Since starting Tilda and Tom back in February, I have accumulated dozens and dozens of toy catalogues from all over the world. I have a lovely little set of suppliers at the moment, but I also have dozens more who I would eventually like to stock in my online store.
These toy suppliers meet all the requirements of what constitutes a “Tilda and Tom” toy. My wooden toys must be of high quality, but also have great design. There are lots of wooden toy makers out there and not all of them hit the mark for originality and style. Likewise, we look for something a little different with our soft toys, games, puzzles and creative sets.
After stumbling upon a great movement called the Slow Toy Movement (read my previous blog HERE), I set up the Real Toy Network (read about it HERE) last month. The Real Toy Network shares product news, competitions and general educational news from all over the Europe. If you want to read about the latest thoughts on “learning through play” or find out which are this year’s best educational toys, or just see the latest Moulin Roty range of toys, then the Real Toy Network deserves a good browse. It is my aim to include news from “slow toy” or “real toy” makers from all over the world, not just those stocked by Tilda and Tom.
It is entirely because I have immersed myself in beautiful things since the beginning of the year that I know I will have a hard time buying the usual plastic tat my kids often want this Christmas. Pink Peppa Pig tea sets, armies of plastic action men who will have broken arms and legs by Boxing Day, plastic guns and swords (middle child thinks he’s a real pirate) which bend and break, plastic houses with missing doors. That’s before we touch on the electronic games.
So this year I’ve come up with the 50/50 Challenge – 50% MINIMUM (I think I’ll go higher!) good quality last forever toys and 50% the unavoidable plastic tat. I’ll admit I’m a coward. I should do 100% quality, but I don’t think I can leave Disney Princess and Peppa Pig off the list.
So how am I doing so far? Here’s a quick run through:
CHARLIE (7 1/2)
Charlie has never been big on toys. Through the years he’s tended to like TV and film tie-ins so we did Toy Story, Star Wars, Superheroes and this year he’s really into Inside Out, the new Pixar movie, so I’m sure that will make and appearance. Charlie is also a big x-box fan and is already very excited about Disney Infinity 3.0. His one saving grace is he loves his books and I always pick up a couple of nice box-sets from the Book People and a nice selection of Usbourne Books from friends who are home sellers.
Recently Charlie has decided magic is cool and due to his having glasses he’s positive he’s destined to be a wizard. Djeco, my newest brand, has a FABULOUS range of magic sets available and I’m stocking six of these. A couple of my magic sets are age 10+, but the ones which are 6+ and 8+ I think will be perfect. Charlie also likes arty things so I’ll be choosing a couple of the wonderful Djeco sets too.
HENRY (turning 5)
Henry has never met a toy he didn’t like. If he doesn’t particularly want to play with it, then he’ll take it apart to see how he works. As I write he’s dressing his little sister’s Polly Pockets 😀
So Henry, my little Mr Fix-it and engineer in the making, will be getting lots of things which will encourage his love of building. He’ll also want a bit of Playmobil and Lego, but I’ll be getting much less of these toys than I have in previous years.
So far on Henry’s list are the Zooblock range of toys by Djeco, some tools I plan to stock from Janod, jigsaw puzzles (he loves puzzles!) and one of my fantastic “tap tap” toys which requires children to build a picture with … wait for it … real hammer and nails!! This toy was designed with Henry in mind! 🙂
MATHILDE (2 1/2)
Mathilde is like Henry and can occupy herself for hours playing with her toys. Despite having two big brothers and a mammy not keen on pink, Mathilde makes a bee-line for anything pink, princess-y and sparkle-y so Disney Princesses, Polly Pocket and Peppa Pig will make it on our list this year.
Mathilde likes puzzle and games too and I have a a lovely “mummy and baby” matching game by Vilac which comes in a gorgeous wooden box which I’m sure she’ll like. Also on the list is my wooden play food ranges and the Djeco “arty” princesses which are so much more interesting and imaginative than the Disney offerings.
I think I’ve made a good start! 🙂
Anybody care to join me in the 50/50 challenge this year? 😀