Retro toys from Christ­mas past

Sunday Times - - Front Page - By SUTHENTIRA GOVENDER

For­get the hi-tech gad­gets, retro toys are mak­ing a come­back, say ex­perts.

Among the “vin­tage” toys that par­ents are snap­ping up are the pocket pet Ta­m­agotchi, the Ru­bik’s Cube, Slinkys, Walk­mans and even a re­make of PlayS­ta­tion 1.

An on­line re­tailer said there was huge de­mand for retro toys this Christ­mas, in­clud­ing the Nin­tendo Clas­sic mini con­sole boast­ing retro games like Super Mario Bros and Don­key Kong, which was re­leased ear­lier this year.

● Santa will “lease” toys this Christ­mas as more par­ents rent rather than buy. Rent­ing, swap­ping or hand­ing down toys have be­come cheaper op­tions and re­duce clut­ter.

Cape Town mother Juana Parathyras has a bag of rented toys un­der the tree. She rented wooden toys, a book and one or two items with lights and mu­sic for her 15-month-old son, Jack.

“My hus­band and I don’t like clut­ter and we just don’t be­lieve in ac­cu­mu­lat­ing masses of toys for our lit­tle one. That said, I do be­lieve that kids need toys to keep them stim­u­lated.”

The rental route for Christ­mas has of­fered Parathyras the “per­fect so­lu­tion … be­cause our lit­tle one has a wide va­ri­ety of toys to play with, he won’t get bored with them and we don’t end up with boxes of un­used toys that we spent a lot of money on”.

She is not op­posed to buy­ing a favoured toy but rent­ing has saved her be­tween R500 and R1,000.

“I won’t be wrap­ping the toys, but will pop the bag un­der the tree with a spe­cial note from Santa say­ing he is lend­ing a few of his favourite toys to Jack over Christ­mas,” she said.

Par­ent­ing and toy ex­pert Nikki Bush has seen this trend emerg­ing in re­cent years.

“There is def­i­nitely a place for rent­ing, swap­ping and hand-me-downs in SA these days, es­pe­cially for peo­ple liv­ing in smaller homes and apart­ments. They don’t have stor­age ca­pac­ity.

“That’s the beauty of the clas­sic toys, like the wooden toys, stack­ing plas­tic toys and shape-sorters. That’s what the toy rental peo­ple are prob­a­bly sit­ting with. They are not the type that will break and have mov­ing parts.

“The clas­sics are the toys that you can hand on to peo­ple, via rentals, swap­ping and hand­ing down. Money is scarce so we need to be cre­ative.”

The Smart Toy Club, which spe­cialises in toy rentals, has had “a 20% growth in sales year on year” com­pared with last Christ­mas.

“There is more aware­ness in SA now that toy rental is an al­ter­na­tive to buy­ing new toys and that the play-learn-re­turn ethos just makes sense in par­ents’ minds,” said Toy Club’s Lyn­eve Pi­eterse.

Pi­eterse has also re­ceived re­quests for vouch­ers from fam­i­lies vis­it­ing from the UK and Aus­tralia.

“We have a fam­ily ar­riv­ing from Aus­tralia, whom we are get­ting toys ready for and we have a granny that signed up for her two grand­sons ar­riv­ing from the UK.

“We all know how crazy it is to pack toys on top of your lug­gage al­lowance.”

The clas­sics are the toys that you can hand on to peo­ple

Pic­ture: 123rf.com/jun­nemui

Wooden toys last a long time and can be leased.

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