Seven ways to get back to basics and increase active play

THE Elves at Entropy toy store are on a not-so-secret mission — to lure children way from their screens and bring more activity to Australian households.

“We are not anti-technology and it certainly has a place, but we want children to have a balance, which also means having time playing with toys that stimulate imaginations and movement,” director/chief poobah Dr Deborah Latouf said, who has a PhD in motor development.

The philosophy of getting children active and swapping tech for traditional is gaining momentum, with the USA’s Toy Industry Association (TIA) listing ‘Back to Basics’ toys as one of the key trends of 2014.

“Back-to-basics toys (often low-tech) are perfect for families that want to ‘switch off’ from technology,” said the TIA’s trend expert Adrienne Appell.

“Simple activities like kicking around a soccer ball, playing outdoors with bug catchers, or having a family games night are all fun and enriching ways to engage as a family, build shared memories and reduce stress.”

Dr Latouf said many back to basics toys also had a strong play value, meaning the toys and games were multifaceted and likely to transcend generations.

“Customers are increasingly asking us for toys that the whole family can get involved with and we are hearing that the doll’s pram or wooden blocks that they bought for their first baby are now with their third child,” she said.

“It’s about offering toys that engage and stimulate children, but also foster that emotional connection that forms those treasured childhood memories in years to come.”

Entropy Elf HQ is in Queensland, but the traditional toy shop is also Australia’s most extensive independent online store of its kind. It’s here that you’ll find all the classic creations that fire-up bodies and imaginations – from wooden rocking horses, dolls houses and building blocks to marble runs, scooters, puzzles, family games and craft kits.

We turn seven this week and – to celebrate – we have selected our top seven toys for encouraging activity:

Active toys

  1. Fat Brain Toy Co: Chalk Rail for Bikes: Designed to fit any bike, you’ll make getting outside even more fun with Chalk Rail — draw figure eights, wavy meandering paths, perfect circles, and fascinating designs.
  2. Maxi Micro Scooter: For kids aged from 5 years (up to 50kg) Maxi Micro Scooters are a smooth ride and super easy for kids to handle on that family walk.
  3. Discovery Kids Bug Barn: Get out and explore the natural world with this comprehensive observational set. Little ones will love to learn as they roam.
  4. Wishbone Wagon 3-in-1: Designed for kids aged one to 10 years, Wishbone Wagon is a multi-functional, beautiful and timeless 3-in-1 ride-on toy that children and parents will love.
  5. Seedling Outdoor Explorer Kit: Get your kids out from in front of the TV and into the great outdoors with this kit. It includes a drawstring backpack, observation journal, magnifying glass, LED headlamp with batteries, coloured pencils, magnifying bug box, stretchy lizard and insect checklist.
  6. HABA Block & Tackle Pulley System: Attach Haba’s Block & Tackle system to a branch to cart supplies to the tree house, or to the ceiling near the stairs to transport toys up and down – either way, adventurous kids will love it!
  7. Janod ABC Yoga Game: An entertaining one to play as a family, this is fun and fitness rolled into one as you learn yoga by creating the letters of the alphabet with your body.

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