A Museum I Could Live In: Meet London’s Museum of Childhood!

Okay so I haven’t actually been there.  But I’m definitely adding this one to the bucket list.  I’m finally starting to get my travel groove on which is great,  and museums like this remind me of how much I want to see more of the world.  It’s like it was built for me!

I’ve been nerding out at their visual museum which is pretty great, and there’s so much to see, learn, AND share!  So I put together some of my favorite historical children’s objects from their collections.  These are some of my favorites, but there’s a lot to go through.  The dollhouses are pretty epic, and I love the vintage sci-fi toys and games.

My Top Picks From The Games Collection

 Laurie's New and Entertaining Game of the Golden Goose, England 1831 Museum no. CIRC.230-1964

This is the Game of Goose!  This family game was most likely inspired by similar middle Eastern games that came before it.  But the first written record of this game was actually during the mid-Renaissance era (mid to late 1500s) when a Florence Duke gifted it to Spain’s King Phillip II.  Pretty neat.

Here’s a quick rundown of how the game is played.  In a nutshell, most “game of goose” style games will feature 63 spaces aligned in a spiral of some kind.  The goal is to be the first to reach space 63, but you have to reach it by an exact throw of the dice.  Each turn, a player rolls two dice which determines how many spaces they can move, plus the board is scatted with illustrated spaces that reward or throw curve-balls like losing a turn or even death.

Players also have to agree on a pot of “money” or value so to speak at the start of the game, and the winner of course takes all!  No strategy, just luck.

The Very First Toy Catalog!

Item 1256, 12 guard soldiers, from the catalogue of Louis and Eduard Lindner, Germany 1840-1842 Museum no. MISC.3-1957

This is so cool.  The first toy catalogs were printed in Germany because that was basically the heart of the toy world.  Just like today, toy salesman or “reps” would carry these illustrated toy catalogs to show vendors the latest and greatest in toys, and it was a far more convenient alternative than lugging around a bunch of heavy samples.

And so the magical toy catalog was born!  I get lost in toy catalogs for hours.  HOURS.  There’s also some particularly hysterical and unintentionally creepy ones from the 1970s online.  More on that later.

Moving Image Gallery

Interactive%20train%20set

Ahh model railroads, I do admire them.  So much work went in to achieve such perfect intricate details; it all helps to create a story.  I used to spend hours at the model railroad museum in San Diego where I grew up.  The model railroads at the Museum of Childhood are probably amazing up close, along with other exhibits from the Moving Toys Gallery, like vintage robots and this 1970s Chinese table tennis toy.

Featured Blog Post Art from http://jaimesconde.blogspot.com/

Advertisements
Chia Monsters Arlymone

Toys That Blinded Me With Science! My Favorites Captured In Art

Featured Artwork inspired by Chia Pets! “Chia Monsters” by Arlymone 

Cha-Cha-Cha-Chiiiia!

God I miss the 90s.  Mostly Because I was a kid with zero responsibilities, just running around with my explorer’s hat on looking for bugs, digging up what I thought were mummies in my backyard, and playing “field scientist” with a plastic Fisher Price Microscope.

Childhood nostalgia definitely kicks in when I start to think about all my favorite toys that had something to do with plants, bugs, flowers, rocks, and science fairs.  When toy nostalgia hits, I supercharge my memory bank and start web surfing like a mad woman!

This list was so fun to make, and I prefer to use artist renderings of toys or related artworks whenever I can.  There’s a lot of classic science toy reboots available today too, which is so very tempting.  I really do miss my toy chemistry set slides; you know, the ginormous pre-made ones.  Anyways, comment below with any related toys or contribute a top favorites lists or guest post of your own!

The Classic Ant Farm

Yes, those do appear to be miniature people inside the ant farm. Nice!

Toy Microscope

Wish mine was as massive as this one. Yikes! “Global Microscope” Artist: Dale Cody

 Chemistry Set

I really like this artist’s interpretation of the classic chemistry set. Artist: Toktobis

 Make Your Own Volcano Kits

I used to make rainbow volcanoes growing up. Love this illustration too by Wren12!

 Grown Your Own Carnivorous Plants

Grown your own venus fly trap kit were awesome! Along with butterfly bushes too. Artist: ritabuuk

 Sea Monkeys

Under a microscope, did your sea monkeys look like this? Artist: Ionahipri

Visual Merchandising Portfolio: Making Toys Come Alive

One of the best parts of my job is making fun and creative window displays.  And I’m even more lucky because I get to work with toys!  There’s so much you can do with toy store merchandise, like merchandising by color, working with creative themes like sleep, Valentine’s day, fairies and gnomes, Santa’s workshop, celestial night sky, and loads more.

I sort of think of visual merchandising as painting and work in layers.  It’s fun to “garnish” displays with shredded or curled ribbon, cloths, tissue paper, and reuse cardboard boxes as risers to create dimension in the window displays.  It’s easy to just cover the boxes with gift wrap or tissue paper to fit whatever theme is in the works.

Here’s a collection of some of my most recent window dressing, store displays, and toy photos.

Blog Post Art: Built4Ever (DeviantArt)

I Still Wish I Was A Fairy Princess: These Are The Whimsical Toys That I Want

I’m so bad.  I still collect toys at 31.  But only small ones now.  I live in a warehouse (pretty neato) so the temptation is definitely there to hoard up.  But I refrain; collecting stuff like Thomas and Friends engines, Tortoro plush, Hello Kitty (she’s a cat damnit!), wooden figurines, Hexbug Nano bugs, small vintage toys and cards, and yeah I could go on.

I’ve been working in toys for long time now and I love it.  I could talk anyone’s ear off all day about toys.  Building the really epic ones and making creative store and window displays is one of the BEST parts of it all.  Because toys are more than just things, they’re an experience! *high five* Well that’s how I see them.

So speaking of, I was struck with major whimsical inspiration after watching FernGully for the umpteenth time.  I thought about a lot of my favorite “mythical-fairy-whimsical woodland” toys and went web surfing for more.  Pretty narrow niche, but there’s a lot of great stuff out there.

I want it all.  Excuse me while I nerd out.

Ostheimer UnicornOstheimer wooden figurines are definitely one of my favorite toys to collect right now.  They’re totally appropriate for a wide range of ranges; basically 5 to 105.  I didn’t discover them until late last year when I started working at a new toy company in San Francisco.  They’re hand-carved in Germany and painted with light organic color washes.  I just love them.  I have a few already, but I don’t have this one yet.

Haba Blossom Sky CanopyOh my god I want to live in here so bad.  I have hung out in one though!  It’s so beautiful and the hanging flowers looks really great against that fresh lime color.  It’s looks even better in person, plus it’s really sturdy.  It’s by HABA Toys and made in Germany.  One of my favorite brands for the wee ones.

I love her so much.  In my mythical fairyland, all cats are pink!  She seriously reflects every little kid’s dream of what a pink fluffy cat would be.  Okay maybe I’m stretching it, but I’ve cuddled her and the softness most definitely measures up to the cuteness.  She’s Jellycat soft.  Brought to you by the same company that gave the world Beanie Babies.

Image 1 THIS might be all I ever wanted in life.  To live in a Hobbit Hole in The Shire.  Nah, just kidding.  This looks so amazing though.  I stumbled across this company that creates hobbit hole play houses, hobbit holes for pets, and even chickens?  That’s right, chicken coops too!

Darnit.  I was going to add a few more, but it’s late and I’m hungry.  Stay tuned.  I’m on the web hunt for fairy themed play kitchens I will never buy.

Post Artwork: “The Last Toy Painting in Red” – Megan Marlatt