Sunday, February 6, 2011

Are Vintage Toys for Kids?

I know many of us out there are still kids at heart, yet sometime around the age of twelve we lost our desire to "play." That is, the voices that pop into our heads, shoot down our arms and burst out of the toy in our hand disappear. The stories we construct fall away. The elaborate relationships between Barbie and Little Miss Makeup fade. All we are left with is the desire to display, to make pretty and to stare at. In essence, our ability to play does not last past the tweens.

But for some of us, the old pleasures of play are resurrected through the children around us. My two girls are endless story factories. They can sit for hours and dress dolls, make up intrigues and set up houses. I have often tried to sit down and join them but I can not stand it for more than five minutes. The voices are lost to me.

As a grown-up collector I often think back to the story lines I created with my toys, and the memories are so sweet I want my children to have the same experience. Years ago I decided I would let my children play with my vintage toys. I have heard many a discussion on message boards about letting kids play with collections and there are several concerns brought up from things getting lost and destroyed, to safety issues.

Letting your kids play with a vintage collection is purely up to the collector. Several factors must be considered:

1 - Is the child responsible when they play with their current toys?
2 - Is the child old enough to treat them gently?
3 - Is the child truly interested in having a good play, or are they they kind who like to dump things out, mix things up and get things messy?
4 - Does the toy contain small, breakable, or dangerous parts?

Babies eat bunnies!

My two girls have always been very gentle with my vintage toys, and so I have allowed them to play with them. Now that they are older they understand how to keep small parts from getting lost but I have a few rules.


1 - Stay in one contained spot at one time. I keep them in one place, away from the dog. They are not allowed to take the toy out of that place.

2 - They cannot bang the toys together, throw them on the ground or remove any clothing.

3 - No small parts for small kids.

4 - They must ask my permission before they play.

5 - They must tell me when they are done.

6 - They must put everything back exactly as they found it.

Over the years we have had few incidents. I can't really remember any toys getting broken but a few got mixed up. To combat accessory mix-ups I began to print pictures of the toys and keep them in the baggie where the toy belongs. That way when the kids are done playing they can see exactly which piece goes where (psst . . . it helps me remember too!)

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide weather your kids are trustworthy enough to treat your toys with respect. I personally have enjoyed watching my kids create new memories with old toys.


  1. I don't think all people really loose the urge to play. Some children just stop when it no longer becomes acceptable (I had a 4th grade teacher that did not allow us to play). Sometimes when I look at my toys, I feel a story coming on and have to resist the urge to act it out. Sometimes, I do in the form of a photostory so I can share :) In fact, I think photostories done by adults aren't uncommon and that's absolutely playing even if they deny it.

    I can't comment on the stuff about having kids though, since I never plan to.

  2. Hello,there are a few things I would to purchase from you and I don't know how to contact or buy them. Please reply. Thanks!