Stretching potential

Archive for the ‘Classic Toys’ Category

Nuremburg Toy Fair: Retro trends

In the same way that we can all remember our favourite toy as a kid, parents usually want their children to experience the same joy with those toys that they did.  Did you have Cabbage Patch Dolls or My Little Pony?  Did you collect Forrest Families? Were you constantly terrorising your sister with a slimy stretchy hand or collect Micro Machines? Do you have a box of your toys in a cupboard somewhere or do your kids get to play with them?  One of the hot trends identified at this year’s Spielwarenmesse was Retro Mania – toys that we grew up with and toys that look like they come straight from the 50s!

The first was this new and improved version of the Tamagotchi – and I was shocked to think that this is a retro toy.  Tamagotchi’s sparked a craze in the 90s. 17 years after their first release they are now available as Tamagotchi Friends. Bumping them against each other allows them to communicate, they can go on “play dates” and have an iPhone and Android app.

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The next retro toy was a mini radio which the child can assemble – and it really works!

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Or how about this stove from Grandma’s?

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IMHO I don’t really think that a digital take on an old toy qualifies as a retro trend, but what if the toy was digital to begin with?  What do you think?

If you’d like to take a trip down memory lane, why not visit this blog for slinkies, snap bangles and sticky hands?

Happy playing!

Book: Playvolution

Straight Zigzag is getting ready for the launch of their book, Playvolution – The Ultimate Guide to Developing Valuable Experiences Through Play.

Go to www.playvolutionbook.com to sign up.  You’ll get information regarding release dates and where the book can be ordered, as well as FREE DOWNLOADS of great things to keep the preschoolers busy.

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Happy playing!

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Impressions from Spielwarenmesse 2014

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I’ve just returned home from a crazy week-long trip to Nuremberg, Germany, where anyone who’s anyone in the toy world, from maufacturer to retailer, has been meeting new people and showcasing their ideas. Twelve massive halls presented every toy you can imagine.  Halls with dolls and puppets, to model railways, to tech toys and new trends.  Countries presented the very best they had to offer.  While some designers punted the traditional and classic toys in a new way, others made apps to drag every possible play thing into the digital era.

I have posted a short 2-min video for those who would like a visual walk-through…

One of the most exciting concepts at the fair was the addition of a Trend Gallery, in which new toy trends are analysed and presented.  I will be covering each of these in separate blog posts over the coming weeks.

Another highlight was the release of two fantastic new toys from Moluk, the Oogi and Plui Rain Cloud.  These will also be covered in their own blog post and we’ll send you links for their videos as soon as we have them.

Happy playing!

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Wait but why: a blog about those toys from yesteryear..

Wait but why: a blog about those toys from yesteryear..

So as I’ve mentioned before, we will not try to reinvent the wheel here.  We’re quite happy to draw your attention to the works of others who seem to have a unique grip on the concepts of “play” and “toys” – whether those be old or new, popular or not.  If you grew up in the 80s, then take the time to read this post from “wait but why”.  Happy reminiscing!

Tinkering and learning and playing co-exist

My brother was a “tinkerer” as a child, and tinkering as a form of play can have far-reaching benefits.  Check out this article from the Wall Street Journal:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303610504577418230462238156.html …

The Search is ON

In a day and age where children are drawn to the latest branded and battery-operated toys, as an occupational therapist I’m searching for classic toys.  By classic, I mean toys that in their simplicity afford children multiple developmental opportunies – for gross and fine motor skills, creative and imaginative thinking, perceptual development, sensory exploration, role playing and interaction with others.

History has given a few obvious classics.  Building blocks can be so much more than towers.  They can be cars, gates and trains.  Villages and cities. Snakes and elephants. castles and dungeons. Pathways and roadblocks. Another homemade toy is the cotton reel – which can be turned into anything from wheels to french knitting.

Today I would like to introduce to you the Bilibo.  This is a dome-shaped bucket/recepticle, with a wavy edge and two holes.  It’s hard to describe for you because it’s not a “thing” that we are familiar with.  In it’s very uniqueness comes the challenge – what is it? What can I do with it? How do I play with it?  And through these questions, the child starts to explore the essence of play.  Although not a classic, it will be lauded in the future for its unique contribution to development in a technologically focused world.  To read more, go to http://www.bilibo.com

What can you do with your Bilibo? Who can you be?

What can you do with your Bilibo? Who can you be?

What toys would you nominate as classics?  All suggestions welcome, and happy playing!

We’re here!

Hi everybody!

We’re every excited about this support service for parents.  We’d like to provide online advice for early intervention, sensory processing disorders etc, and hope to have a few toys and books available in the near future.  We will let you know when you can check out our website.

Please feel free to send us your comments, needs and ideas!  Otherwise, have a look at the therapy-related blog Big ideas for little people!