26/05/2009 00:55 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Why I Love Playmobil

Some people say that they are too selfish to be parents, but really, they're missing a trick. One of the great things about being a parent is that there are parts of the process where you can be extremely selfish indeed.

To be precise: You now have an excuse to buy the toys you never had, but always wanted, when you were a child.

And this is why, in my house, we have now have a collection of the cutest little figures in toyland, courtesy of Playmobil. I may have been denied them as a kid, but I'm not bitter because I'm making up for it now.

Sometimes I even let the kids have a go.

This is why I think Playmobil is so fab.

Playmobil was invented in 1974 by Hans Beck. The global oil crisis had made plastic very expensive, which prompted him to invent these small toys. Over the years it has grown into an international toy phenomenon. More than 2.2 billion figures have been sold in over 70 countries.

This is why it's so great:

  • It encourages imaginary role play and helps children develop their concentration skills as they invent worlds for the little figures.
  • It's extremely sturdy. You may lose bits but you will never break them.
  • The detail on all the figures is great. All the criminals have stubble, woolly hats and shades. Just like real life.
  • The range includes the oddest stuff that no other toy company would get away with. Seriously guys, criminals? Vultures? Tiny wine glasses? A pile of coal? A safe cracking set? What were you thinking?
  • The figures are as ethnically diverse as you like, so it's multicultural but not in an earnestly dull way.
  • They had the audacity to produce a Police Chase Advent Calendar. Yes really. You couldn't make it up.

Actually, I won't hear a word against the advent calendars because I have my own that I don't let the kids touch. That's OK isn't it ? Could be worse, at least it's not Star Wars figures.