Small Talk Tag: Slow Toy Movement

Batteries Not Included

classic wooden toys

Think of all the toys you’ve played with that came with the caveat, “batteries not included.” Bummer, right? The sheer disappointment that ensued after opening a new gift only to realize its inability to function without batteries isn’t easily forgotten!

While battery-operated and other electronic toys continue to captivate kids (and adults), a trend to revive analog or “slow toys” has emerged. Combine that with recent consumer safety issues from toys made abroad and the result is Americans are once again smitten with the wooden toys of yesteryear. One of the perennial favorites, Lincoln Logs, has returned 80% of production back to the U.S. after being made in China for nearly 60 years. Pennsylvania-based Channel Craft has built an entire catalog of toys that your grandparents or even great-grandparents likely played with. Can the simple joys of tops, train whistles, boomerangs, and yo-yos divert our attention from Angry Birds or Nintendo 3DS? Maybe for a bit. One thing’s certain: they’ll still be around when electronic toys’ batteries run out of juice!
Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Slow Down This Season With Slow Toys

Slow Toy Awards 2013

Twenty-five years after the Slow Food Movement gained traction, filling bellies with delicious traditional and regional cuisine that utilized the local ecosystem, the Slow Toys Movement was formed by Thierrey Bourret in the United Kingdom. According to Bourret, slow toys encourage traditional play, boost creative thinking, inspire the development of one’s own imagination, are not made of plastic, are without batteries, are sold in independent toy shops, are durable, stand the test of time, and are without thousands of functions.

Every year Bourret takes nominations via email and a panel of judges choose the seven top slow toys of the year. 2013’s winners were all made out of wood except for a construction set with metal parts, and plastic cables, gears, and wheel hubs that can be constructed different models. Many of the wooden toys may look familiar, from the train set and building blocks to the doll stroller and tiny tricycle. We love this movement, which elevates beautifully crafted wooden toys and much-loved dollhouses that encourage creativity and imagination!