Hands up who remembers ranges like Sylvanian Families, or those sticker albums and packs of stickers which seemed to always contain the same stickers over and over? Kids love to collect things and marketers latch onto this by producing ranges designed to appeal to kids and to parents who remember the buzz of collecting from their childhood.
The first time I remember the whole school going crazy for stickers must have been the World Cup of 1982, and every playtime there were groups of kids huddled in corners of the playground negotiating swaps with skill of which Alan Sugar would be proud. The appeal of stickers and albums is clear; the albums cost just a few pounds and the stickers are priced at pocket money levels. Stickers have moved on with the times and Panini now have ranges with themes such as One Direction, Disney Princesses and Hello Kitty as well as football. The snag is of course that for every sticker of Niall from one direction there are 500 of Harry to keep kids buying the packs in search of that one rare item they need to complete their collection.
The concept of Sylvanian Families was launched in 1985 and these cute little animals with their clothes, accessories and houses immediately caught on with small girls. Collecting Sylvanians meant that never again did a parent have to worry about what to buy for Christmas or birthdays, and as new models were released all the time, the collection could expand forever. The Sylvanians were always a bit too cutesy for my tastes, but as a whole new generation of girls who grew up with them are now becoming parents themselves, it doesn’t look like they will be disappearing from toy shop shelves any time soon.
Star Wars Toys
Is there anyone left on the planet who doesn’t know the names of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo? The original Star Wars toys released in 1977 are hugely collectable and reach ridiculous sums at auction, but as there have been new Star Wars movies and cartoons released pretty much ever since, there is a constant supply of Star Wars related toys and other items just ready for collecting. The problem with this sort of collection is that unlike the stickers you can never be finished as there is just too much stuff to physically ever be owned by one person.
Kids are getting more sophisticated but recent collectables like Moshi Monsters, the return of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Maileg Mouse in a Box range show that kids still like the idea of collecting. Maileg mouse in a box is the perfect collectable as it is small and easily portable, and kids are encouraged to collect the whole range. Moshi Monsters are backed up by games, apps, toys and television shows on the cartoon channels, and parents who recognise the Turtles from the early 90s relive their youth by encouraging their kids to collect the toys and items too. It doesn’t seem as if collecting is going to go out of fashion any time soon, so as a parent be prepared for the pestering.
Article by mother of three Morag Peers