Forget old MacDonald — Kids can have their own farm! And on that farm, they’ll have a tractor, a loader, a dozen cows, and more.
The John Deere Buildables Barn Set by TOMY is designed for kids ages 6 and up, and it’s a great option for kids who have shown interest in farming and/or farm vehicles. As the name suggests, the first part of the play experience comes in building the entire playset.
The kit comes in a variety of small pieces — 203 of them, to be exact. Some, including the cows and many of the vehicle components, are made of plastic. The remaining pieces are made of sturdy paper material, and kids punch out those pieces from nine punch-out cards. The kit also comes with an instruction guide, which walks kids through the assembly process for various components of the barn scene, from the barn itself to the fence and the hay bales. The guide is chunked into sections, which makes it easy for kids to keep track of what they have and have not built.
The durable paper components are all numbered to help ensure that they are using the right pieces at the right time. Building the set isn’t overly complicated, and it’s entirely mess-free! All of the pieces (even the plastic ones) are designed to slot together, without any glue or other adhesive. However, some of the pieces do have smaller pieces to punch out within them, and slotting the pieces together in exactly the right way can be a bit tricky. Most older kids and tweens will be able to build the set on their own, but younger kids will benefit from adult guidance and assistance. I would also encourage kids to only punch out the pieces they need for the step they are completing. Punching out all of the pieces at the start would make it much more difficult to keep track of where each piece goes, and increases the odds of losing a piece.
Overall, the process of building the set is a great exercise in following instructions and using fine motor skills. It took me about an hour to construct the complete barn scene, so it should keep kids occupied for a good chunk of time. However, the play doesn’t stop when the barn is built!
Once they have a completed scene, kids can use the barn, animals, vehicles, and fence pieces for imaginative play. They can arrange and rearrange the farm configuration, transport the hay, and create a variety of other farming adventures. If constructed properly, the pieces all feel very sturdy and should hold up to hands-on play. Many of the pieces even feature interactive elements: The vehicle wheels roll, the back of the trailer can open and shut for storage, and most of the vehicles can park inside the barn.
When playtime is over, the set won’t take too much room to store. However, the constructed barn and vehicles won’t fit back in the original box. I would recommend using a plastic bag or a small storage container to store the set. It has a lot of small pieces that you won’t want to lose!
This John Deere construction set is packed with play value, but perhaps the most notable feature is the price. At $14.99, it is an incredibly budget-friendly option. And with almost no plastic waste, it’s also an eco-friendly addition to the playroom.