Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Boy Toys

We have all these resolutions around here pertaining to living a non-materialistic lifestyle. And more to the point, Mommy and Daddy get angry when they find all sorts of plastic Made In China lying all over the play room floor. So we've worked the toy collection around here down to a minimum and kept it there. What we have is generally stuff like blocks, stuffed animals, wooden trains and dolls which can be played with in a free-form sort of way.

However, the girls were giving signs that a wider range of characters were needed. They've not yet reached the point where one endows a sweet looking stuffed bunny with evil will to power -- so a collection entirely of nice stuffed animals and baby and princess dolls was limiting the play. Plus whenever we had people with little boys over to play, the fooled around with the trains for about ten minutes and then announced they were bored.

Daddy contemplated the problem for a while, and realized that what we needed was boy toys. So as the after Christmas sales raged, daddy girded up his wallet and went in search of what was needed.

Who can truly be happy without a large, metal, yellow dump truck? No red-blooded American child, I immediately realized. Into the cart it went.

Every kid needs some toy dinosaurs, so a pair of those went in as well: a "big headed meat eater" and a "long necked plant eater" to use the terminology the girls have developed.

And a dragon, who can resist a big plastic Chinese dragon?

But the real find from Daddy's point of view was the toy knights. I'd had a number of Britains toy nights as a kid: great toy knights, but only about an inch tall, with removable weapons, and thus clearly not for the under 8 set. But these are about three inches tall, beautifully painted, but all in one piece with no removable parts. They're made by Schleich , a company in Germany, and I found them on clearance at Target: several knights and a princess dressed in pink with a fan. (It's all girls here except for Daddy, so a princess is an essential part of any game involving knights, dinosaurs and a dragon.)

That seemed like exactly what was needed: I bought one of each type that was on sale.

I'd considered a bucket of green army men, of the sort I spent so much time with as a child, but the cart was looking full, and they seemed a little too edible for the youngest. But there's some simply awesome stuff these days in the way of toy soldiers. There was a whole line of detailed, die-cast WW2 tanks along with men to go with them. Why didn't they have these when I was a kid?

So I took all the loot home (where it was well received) and informed MrsDarwin it's her job to get a boy on the scene post haste, lest I be forced to start getting all these great things to play with myself.


Anonymous said...

Our son loves the Schleich knights. We have a bunch of those in the playroom, and at age 4 he doesn't seem to be tiring of playing knights (and princesses, too.) He's very chivalrous.

But I know what you mean. Our daughter loves all of her "girl toys," but she's always preferred a solid, plastic action figure over a stuffed animal.

Niall Mor said...

I had 2 sets of Britains World War II soldiers as a kid--one German Wermacht, the other American infantry. (The Americans always won. Go figure.) I loved them almost as much as my Dinky Toys tanks and planes, another great British toy now sadly defunct.

Anonymous said...

We have a lovely bunch of Schleich animals (mostly horses) that my daughter just loves--they also make dinosaurs that are JUST AWESOME. As a kid, I played dinosaurs constantly with my brothers (my sister typically put Barbie clothes on her dinosaurs and arranged them into families--we had different styles!)

Hope your kids enjoy those toys!


Melanie Bettinelli said...

I bought a couple of the Schleich animals at Target for Bella: a horse and an elephant. They are much loved. I almost didn't get them away from her to wrap and put under the tree.

I look forward to being able to add the knights to our collection. I was finding them really hard to resist, but decided it's still a little too soon.

Literacy-chic said...

FYI--The Schleich toys are designed in Germany, Made in China. It's something the European companies are doing nowadays. My toddler got some for Christmas from my mom, and we bought a cow (with a Moo Moo here and a Moo Moo there) the other day. I discovered the "Designed in" phrasing while searching for a good quality baby doll for $50 or less that was NOT Made in China. I had to settle for a Gotz that was Made in China, but $15 for a $40 doll at Tuesday
Morning. :P

Anonymous said... MrsDarwin conducive to getting a boy on the scene posthaste? You guys trying to tell us something?

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

I saw those knights and animals at Target too and wished I'd had an excuse to buy some. I wished the knights had been around when our kids were small.

Rick Lugari said...

Checking out the link to the knights. Wow, that's quite a set. I'll have to keep it in mind for my kids. Last year we bought a castle and knight set and it was junk. All the time was spent keeping the walls standing and fixing all the action pieces.

However, this year my boys got some really remarkable gifts. One is a set of R/C combat tanks that use infrared sensors to detect when one has been hit (after a few receiving a few hits your tank is totally disabled). The other is the Havoc Heli. We only have the regular helicopter, but they're making infrared combat versions now. Pity we didn't have these things when we were kids. I'd recommend either of those items as a gift for dad...I mean the kids, even if they are too young to operate them. ;)

Anonymous said...

On e-bay you can find some good buys on toy soldiers. I especially like the Airfix plastic toy soldiers. They come in all time periods, are pains-takingly accurate and can be painted. Just the thing to spark a life long interest in history among kids.

CMinor said...

I'm impressed--I thought Tonka had gone over entirely to plastic.

We still have one of those big yellow dump trucks in a corner of the back porch. It's too much of a rust bucket now to give away to anybody.

Dorian Speed said...

I am sorry to hear that they are made in China. We acquired the knight in the lower right-hand corner (well, one just like it) and the pink fan princess as stocking stuffers this year. I have a NEED to fill out the set despite the fact that they are perfectly happy with what they have.

Kiwi Nomad said...

Some of the happiest memories of my childhood 'playing' were the hours I spent playing with my boy cousin. He had a huge array of matchbox vehicles, of which I had not a single one. On my aunty and uncle's farm there was a great shingle bed near the creek... and we made huge cities of roads for these vehicles to move around on. Then when it rained and flooded over... a few days later we would have to start a whole new city.....