As much as I love (and welcome) children's electronic toys and 'plastic fantastic' as a wise man once described them - I do have a never-ending fondness for traditional toys - stacking toys, dolls houses, puzzles. All that's needed is a little pair of hands and an imagination.
When I heard about The Slow Toys Movement which launched last year, I was very excited. The Slow Toy movement and its awards aim to recognise the ‘real toys’ on the market that are well made, inspire the mind and provide children far more than the noise and flashing lights commonly associated with the toys of today.
Be still my beating heart!
It's with this excitement that I am announcing the winners of the first ever Slow Toys Awards! This might give you some Christmas present ideas!
Following the success of the ‘Slow Toy Movement’ last year, this year the team decided to return to inspire and challenge the industry once again and develop the campaign significantly by announcing the first ever Slow Toy Awards.
The original concept was to raise awareness of the increasing presence of battery operated plastic toys that distract children with countless functions and the subsequent move away from traditional toys. The disappearance of the educational abacus, the beautifully crafted wooden toy and the much loved dolls house that encourages creativity and imagination is very much the issue at the heart of this campaign.
These toys have been awarded by the judging panel for encouraging traditional play, boosting creative thinking, inspiring the developments of one’s own imagination. They are not made of plastic, are without batteries and are sold in independent toy shops. They are durable, stand the test of time, without thousands of different functions and, are officially Slow Toys!
Following some vigorous judging by the panel, which included: Peter Jenkinson from Toyology, Al Boxall-Gordon from IzziwizziKids, and three mummy bloggers: Nicola from ‘Monsters Funhouse’, Fiona from ‘Mummys Little Stars’ and Kate from ‘What me and the Boys say’ here are the winners of 2012:
The Wonderworld Eco House by Wonderworld is made entirely from sustainable rubberwood and is essentially a traditional dolls house with furniture and a family, but with a modern twist. All sides of the house are open to allow easy access for small hands and encourage children to play together, whilst the Eco features help to teach children about the environment and ways in which they can save energy around the home. Included in the Eco House are recycling bins, a water butt, solar panels, an electric bike, wind turbine, 3 family members and furniture. And the best bit, for every tree used in manufacture, another 2 are planted in conjunction with Thai farmers
Rory Story Cubes, by Coiledspring Games - A game of nine dice, each face with a different image on it! Players simply roll the dice and tell a story with the pictures in front of you. With over 10 million different combinations, you can be sure that you’ll never tell the same story twice! Instead of sitting in front of television and watching a story unfold, a round of Rory’s Story Cubes will get children really thinking outside the box. A child’s imagination knows no limits, so the stories are sure to be inventive, witty and highly original! All you need to play Rory’s Story Cubes is an active imagination and a sense of adventure!
Oobicoo, by Totseat - Oobicoo is an enchanting, soft and huggable toy tot who at 60cm tall, is the perfect size to be an instant baby brother, sister or best friend to a toddler. Oobicoo was designed to be dressed in hand-me-down-baby clothes, a simple idea that encourages the reuse of outgrown baby clothes, providing Oobicoo with an instant wardrobe - all ready for imaginative play! And best of all with each sale, Oobicoo raises money for the Children's Immunology Fund. Oobicoo encourages creativity and imagination and is ideal to help develop communication skills. What’s even better is, Oobicoo is completely eco friendly having been manufactured from recycled and recyclable materials.
Multi-solution Puzzle, by P’kolino - In four unique designs, the multi-solution puzzle is made from chunky durable wood, perfect for little hands. The puzzles develop a child’s ability to creatively solve challenges as they have many solutions holding their attention for longer. Best of all the clever designs mean age is not necessarily a barrier to enjoying the creativity of these puzzles. Imaginative, educational and a great design, these fun toys are the next generation of wooden puzzles.
Wondecube, by My Wonder - The sheer delight little ones get from tearing wet wipes out of the packet is the inspiration behind this activity toy – a simple soft box with squares to pull out! Each square has a different feel and sound to explore and the pieces can be pulled apart, stuck back together and rearranged in any order. Suitable from birth, it can help stimulate babies’ senses and develop their fine motor skills.
It’s also designed to grow with the child. With a choice of innovative add- on fillings, suited to each child’s needs - including numbers, letters, animals and storybooks - the adaptability and versatility of this simple cube is infinite. The Fairtrade My Wondercube is made from organic woven cotton and is ethically produced and eco-friendly. This wonderful box of tricks is educational and hours of fun and is a toy that will endure and amuse for years.
Stacking Hoops, by Play to Z - A gorgeous and ethical sensory-rich alternative to a traditional stacking toy. Stacking hoops gives children the freedom to simply explore and play as they wish, exploring the hoops individually or following their own mission of stacking and sorting. The unusual sensory appeal of the carefully sourced items and fascinating stories ensure maximum appeal. This resource inspires discussion, investigation and imagination galore.
Commenting on the awards and the exciting news announcement, Founder of the original movement and the brains behind the awards, Thierry Bourret, said: “I have always longed for this Bourret, said: level of appreciation for good quality, well-made toys that encourage traditional play and stimulate a child’s imagination. I am overwhelmed that not only have we found seven wonderful products, we have also managed to team up with one of the country’s most prestigious departments stores to help spread the word!
He continued: “I am delighted to say the first ever Slow Toy awards have been a huge success. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to enter but, most importantly, a big thanks to the judges who generously gave their time to review all the products.”
I am in completely love with the Stacking hoops - how beautiful are they! Congratulations to all the well-deserved winners.
Please note: I have not been compensated for this post in any way - it's something I am genuinely interested in and wanted to share.