Several years ago I was looking for an areoplane for Ben because he was obsessed with them, we lived under the main flight path into Auckland Airport at the time, so he saw them everyday.
The only decent plane I could find was this one. A WOW toy, battery free, high quality, British designed, developmental toy which are guaranteed favorites with all pre school children.
It came with a pilot and an animal and has friction wheels, so you can run it along the ground and the propellers go round. It is a really solid toy and the best part is it requires NO batteries to make the parts move, which any mother will tell you is definitely a bonus.
This then lead us on to getting the helicopter, which is an animal rescue one, comes with several animals and the helicopter has a magnet, so you can pretend to fly down and grab the animal and fly it to safety. Again it has a friction button to make the blades go round and no batteries, in fact all WOW toys require NO batteries, so I love them.
We, over the time, have also collected the twin racing cars and the out door adventurer. Both allow much interaction and imaginative play, and everything goes together. All the people are the same size and can fit in any vehicle etc.
Alex has just found all these toys again in the toy box and now we regularly hear him playing along with them, talking to the people using lots of imaginative playing.
I think we might even have to look at getting another piece for him for Christmas as we need something aimed at his age group to get him, and although he loves all the toys Ben got for his birthday, we don't want Alex to suddenly jump 2 years in the types of toys he plays with when he is after all only 3yrs and needs to still learn what 3/4 yr olds learn at this age.