles we did try, Fuzzy Felt, Duplo, Playmobil… However, one thing she really does seem to enjoy are toys that have an element of cause and effect. She recently discovered an old marble run set in H’s room and enjoyed playing with it – for about ten minutes until it fell apart and she couldn’t put it back together!
Haba Toys, a German company, have a wonderful selection of the most beautiful toys; many are wooden and have that slightly European feel that you get in Ikea! They sent us an amazing set to review, and I just knew Tink would love it!
Kullerbü Giant Rally Track, by Haba Toys
The Kullerbü play system is huge and interchangeable. There are several different sets, all which could combine together to make different setups, and there are expansion packs available if you just want to expand your set in height or length, rather than buy a whole new setup. We tried out the ‘Giant Rally Track’ set.
Aside from the pictures on the box, there aren’t really any specific instructions on how to build your set; the idea is to encourage children to use their engineering skills and imaginations to build however they want. The suggested age range for the Kullerbü system is between 2 and 8 years old, but my 10-year-old enjoyed it, and even The Hubby had a sneaky play when he thought no-one was watching!
The pieces are made from quality, smooth wood and sturdy, colourful plastic. There are a variety of pieces: wooden tracks and supports, plastic connectors and curves, bridges, windmills, dominoes and a flag. And, of course, the beautifully tactile smooth wooden balls!
The pieces click together with a little bit of effort to create a wonderfully twisty, turny ball track which starts off quite high and ends further down the room on the floor!
The wooden support pillars are labelled with different numbers (and dots to represent those numbers) and colours.
There really is no right or wrong way to build the set, but I think that unless you have more than one, or an expansion pack, you will be slightly limited as to what you can create.
Tink, as I suspected, loved it! She’s fascinated by watching balls rolling, so this is absolutely perfect, and the balls are large, so I don’t have to worry about her putting small marbles in her mouth (she likes to explore this way!).
She also loved the spinning parts – the flag at the top flicks back and forth as the balls get underway and there’s a spinny windmill a little further on. Sometimes the balls would get stuck there if she had put too many down at the same time, so she had to work out how to get it going again, which is great for problem solving development.
There are some wooden dominoes which can be lined up at the end of the track, and Tink enjoyed standing these up, only to knock them down again straight away with the balls!
Tink spent a good hour playing with the Kullerbü Giant Rally Track when we first unboxed it, and she returned to it several times over the next few days until we had to tidy it away. It’s unusual for her to spend so long on something that isn’t her iPad, so I know we’re on to a winner with this!
What did we think of the Kullerbü Giant Rally Track?
- Beautiful quality
- Lovely colours
- Large balls
- Easy to store once broken up
- Brilliant for developing skills in problem solving, engineering and creativtiy
- Great for all ages, even 51-year-olds!
- Could be tricky to click together for smaller hands
- Sometimes the pieces came loose during play (but maybe I hadn’t clicked them in firmly to start!)
- Needs quite a large area to set it up
- Although a quality, well-made product, it could get expensive if you want to start adding to your set.
Overall, we loved the Kullerbü Giant Rally Track play set. It’s a great toy to draw Tink away from the iPad and she giggled when the balls flew down the tracks and over the bumpy bridge!
The Kullerbü Giant Rally Track play set is available from Haba Toys stockists, including online at Amazon, at a price of £126.52.
You might also like to read our review of The Meccano Off-Road Racer Kit!
Disclosure: we were sent a Kullerbü Giant Rally Track play set for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.
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