Everyone has that special place for the beloved stuffed animal, toy, blankie or car from their childhood. While most kids tend to hold on to that irreplaceable teddy bear or dollie I had a somewhat hard to find obsession called Sylvanian Families.
Say whaaat are those?!
Yeah, they weren’t like My Little Ponies or Cabbage Patch dolls… they were these adorable fuzzy animals I collected in Japan when I visited family over the summer. I never saw them in the states and no one I knew had them. I was always told they were sold in Japan, the UK and Australia… that made me feel really freaking cool.
Most kids went to Summer camp but I spent most of my childhood summers in Tokyo. I was apparently a clueless kid because when I had to go to Japan I was angry I couldn’t hang with my friends. I felt like a weirdo for never stepping foot in a Summer Camp and booooring who wants to go to Japan right? Right. I still had the best times of my life when I got there and I loved going to Tokyo however, I do remember pouting and being a total brat about it. That makes the me now want to ninja slap the me then and tell my Dad sorry for having to deal with such an opinionated kid! Ha!
These were really high quality toys that never ended up in the donation bin or the trash… they were too awesome to throw away. I had these guys out into my teen years until I decided to finally pack them away and I would maybe one day have kids who could enjoy them.
Fast forward to Mommyhood of a very creative little girl who loves animals and any imagination related play. I dug out a box of my old toys from my Dad’s garage and there inside a box, that was in a bag and inside another box were my Sylvanian Familes now known in the USA as Calico Critters. My then 3 year old daughter’s face lit up and I got to relive my childhood memories with her. These quickly became her favorites and still at nine year old she plays with these daily with her four year old brother. Every birthday and holiday Calico Critters are at the top of their lists.
My childhood rabbits and bears are now part of the large collection that we now have. I honestly cannot tell which animals are the new ones or the old ones. These are high quality and lasting toys. The only damages they have are from our old dog who chewed on one and from my son chewing on another when he was a toddler. Other than that they have maintained and they look amazing. These have had almost daily play for years and some for two generations now! That is really impressive and has made me evaluate quality of toys vs cheap stuff that will be tossed out next month.
I am pretty much insane when it comes to taking care of these guys. I don’t obsessively clean them or keep them displayed in a glass case with alarms and barbed wire. I want the kids to play with their toys but they have to be put away and not abused! They are inside toys and must be handled with care or Mommy loses it. I’m really big on distinguishing if some toys are outside or inside only. No exceptions… or so I thought…
I mean, for my kids of course…
We go camping a lot and the kids and I have talked about eventually getting a camper for us. This Caravan Family Camper was just like the ones we have looked at! I had this idea that taking this Calico Critter Caravan Family Camper with us while Camping (btw… I cannot say that five times fast!) would be the best toy ever… and I was right!
The first thing my kids said when I surprised them was, “You are going to let us use that… as an.. OUTSIDE TOY?!”
Yes, I am. Just don’t lose the spoons!!!
Yes the small accessories can be a vacuums tasty treat however you just don’t want to lose these guys because they are super cute. They are tiny and I can’t find them when I am not wearing my glasses (that doesn’t say much because I can’t find anything without my glasses… especially my glasses) but they are worth the extra care to hold on to them. I had a tupperware container with plastic baggies that kept the Calico Critters and the Caravan Camper accessories all organized. The Camper also has really cool storage space!
When we were off to Bishop on a camping and fishing trip I looked forward to really playing with this! Um, again… for the kids. I set up a blanket in our campsite where the kids played with it and it came with us to the lake. They took great care of it and had so much fun with it. It has a bathroom and a drop down toilet which of course made everyone laugh. I can’t even tell you how many times a grownup set up a bunny or a bear on the toilet.
We are all obviously very mature.
None of the guys on this fishing trip would let me take a picture of them setting it up but that made me laugh. Comments were made that I was having more fun with the Camper than the kids. But, everyone kept saying how cool it was.
It is now part of our family traditions to take our Calico Critter Caravan Family Camper with us while camping (I also tried to make the kids say that five times fast and they giggled… and said it better than I did!) and we are already building memories with it.
And one day I may see my grandkids playing with these amazing toys that have been a big part of two generations so far… because these toys are timeless and will last. Which makes me wonder why we would want anything other than fantastic toys like these for our kids… and ourselves.
Disclosure: Imagine Toys gifted the Caravan Family Camper for the kids and I to review. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own. Imagine Toys happens to be my new favorite toy shop since they have all of the high quality creative and educational toys that I love to give my children so I was more than happy to write a review for them when I had this idea of taking the Camper on our Camping trips! Thank you Imagine Toys!
About Leila DontSpeakWhinese
Leila, aka The Ninja, is the advocate for all things not whining. Parenting is fun when everyone stops b*tching! She is the Mom of a big blended family of four awesome kids. They ninja kick through life together. Oh and she is a total jackass.