The idea of the Slow Toy Awards which is only in its second (or is it third?) year (so I can forgive myself for missing it the first time round) is to celebrate the traditional and imaginative toys that are ever so often forgotten in a Toy Industry driven by big Marketing Budgets and their loud voices.
I'm not for a second saying that I don't like a lot of the "Plastic" toys out there, a quick look through my blog with let you see that isn't the case.
I do love plastic toys, but I'm also very ecologically conscious and I know that plastic as a material only has a finite life. Even in the last four years I've seen the price of plastic toys (most of them) slowly increase and a few of the toy manufactures I've spoken to have cited a rise in the cost of plastic as the main cause.
The Slow toy awards is a great idea and it's a real refreshingly different approach to the norm. When i see the top list for Christmas and the Dream Toys lists coming out I can't help but think in a slightly cynical manner that all the usual suspects are nearly always in attendance. In most cases they have brought out great toys, but I have to ask myself how many nudge nudge wink wink deals are done behind closed curtains year after year with the main "Awards". I'm probably completely of the mark and I can almost hear the "Industry" insiders calling for my head, but each year I see the same usual suspects represented, it make me wonder.
The Slow toy Awards is totally different though.
Here we have a "No Batteries included" requirement and I don't mean the normal, buy a toy that needs 10 batteries to run, but of course do you find them included, of course bloody not.
So in the list of finalists chosen by Thierry Bourret MD of Asobi who created the award in 2011. The final seven were chosen by a select group of undercover crack team specialists.. erm sorry wrong post... they were a panel of judges chosen for their dedication to traditional and imaginative play among children.
So What is a Slow Toy I Hear You Ask?
Well a slow toy is one that:
- not made of plastic
- ethically sourced
- fun to play with
- without batteries
- sold in independent toy shops
- is a durable toy
- without thousands of different functions
Of course Thierry Bourret has a vested interest in these types of toys as he runs a Wholesale business distributing these to small businesses up and down the county. But In my opinion he should be applauded for setting this up, something like this has been needed in this plastic driven industry for a long time.
When I look back at all the toys we have inherited over the years , the ones that have lasted have been the ones made of wood. All the plastic ones have broken in some way or other. the Wooden ones will be the ones we pass on to our families or friends children, perhaps even our own grand children?
The Seven Slow Toy 2013 Winners
So here are the lovely toys that have been chosen that best represent the essence of what is deemed to be a "Slow Toy".
Bigjigs' Around the World Train Set
The Bigjigs' Around the World Train Set is a lovely train set that's perfect for a beginner set. Ripe for expansion but giving you all your children would need to get chugging with their trains and working out how the tracks go together.
I really can't speak highly enough of this type of Train Set as we inherited a load of this style of train set and no doubt along the line we will be passing it on to one of our relatives or friends.
These style of train sets (and there are lots of different brands that all fit together) really are the sort of toys that will be passed down, they are hard as nails and so easy for children to just pick up and play with.
The Activity Cube from East Coast
We had one of these The Activity Cubes donated to our local playgroup, you will find me down there every Monday Morning with Rosie nattering to all the other Mums and Dads. Every week the The Activity Cube (I don't think it's quite the same model but it's very similar!) gets taken out of the cupboard and played with by a host of eager children. it's just the right height for the really young ones to use it to pull themselves up.
Featuring loads of things similar to this the one we have played with really helps children to develop their fine motor and problem solving skills.
The Tiny Trike from Galt
I love the look of the uber cutie Tiny Trike from Galt, you can just tell by looking at this picture that this is a toy that will be around for generations. It's the sort of toy that you will be able to fix with a bit of glue and screws if it should break. You could paint it and it would be fine it would just keep on trucking. A true timeless classic.
Haba's My First Play World Fire Brigade
A fantastic Fire set with a twist, totally made of natural and lovely wood, that will just last and last and last. Again this toy will be passed down from child to child for years. A real delight.
The Multi Models Set from Meccano
I remember my first Meccano set, I must have been seven or eight years old. The hours I spent working out what I could make with all those bits.... it was great. I've got it in a cupboard somewhere, still in the box along with my Wife's set (might have actually been my Sister In Laws?) ready to be given to my Son when he is old enough. Now that is the mark of a great toy. 30 years later and not much has changed really, Meccano is still following the tried and tested formula and I fully expect this set to be enjoyed by a whole swathe of new children up and down the country.
Twig from Fat Brain Co
When I first saw this I though "What is That?" It looks so different and don't get me wrong, I mean that in a very positive way. It's basically a twist on the old-time classic of building block, but with a lot of thought put into providing different shapes, that will test your child's imagination.
Dolls Pram from Moover
Bringing up the rear and making it slow seven toys, is the truly timeless Dolls Pram from Moover. Let it be known here, I am a man and I shouldn't like stuff like this, but seriously this is straight up brilliant. I can see this being used by children for years, then it will be passed on to more children, and then more and then more. Eventually this is the sort of toy that a collector would put on show, a stylist would used to prop a room. It's beautiful and made all the better for being made of wood.
I want to get one for Rosie, I'm going to get one for Rosie!
The Slow Toys Award 2013 Conclusion
The Slow Toy Awards is a great idea, it's one I'll be coming every year from now on and hopefully next year I will be able to get down to London to try out the Slow Toys for 2014!