when the kids forget they’re in a store, and play out loud with our Calico Critters. Hilarious really. But don’t interrupt. That may shut down a whole series of cultural and civic activity (and it can be downright embarrassing).
Our Critters come from all areas of the forest and field. They operate toy stores (like us!) and go to schools and markets. Some live in lavish Townhomes while others prefer Treehouses or other Country Homes. Recently we’ve seen them Seaside where they play in the water, run boats and enjoy all sorts of leisure.
The entire critter habitat is set in the village of Cloverleaf Corners. The majority of the families are rural and middle-class, with many of them owning local and successful family businesses, or having white-collar jobs, such as doctors and teachers.
Calico Critters from International Playthings are in ourSpotlight this week. We’ll be featuring several families and accessories just in time for Easter Shopping. We have also extended an invitation to have a people-sized Critter in our stores on Saturday, March 19th. Get the schedule here for the Wexford store and here for the Beaver store, and don’t miss any of the action. She’ll be stopping at both stores on Saturday, March 19th.
Critters have been around for some time. A few of our younger mom customers may even have played with them as kids themselves. Created in 1985, it was introduced in North America as Pleasant Friends of the Forest, Sylvanian Families. Oh my. At that time the critters were porcelain and the houses wood. It became so popular that a TV show was produced. Nick Jr. ran 13 episodes in the US in the early 1990’s.
The line was originally offered by another favorite of ours, Tomy. We continue to carry many items from Tomy, and it was they who reintroduced them as Calico Critters (much better name). Tomy dropped the brand in the late 90’s and it was subsequently picked up (and is still offered) by International Playthings – a Top 5 Supplier of Castle Toys and Games.
Our customers love, love, love their Critters. Usually cared for by kids between 3 and 7 years old, they’re played with by both boys and girls. So many boys in fact, that you’ll begin to see a packaging change away from pink in the newer sets. Pretend play has no end with the wide range of animal figurines and accessories available. If you have a favorite animal, it’s likely there’s a Critter version. We were pleasantly surprised to see a Red Panda both in the Calico Critter line and at our local Pittsburgh Zoo!
Grown-ups like this line too. It’s a wonderful source of open-ended play and a rich source of add-on items for years to come. It’s always a great investment in creativity and imagination – two areas of particular interest her at Castle Toys and Games.
So join us throughout the next two weeks as we keep the spotlight on these delightful little creatures. On Friday and Saturday, March 18th and 19th, we’re offering 20% off all Critters and Accessories. And now through March 26th, upload a photo of your Critters in their favorite places to play and enter the “Show Us Your Critters” Calico Critter Photo Contest!