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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

One 2 Believe Nativity Set

One of the first products we received to review was a nativity set by One 2 Believe (makers of the popular Tales of Glory sets and Messengers of Faith dolls) . My kids could not wait to rip the box open, and I totally sympathize. I remember as a child LOVING to play with the nativity, and ours was not kid-friendly. While my mom still has the set, more than a few critters have lost their legs from our not-so-tender care. And that's what I think is exciting about this set-it's made for the kids to play with.
The best thing about the church we used to attend was their Sunday School curriculum called Godly Play. The idea is to present the story from the Bible in a low key, purely scriptural sort of way, and then after the kids hear the story, let them EXPERIENCE it by playing with the figures. They can work through the story, or use the figures in an entirely different way, but either way, the learning is reinforced because THEY are experiencing it themselves. Nativity Sets like this one from One 2 Believe allow them to do just that.
On the "pros" side, I would say this is a very complete set, with 17 figures and a small story book. You get the manger, all the standard figures, and lots of critters. The set has held up very well for us, despite it's not-so-regal storage in a bin full of Little People. The figures are designed for children to play with, and if you read my blog post here, you will see that Sari jumped right in and blended it with our other figures to create her own stories too. I also want to mention that I like that Baby Jesus is separate, so if you chose to, you could refrain from put Jesus in the scene until Christmas Eve, which is what we do with our traditional nativity.
I have just a few things on the "cons" side, (although I'm not sure I'd really call them "cons"), the first being that the figures are a appearance, much like the Tales of Glory and Messengers of Faith figures are. None of my kids commented on this though. Also, I have heard from other reviews that the star over the stable was able to be pulled off in a few sets, but not true on ours-it has held firm. Some reviewers also had problems with the set being made in China and of PVC, but the company responded with this reply , "All Tales of Glory toys have been tested by an independent third party testing facility and comply with ASTM standards. All toys are free from harmful chemicals and are safe." I don't have any kids who eat toys anyway, so it's not a concern for me, but you need to make your own decisions. My biggest concern would probably be the price. It's $24.99, which might be a little steep for some (although I think the Little People one is about the same) directly from One 2 Believe. You can also get it from CBD (it was even on the cover of their catalog, which my kids thought was cool) for $17.99 right now.
So the bottom line is that my kids really enjoyed this Nativity Set. Sari plays with it, or parts of it, daily. I'm impressed enough that I would definitely buy their other sets. If children are drawn toward playing with small figurines, why not have them be small Biblical figurines? What's cooler than dukin' it out with Daniel and the lions? (Yes, I know the "duking it out" part is not scriptural, but small boys will do what small boys will do.) And who needs Rescue Heroes when you have Bible heroes? If you are looking for ways for your children's toys to be glorifying to God but not overly stuffy and pious, the Tales of Glory (One 2 Believe) Nativity and their other figure sets are the way to go.
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