I’m stuck at home for a while—sort of—thanks to my recent accident and in recovery. I tend to get a bit hyperactive when I am not feeling 100% and drive everyone around me nuts. So—thinking that it is better to channel that energy productively, I started a mini-project. Writing about my childhood.
I was telling my son about this and reminiscing about his childhood when he gave me an idea. He said: why not sort through his toys and books and set aside what to give away/keep. Brilliant idea, I thought. We’ve been planning to do this for a while but didn’t get around to it. Of course I do give away toys every now and then to children who visit or those we visit—but there’s plenty more where that came from.
Then my friend Farida, who runs a preschool, also mentioned toys and books would be useful.
Feeling rather energized, I requested my husband to bring down all the boxes in the loft.
Here’s one of my sets – these used to be part of our Navaratri Golu (doll display) and later passed on to me for playing.
What followed was a delightful time, wallowing in memories of my son’s childhood and thinking back over my own. I also felt somewhat proud about how his toys had been stored. Nope, not guilty about being a strict mommy—we encouraged him to put all his stuff away once he was done playing. So, no stepping over building blocks or messy floor stories from me.
But I do confess playing with some of the toys, as I sorted through them. See my wooden kitchen set that I got from Channapatna below. You can get the exact same one at Desi Toys here.
There were more kitchen sets, chess sets, lots of board games, wooden toy sets, squeaky bath toys, wooden train sets, jigsaw puzzles and some old games—among others. Here’s “pachisi” an ancient board game, handcrafted at home, with wooden “coins” and metal dice. Nieces having a great time!
I am so glad our son didn’t have a digital childhood. The only screen he knew as a toddler was the tv screen, that too monitored viewing. I couldn’t keep him from starting a blog at the age of 8, but again, fully monitored and a fun group activity in the family.
Of course, each time we passed a toy store—I needn’t tell you what happened. My purse was lighter but his joy, priceless!
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of hands-on playing with toys and spending time outdoors for children. Kids love toys naturally and learn when they play.
Some valuable benefits of playing with toys are:
- Toys engage their senses, trigger their imagination and also encourage social interaction with others.
- Toys help build fine and gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Playing helps children develop independence, self-esteem, creativity, and is a great way to spend their bubbling energy.
- Above all, it is an excellent stress reliever.
- Play helps them learn about real life, letting them develop their cognitive, language and physical skills.
I grew up with Indian toys and my favorite was my brass kitchen set that I kept gleaming like gold. I loved playing with it by myself, cooking up a storm and also with my friends and cousins. We’d spend the entire afternoon in the backyard with our “kitchen”, thinking up exotic menus and grinding tamarind leaves into a paste with a stone to make chutney. Any snacks we could wangle from home was preciously stored and used as part of our play. We’d get dry stuff like poha, rice, roasted gram, and other snacks we’d enjoy pretending it was a feast. Of course we also sneaked produce from the garden that we washed under the tap before gobbling from our miniature plates.
One of my cherished toys is the wooden kitchen set covered in beads by my great grandmother. Gorgeous! I also have a stone and ceramic kitchen set. It is thrilling that I was able to preserve them—they now sit in my showcase.
Out of curiosity I looked online for brass kitchen sets and was delighted to find Desi Toys and connect with it’s founder, Swapna Wagh. We had a wonderful conversation, sharing stories about our childhood and our love for traditional toys and games. I agreed with her when she mentioned that today’s children needed to enjoy the rich collection of toys our beautiful country has to offer.
Desi Toys has a fabulous collection of authentic traditional quality toys and games including the timeless cooking sets, rattles, wooden trains, yo-yos, marbles, tops, puzzles, collectibles, pocket toys, board games and fun activity toys. There are games for the whole family as a group.
As I browsed the website, I was ecstatic to see that I had played with most of the toys listed in the set. Nope, didn’t own all of them, but those were the days when we visited one another and pooled our toys and books and played together.
Here’s the kitchen set
This is a beautifully crafted kitchen set with traditional Indian brass utensils that came well-packed with each piece separately wrapped and the whole set inside a red drawstring bag—all packed in a sturdy cardboard box. The box also had a board that is a setting for a kitchen.
I have the regular size version of most of these in my kitchen – child of the 60s after all! The set contains the following:
Isn’t that delightful?
I know, I know! Even though I am old enough to cook, I enjoyed pretending with these utensils! I am going to have such a great time playing with kids visiting! And I’ll add this to my precious cherished toys that I hope to bequeath to the next generation in the family.
Here’s the Spot n Snap Card Game
Spot n Snap is an India themed matching symbol game, useful for building concentration and sharpening visual recognition skills. Each player has to match icons according to the category cards. The players need to focus—keep a sharp eye and be quick to win the game. Children 5 years and above can play—which means it is ideal for me—and the game is good for 2-4 players.
Here’s a video showing how to play:
Here’s what’s inside the box:
I mentioned that life is a balance in my monthly Gratitude Circle post on Thursday (have you joined yet? All are welcome!) and truly, Desi Toys is a bright spot!
I encourage you to visit Desi Toys online and browse the range. I guarantee that you will feel nostalgic, recalling your own childhood play. The Indian traditional toys make great gifts and keepsakes. Don’t feel shy to buy them for yourself!
Just one more thing: don’t be gender biased when you buy the kitchen set. My son loved cooking with them for hours and hours and we enjoyed many make-believe delicious meals!
(Note: Not a sponsored post. I just loved these toys so much I wanted to gloat over them! I am happy to promote what I love)