In an age where iPads and plastic fads abound, it is not surprising to hear that there is a growing trend for toys that will stand the test of time. We all have a toy like this: a much loved teddy bear, a dog-eared picture book or a tired board game. But what toys of today will last in this way, to be handed down to subsequent generations?
The ‘slow food’ movement was famously founded to combat fast food culture by celebrating traditional cuisine. Along similar lines, a ‘slow toys’ movement has now been pioneered by French toy manufacturer Bourret, in order to celebrate toys which are traditional and timeless.
The resulting Slow Toy Awards are now handed out by the manufacturer to toys which meet this criteria. Recent shortlisted toys include a set of wooden blocks, a toy till and a finger puppet kit. Plastic toys and passing fads do not feature on the list!
If you would like to introduce your child to the slow toy ethos, we have compiled a list of the top timeless toys on the market.
Train Sets, Dolls Houses and Play Kitchens
Train sets and dolls houses are classic timeless toys; many nineteenth-century examples of these toys remain in the collections of the V&A Museum of Childhood in London. Play kitchens are also very popular at the moment, and while there are many plastic varieties, the most popular are will traditional wooden kitchens.
Neither will date, and both will ensure hours of make-believe fun for generations of children. Train sets that are wooden will endure far better than cheaper plastic sets, and the same goes for dolls houses: well-built and durable dolls houses will stand the test of time.
Lego and Playmobil
Lego and Playmobil are perennial favourites. They are toys which are built to last and, being simple, are also timeless. Lego blocks offer endless imaginative possibilities for children, who can build houses and castles to their heart’s content. Lego is also excellent for development, helping children to boost their coordination and creativity.
A huge range of Playmobil sets are also available; from soldiers and princesses to pirates and cowboys. These sorts of characters will always be popular with children, who will love having adventures with these classic toys.
Board games are a great investment, as they offer fun for the whole family. Well-made sets will also last generations, especially those which are wooden.
Classic games are the most likely to stand the test of time: chess sets, Scrabble, Cluedo and Monopoly are just some of the family favourites that are taken down from the shelf year after year. Especially popular at Christmas or on holidays, these games can become special family heirlooms.
Books are the childhood items which are most frequently kept and cherished. They can become very sentimental keepsakes; reminders of special time reading with parents or grandparents.
Many like to revisit their childhood heroes with their own kids, too. Whether it’s Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland or Peter Pan, illustrated editions of these classic texts will become cherished items. Books also make wonderful presents, and messages written inside volumes will stand the test of time.
Good quality toys that are designed to last will provide your children with fond memories of childhood and also make great keepsakes that can be passed down through the generations. Forget hi-tech gadgets, it is time to embrace the slow toy revolution.
John Bellusci is a writer for Cottage Toys, one of the leading online boutiques for traditional wooden toys and baby gifts.