Toy manufacturers go to great lengths to manufacture real looking replicas of everyday objects - soft animal toys, tea sets, phones, trucks, steering wheels, car keys and even laptops. When I was young I played with these things and loved my dolls, dolls house, miniature shop with till and also little domestic appliances. I would spend hours entertaining myself indoors - come to think of it I spend hours entertaining myself with the larger versions as an adult! These days even babies cannot be fooled. they know the real thing when they see it. My grandson loved to sit on Dads knee and 'drive' the car so I bought him a fairly pricey replica that made realistic sounds of an engine when he turned the key, indicators and a horn. He looked at it suspiciously and tired of it in no time. His uncle then gave him the 'real' thing which weighed as much as he did but none the less got dragged just about everywhere with him. My granddaughter loved her soft toys but nothing beat tucking a cat or a willing puppy into her own pushchair and taking it for a walk with one her Nanny's old handbags slung over her arm!
This morning I enjoyed watching this video of Katherine playing with the cat's bowls that make brilliant cymbals when banged together and seem to taste pretty good too! Last week she was surrounded by some small, very sophisticated replicas of everything that a grown up uses - brightly coloured and mostly made in China - but she chose to play with the Tupperware bowls, a particularly entertaining foot pump that made a very good necklace and the cats scratching post with is wonderful to hang on to and rock.
Which makes you wonder why we go out and buy our kids everything under the sun when they just need a set of cupboard doors, car keys, pan lids and any form of anything with wheels on that can be turned upside down.
Save yourself some money folks and with 90% of toys being made in China - say no to toxic plastic and let your child's imagination develop organically!