Note: I have a bunch of great photos, but Blogger won't let me upload any. I will be updating this soon - I hope!
This past Friday, I hosted several of Little Miss and Mister Man's friends at our house for a Mommy Party by Schleich. I have to be honest that I'd never heard of Bayala before, but they were a huge hit.
Bayala is a world filled with elve and animals. The figurines are pretty tiny, and when I first unwrapped the box they came in, I assumed they were ceramic because of the intricate detail each figurine has - from the tiny gold threading in the bodice of one elf's dress to the nails in the shoes of a horse. I was a little concerned about how quickly they'd get broken given the delicate pieces such as the horns on the caribou. Fortunately, I was mistaken, and these are flexible plastic molded figures that do not appear in any danger of breaking whatsoever.
When the party began, the third grade sister and her friend of one of the attendees came in during drop off and immediately gravitated to the elves and animals. They picked them up and started playing with them on and around Shadow Rock, and they did not want to leave. They were eventually forced out (not by me!), and all they did was tell that mom how wonderful Bayala was and how they wanted to play, too. I loved that these were toys that older children wanted to play with, too.
The younger children - the kindergarteners, first graders, and second graders - had just as much fun with the Bayala figurines. Everyone was able to choose their favorite figures without (too much) fighting over who gets what. Luckily, we were sent enough that everyone was able to take home at least one figurine, and several children took home multiples.
The girls, not surprisingly were drawn toward the fairy looking elves - Marween, Florindel, and Feya. The boys were drawn towards the warrior-looking elves, Gregis, and Apricum. It was interesting to see the games they set up and played, especially since none of them knew the stories behind Bayala. There isn't a tv series or movie that supports these figurines, which I like, as it gives the children a chance to really use their imaginations more - and use their imaginations they did!
I had several games set up for the kids to play that were Bayala themed, but I didn't even convince most of them to stop playing with the figurines long enough to eat the snacks I'd made, let alone play a different game. It was nice to see how entertained they were on their own with the toys.
There isn't a Schleich relailer near me - which may be why I hadn't heard of these before - but you can purchase them online if there isn't a store near you that carries them. There are many online retailers that carry them from Target to Think Fast Toys to Funagain Games to Amazon.
Given the intricate detail available on the toys, I was expecting them to be exhoritantly expensive, as creating molding like that can't be cheap. They aren't as expensive as I'd feared, though. The suggested price appears to be in the $14 to $17 range, with many on sale for $10 or $11 apiece.
Considering that the wee ones have played with the Bayala figurines every spare moment they've had since Friday (including Little Miss playing with them now while I finish writing this), I'd say that isn't bad at all. I do love the fact that these weren't play with them once and then ignore them toys and also that both boys and girls were interested in them and found ways to play - with all the figurines we had to choose from.
Every hour or so, I get a call from the wee ones to "take another picture of Bayala, Mommy!" because they created a new way to play and want me to capture it. And who am I to discourage that creativity, especially when these toys don't involve the guns or knives or fighting that so many others do. It's refreshing.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received toys from MomSelect and Schleich to host a Bayala party. The wee ones were able to keep two of the figurines each; the remainder were given to attendees of the party. I received no compensation, and all opinions expressed are my own.