Chuck's Stunt Park from Tonka Chuck and Friends

Set Discontinued by Hasbro, But Still Available Online

Tonka Chuck truck and playset gift for grandchildren
The new generation Tonka trucks make great playthings for grandchildren. Courtesy of Amazon.com

Just when you think there's nothing new in the toy world, along comes something like Tonka Chuck and Friends playsets. The motorized vehicles have wheels that mesh with the tracks on the playsets, enabling them to do various stunts. Chuck's Stunt Park allows Chuck to do flips and hang from two wheels on the stunt track. It's quite an ingenious concept.

Today's Tonkas

Remember when it might be said of rowdy children that they could tear up a Tonka truck?

Tonkas used to be practically indestructible metal behemoths. They were hard to break but could also be hard on fingers, toes and furniture.

Today's Tonkas are a bit kinder and gentler, especially the Chuck and Friends line, but the motorized Chuck and Friends playsets will provide enough action for rowdy little boys, and girls, too.

What We Liked

The stunt set is designed to maximize the child's interaction with the toy. There's a crank that the child must turn to lift the truck up to start its journey. The pieces of track and the other parts of the playset don't snap together, so the child must constantly realign the pieces and guide Chuck through his paces. Active play is required, rather than just the turning of a switch. 

If you have more than one of the Tonka Chuck playsets, the kids can arrange the various pieces in creative ways. 

On a less positive note, younger children may be easily frustrated by the fact that the tracks move and require frequent adjustments.

 If your grandchild is a toddler or even a preschooler, you may have to help quite a bit with the toy. Grandchildren who are school-age should be able to manage Chuck on their own. 

What What You May Not Like

The playset comes with batteries that allow it to make some cool sound effects, but Chuck requires batteries that are not supplied.

That would be okay except that the screws are deeply set in, and a particular type of small screwdriver is required to install the batteries. Some grandparents may not own the screwdriver that is needed for this task. If an eager child is waiting for the toy, that could spell trouble. The manufacturer should have provided a small screwdriver if this particular battery configuration was necessary.

Limited Availability

This particular playset has been discontinued by Hasbro, but is still available from other sellers. You may, however, pay a premium price.

Some of the toys in the Chuck line are still being produced by Hasbro. Check out the Hasbro website to see what is available, and look for the free Chuck printables while you are there.

By the way, Hasbro should get a tip of the hat for posting instruction pamphlets online, even for discontinued items. This is especially helpful for frugal grandparents who may buy toys for the grandchildren at thrift shops abd garage sales. 

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