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<p>I am considering two different cool castles for 3.5 DS. I can see him easily integrating them into his imaginative play. He doesn't really understand castles/knights/pirates well right now but I know he will grow into it. The first seems like it might be better for a younger child. The second seems like it might appeal to an older child. Which would you pick?</p>
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<p><a href="http://www.downtoearthtoys.com/Castle-Blocks-p298.html" target="_blank">http://www.downtoearthtoys.com/Castle-Blocks-p298.html</a> Large Walnut Set</p>
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<p><a href="http://www.novanatural.com/fortress-castle" target="_blank">http://www.novanatural.com/fortress-castle</a> </p>
 

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<p>The second link doesn't work.  But, when I looked it up, I found one that is over $200.  So, for a three year old, the cost would play a huge factor in my decision.</p>
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<p><a href="http://www.novanatural.com/toys/castle-walls/castle-minis" target="_blank">http://www.novanatural.com/toys/castle-walls/castle-minis</a></p>
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<p>I did like the minis though.  They look like they could fit into a lot of other sets.</p>
 

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<p>I vote none of the above. Older kids really love detail. I would go Playmobil all the way!</p>
<p><a href="http://www.utoypia.com/playmobil.php?Name=Playmobilknights&sort=$$$-to-$&limit=10&priced=ANY" target="_blank">http://www.utoypia.com/playmobil.php?Name=Playmobilknights&sort=$$$-to-$&limit=10&priced=ANY</a></p>
 

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<p>Going by the two you posted, it looks like you want to stick with wooden toys.  If I thought my 3 year old would play with it, I'd get this one <a href="http://store.ecomom.com/Melissa-Doug-Fold-and-Castle-p/md-fold-castle.htm" target="_blank">http://store.ecomom.com/Melissa-Doug-Fold-and-Castle-p/md-fold-castle.htm</a>  I like that it folds up to travel/store AND it is 33% off through midnight today!!</p>
 

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<p>From what has been posted here I would get either the Melissa & Doug set, or the $229 wooden one.</p>
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<p>If you don't mind plastic, then as posted, there is  playmobile set, and I think Fisher Price has a Little People castle too, with knights and stuff. I have no problem with plastic toys, but I still think the wooden sets for this are way cooler!</p>
 

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<p>Hmmm, looking at the Melissa & Doug once again...I think the large wooden castle is more open -ended. I think it would integrate better wth other toys, maybe even lego, playmobil etc.</p>
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<p>If you are short of space, though, or don't have a playroom (I don't) then M & D might be better.</p>
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<p>I wold not get the one in your first link. I think it is overpriced for what it is.<span style="display:none;"> </span></p>
 

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<p>This is the corrected link: <a href="http://www.novanatural.com/toys/castle-walls/fortress-castle" target="_blank">http://www.novanatural.com/toys/castle-walls/fortress-castle</a> . Yeah, expensive I know, but the price really isn't the issue with either toy. I just want the one with the most play value. Grandma only buys two toys a year and she will happily buy whatever I pick out. She likes to buy "good toys" and is delighted when they are made in the US. Both of them deconstruct easily and will fit in our modest apartment. I looked at the playmobil but I don't think he is old enough yet plus we have a 16m who is much harder/destructive on toys then he was.</p>
 

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<p>Is he more interested in building things or in playing castle? If he's interested in building, then I'd get the nova naturals one. If it's acting out castle scenes, then something like the Melissa and Doug one, or this one <a href="http://www.cptoy.com/cgi-bin/pf.sh/2.0/product.htm?stateInfo=?&dept_id=3003&pf_id=HPE-84L&utm_source=nextag.com&utm_medium=ppc&utm_term=HPE-84L&utm_campaign=update+20101104" target="_blank">constructive playthings</a>, or this one <a href="http://www.uniquewoodentoys.com/cart.php?target=product&product_id=17643&category_id=315" target="_blank">unique wooden toys</a>  would have more play value.</p>
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<p>My kids are very into detail, so the detailed ones would be better for them. But your child might be more into building and really like to create different configurations.</p>
 

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<p>I really like the ones Lynn suggested, or maybe this Haba set:</p>
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<p><a href="http://moolka.com/jzv/prod/239/Haba/Toys/Building+Toys/Wooden+Blocks/Ghost+Tower+And+Knight%27s+Castle?p=c3E9a25pZ2h0JTI3cyt0b3dlcg==" target="_blank">http://moolka.com/jzv/prod/239/Haba/Toys/Building+Toys/Wooden+Blocks/Ghost+Tower+And+Knight%27s+Castle?p=c3E9a25pZ2h0JTI3cyt0b3dlcg==</a></p>
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<p>I know you said price isn't an issue, but I still think the 2 sets in your original post are a bit over priced for what you get.</p>
 

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<p>I'd cast another vote for Playmobil here.  Not only are Playmobil sets filled with lots of very cool little details (tinier pieces can always be put away till an older age if necessary), but they are very expandable should your ds end up getting really into it (I know you can buy all kinds of expansion parts to make the castle itself much bigger, as well as there being tons of accompanying castle/knight themed sets), AND they have great re-sale value (should he end up not being so into it after all).  I know you mention that you don't think he is old enough yet, but my ds has been playing with his older sister's playmobil sets since he was 2-ish (maybe a hair past 2, but younger than 2.5) and now will be getting some of his own sets for Christmas.  And, like I mentioned before, the extra-tiny-easily-lost bits and pieces can always be put away till he (and his younger sib) are older.  If you are looking for play value (as in: fun to play with and has the likelihood of being played with for many many years to come), then I don't think you can go wrong with Playmobil.</p>
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<p>(I promise I am not a Playmobil spokes-person!  LOL!)</p>
 

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<p>One other thought... whichever set you end up choosing, one consideration that would be on my mind would be whether the pieces lock together or not.  My ds love playing with legos (and of course playmobil, as mentioned above), but when he builds an elaborate set-up of wooden blocks he inevitably ends up upset as he accidentally knocks things over as he's trying to play with it.  The one castle you (OP) linked to where it showed the kid playing in the middle looks really cool... but if it were my ds he'd probably end up backing into walls and knocking them over (if they don't lock together in some way).  I guess it mostly depends if the joy is in the construction, or in playing with the finished product.  Anyway... just thought I'd put that out there.  :)</p>
 

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<p>One other thought... whichever set you end up choosing, one consideration that would be on my mind would be whether the pieces lock together or not. My ds love playing with legos (and of course playmobil, as mentioned above), but when he builds an elaborate set-up of wooden blocks he inevitably ends up upset as he accidentally knocks things over as he's trying to play with it. The one castle you (OP) linked to where it showed the kid playing in the middle looks really cool... but if it were my ds he'd probably end up backing into walls and knocking them over (if they don't lock together in some way). I guess whether that would be a problem or not mostly depends if the joy is in the construction, or in playing with the finished product. Anyway... just thought I'd put that out there. :)</p>
 
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