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‘Real’ toys that inspire the mind and link into the Slow Toy Movement

What is the Slow Toy Movement?
The Slow Toy Movement was launched in 2011 by toy distributor Thierry Bourret. The program is essentially a toy-based version of the ‘Slow Food Movement’, which was founded in the 1980s as an attempt to counter fast food. Designed to get consumers looking back to the days when toys “provided children far more than noise and flashing lights,” the Slow Toy Movement recognises ‘real toys’ on the market that are specifically designed to inspire children’s minds.

The gradual fading out of the meticulously-painted wooden rocking horse, the hand-made abacus and the once cherished dolls house that all encourage imagination and discovery is very much at the core of this movement which is celebrated annually via the Slow Toy Awards.

If you are a parent or grandparent, or anyone for that matter who would like to see a child get more stimulation and value out of what a child plays with, then take a look at these five ‘real’ toys that epitomise this enlightening campaign and will inspire a child’s mind.

Melissa & Doug Easel & Accessory SetThe activity easel  - Toddlers, pre-schoolers and even older children never seem to tire playing with a quality activity easel. Interchangeable boards allow for various artistic activities, including chalking on a blackboard and painting on a canvas. Easels create an inviting space to nurture individual thinking and creativity within children. By working at eye-level, easels help build up muscle control in children and hone motor skills, notwithstanding the joy of creating a mini masterpiece for their bedroom wall or to present to grandma.   

You can also find magnetic activity easels which children can use with magnetic letters and numbers to practice spelling and maths making them educational too.

A board game - With mobile gaming increasing at frightening levels, in recent years the demand for board games has taken a firm backseat. In teaching strategy, patience, planning, teamwork and sportsmanship, a quality board game certainly complies with the ethos of encouraging children to play with toys that inspire the mind. Games like Snakes and Ladders and Monopoly are great for helping children learn about numbers and how to count.  Melissa & Doug Dinosaur Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles play a similarly educational role. With their large, colourful and chunky wooden pieces, these timeless puzzles are ideal for older babies and toddlers. In positing the pieces in their right location, jigsaws develop hand-eye coordination and encourage problem-solving capabilities and creativity.

Le Toy Van Cherry Tree Dolls HouseThe Dolls House - The earliest records of dolls houses date back to the sixteenth century when they were confined to being a privilege enjoyed by the aristocracy as a means of demonstrating their wealth. In the ensuing years, dolls houses started to reach the masses providing educational recreation and enjoyment for all children

To compliment a dolls house there are many accessories to suit whether a new room setting or dolls to add that extra play value and realism. By encouraging imaginative play, these timeless dolls houses are certainly ‘real’ toys that inspire the mind.

The abacus - According to the history books, the abacus was invented around 2600BC by the Chinese. What has been used as an important mathematical learning tool from virtually the dawn of time can still be seen today in pre-schools and nurseries as an aid of teaching arithmetic.

A wooden framed abacus with hand-painted designs featuring brightly-coloured beads is all but guaranteed to put a smile on a pre-schooler’s face, not to mention be a stimulating tool in teaching youngsters valuable mathematic skills in preparation for school.
Millhouse Rokki Rocking Horse

Handmade Rocking & Hobby horses - These beautiful childhood classics have unfortunately also taken a backseat role as
noisy, flashing battery-operated toys have risen to prominence. Rocking horse toys, which are made from quality timber, encourage a child’s imagination to gallop away with them. They also provide a safe and sturdy ride for babies with many featuring a support ring around the seat which can be removed as the child grows ensuring years of play.

There are a whole host of other ‘real toys’ available on the market. While these toys may be slightly more costly than their plastic counterparts, being made from traditional, ethically-sourced materials, these classic toys are likely to last for years making them a worthy investment for the long-term.

For high quality wooden toys and puzzles that are certainly in-keeping with the Slow Toy Movement’s aspirations to create inspiring and creative play, visit http://www.borntotoddle.com/. You can also view more inspiring ideas via our Pinterest boards.

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