Ever looked around at your child's toy collection, with all its plastic, noisy, battery-gobbling modernity and wondered if it was time to get back to basics? Well a chap called Thierry Bourret wants to encourage us to do just that, with the launch last year of his Slow Toy Movement, (inspired in part by Slow Food) and more recently, the 2012 Slow Toy Awards.
The winners were announced at Selfridges last month, with the store stocking these items in the run up to Christmas.
Bourret's mission: to find 'real toys'...toys that are "well made, good quality and most importantly give freedom for creativity and encourage traditional play, without the distractions of flashing lights and electronic music."
The winners were selected by a panel including Al Boxall-Gordan of play website IzziWizziKids, Peter Jenkinson from toy news website Toyology, plus of course, Mr. Bourret himself. These are the playthings they picked out as their best examples of 'slow toys'.
1. Wonderworld Eco House, £112
Made from sustainably-sourced rubberwood, this is a traditional dolls' house with an eco-friendly twist. All sides of the house are left open to allow small hands to access the interior and let more than one child play with it easily at once. The 'green' features – including solar panels, wind turbine, water butt and recycling bins - help teach children about the environment and energy-saving.
A lovely dolls' house in its own right and ideal for an eco-minded family.
2. Rory's Story Cubes, RRP £10
A game using nine dice with a different image on each face. Players roll the dice and then have to create a story using the pictures. With 10 million combinations, you're unlikely to get the same ones twice! Designed to spark a child's imagination this low cost little game certainly triggered storytelling ideas when we tried it - particularly suited to long journeys.
3. Bigjigs Toys Triangular Activity Centre, £24.99
A lovely, gently educational toy for toddlers aged 12 months upwards, this features an abacus on one side, a blackboard on another and wooden letter and picture blocks too. It's got stacks of play value and all without any irritating tinny tunes or the need for batteries. This will definitely keep little ones busy and is fantastic value for money.
4. Oobicoo by Totseat, from £42.99
This 60cm tall doll is soft and huggable. Cleverly, it's designed to be dressed in old baby clothes, so although the doll itself isn't cheap, you can just use your child's outgrown outfits to dress it in! Oobicoo make a donation for each sale to the Children's Immunology Fund. Made entirely from recycled and recyclable materials.
5. Play to Z Stacking Hoops, £40
Full of different textures and ways to play, these are a more interesting take on traditional stacking hoops. It does look lovely and probably would hold a little one's interest for a good while but sadly, we think it's too expensive for most parents' liking.
6. Wondercube, £19.99
Soft, organic cotton cube filled with textile squares of varying textures for babies to pull out and explore - with that same fascination they get from emptying all the tissues out of the box or the wipes from the packet. Later on you can replace the included 'fillings' with others, such as letters or story pictures, costing from under £1 each.
See the winners in all their glory in our gallery below...
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