We were lucky enough to have a Granddad who was skilled in carpentry, so growing up we were surrounded by a beautifully crafted wooden farm, garage, doll’s house, baby’s cot. The list went on. And we played with them, loved them and probably took them all for granted. Amazingly, a lot of them are still in good shape for my little girl to enjoy 30 something years later (following a good clean).
I had similar ambitions for her toys and she’s always had just as much fun playing with simpler toys as the coloured plastic, flashing lights ones. But a quick look at her toy box shows me I haven’t always got the balance between the two toy camps right. So this Christmas we’re going to do it differently. We’re embracing slow toys: for her and for the other children we buy for.
The Slow Toy Movement – started in 2011 – celebrates toys that are carefully made, not entirely plastic, are available at independent shops, display craft and, even better, won’t leave you rummaging around for four triple A batteries at 6am on Christmas morning. Any extra investment should be worth it for their longevity; hopefully some of them will last for my little one’s children in another few decades.
Here are my slow toys top five for Christmas 2014:
1. For my one year old niece – Jamm Scoot Wooden Moped Scooter from Indigo Jamm (£52.99)
How sweet (and fun) does this look? My two year old still rides on her toy car now, so I know this one will last. Plus my in-laws have a nice open plan space without carpets to aid her whizzing along.
2. For my daughter’s three year old best friend – a Doctor’s Set (£35)
Vintage style with a lot of fun accessories, I would have loved to have this as a little girl. The fabric bag also looks beautifully made. The two of them will love to play this together (and it’s good for sharing practice!)
3. For our four year old godchild – Paperpod Cardboard Rocket Play House (£29.99)
She loves her indoor tent and I think her and her sister will love this. Plus her mum is very creative so I’m sure she’ll soon be painting and doodling on the outside. I love the fact it’s a blank canvas for creative play (but I doubt this one will be as long lasting as some of the others!)
4. For the awkward tweens – Meccano Multi Models 15 Model Set (£22)
Meccano is great for firing the imagination with so many model possibilities. It’s a toy that’s been around a long time and is still just as good. (For younger children – particularly girls – I also love GoldieBlox but there’s a lot of plastic involved so probably not one for this list.)
5. For my little girl – Toyday Dolls House With Furniture and Doll Family (£25)
It may not have all the charm of my homemade doll’s house but this one’s affordable and compact for small spaces – like my little girl’s boxroom nursery. There’s also a ready-made wooden family and furnishings.
Here’s the the John Lewis selection for further inspiration – this marks the first year a major retailer has supported the Slow Toy Awards. Whether you choose to slow down your toy choices or not, have a fantastic Christmas, batteries permitting!