One of my all-time favorite Bible stories is that of Noah's Ark. When I was younger, the thought of pairs of animals – lions, elephants, bears and giraffes with long necks hanging out windows- all floating on a boat during a world-wide flood was just plain fun. Now, as an adult strongly in the Young Earth and Creationist camp, I find the details of a world-wide flood absolutely fascinating. What a better way to share this Bible story and the details surrounding it with young children than through toys?
One2Believe has a variety of Bible-teaching toys to use with children at home or church. In October, I reviewed a nativity set by this company. Up for review this time is a Noah's Ark set. Included in this set are pairs of elephants, sheep, donkeys, camels, ostriches, lions, and monkeys with an ark large enough to contain them all. Noah, of course, is included to tend to all the animals.
When the box arrived, my 9-year-old was begging to pry it open. I encouraged him to complete his schoolwork, but alas, he had become fixated. During his next break, he happily took me up on my offer to bust out the ark. My 12-year-old daughter joined in to create the animal parade up the ramp and on to the deck. Giggles surfaced once they realized the return of the smiling camel and bug-eyed donkey from the nativity set. Both of my kids are outside of the target age for this product, but they enjoyed it as a playful diversion from their school work that day.
I next took the ark to our class day with our local homeschool support group. My first tester was a little 4-year-old boy appropriately named Noah, who was to happy to play while he waited for his older siblings in class. After I showed him how to open the ark, which is a bit tricky, he quickly became engaged in playing with the animals. The ramp to the ark was a bit difficult for his little hands, but it just gave the animals more adventure getting to the deck! The 3" pieces seemed to be the optimum size, just large enough to fit in small hands easily. After Noah's turn, a group of girls in the 5-8 age range asked if they could take the ark to play in the other room. It disappeared for a couple hours before being returned with a thank you for the opportunity to play with it. Overall, the play set seemed to have earned kid-approval.
This certainly is a comical set with animated animals, some of which aren't your typical passengers in other ark sets I've seen. While I originally felt that the plastic ark was a bit too flimsy, I realized that the fact that the ark can float adds considerable play value. A heavier construction may result in a sinking ship; a capsized ark would be no fun in the tub. For younger kids who are prone to mouthing smaller items, you may want to set Noah's removable staff aside. Speaking of Noah, he's the only on the ark that is missing a mate and is the sole human on this voyage. One mom suggested that Mrs. Noah was below deck taking care of the animals. Knowing how things work at my house, that sounds reasonable to me! Perhaps she was successful in enlisting the help of her sons and wives too.
Overall, this set is an excellent way to introduce the stories of the Bible through play. It will storm the raging waters of the bathtub, serve as a teaching tool at Sunday School or home and engage the imagination to better understand the truths of the Bible.
Visit One2Believe to purchase the Noah's Ark set, which retails for $29.99, and other products from the Tales of Glory line of Biblically- based toys.
Did this toy float or sink with the other TOS Crew members? Read more reviews at the Official TOS Crew Blog.