Analyst John G. Taylor of Arcadia Investment Corp. said the trend is part of a broader sociological change that he calls "age compression."The article goes on to say:
Toys R Us, for example, predicts that Mattel's shimmering doll Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus (based on the best-selling DVD, of course) will be one of the top new toys for children ages 2 to 4.In some ways, playing with Barbies at ages 2 to 4 seems about right these days and its a welcome relief from those slutty looking Bratz dolls (oh wow, there are some fun articles out there about this line). But it definitely is a downward trend. I was still playing with Barbies at age 11, I think, though that was definitely the twilight of my Barbie playing days.
I'm generally pretty neutral on the Barbie issue, though I remember reading someone somewhere (and I wish I could cite and give credit to the writer) bemoaning that younger and younger children are playing with Barbies because of her adult body (can't say adult proportions because those don't exist in nature -- hmmm...anyone study the link between breast augmentation and Barbie play? There might be one.). Food for thought. I played with lots of Barbies as a kid and other than a penchant for long, fluffy blond hair and tight clothes, I turned out fine.
Anyway, I thought that with the holiday season impending, I would share some venues for more 'childish' children's toys:
The Magic Cabin -- for those familiar with the Waldorf method of education, you'll find lots of Waldorf type toys here. Their toys encourage the use of imagination -- you won't find prepackaged Barbie or superheroes fantasy stories to reenact here. Its all about gnomes and elves and fairies and stories your kids make up themselves. Okay, so I've only purchased from them once, I bought a wooden nesting rainbow because I thought it would be great for open-ended play. My kids do play with it sometimes. Our home is filled with toys, so they go in cycles of what they play with. I will be placing another order as my daughter has requested a doll bicycle basket for Christmas.
HearthSong -- their offerings are similar to the above. In fact, I first received The Magic Cabin catalog in a shipment from HearthSong. My impression is that TMC is more overtly Waldorf-y. My dds each have a large doll they received as gifts that came from this catalog and they love them. I may have to place an order from here because my oldest wants an accordian?! I really don't know where that came from, but what the heck.
One of the best toys we've ever received was a large set of blocks -- these are played with almost on a daily basis (usually while I'm doing an exercise tape). Another set of blocks was a gift from HearthSong, these are nice because they are colorful.