Our mid-year sale has just kicked off. If you haven’t already heard, we have 25% off Sylvanian Families, Schleich, Ravensburger, Playmobil, Siku, and Melissa & Doug until July 31st. To celebrate, the elves decided it would be a very good idea to delve further into these six brands to learn more about them. For the next four weeks, we will focus on a different brand, revealing all that you need to know about them and MORE. To kick things off, we are going to put the limelight on, Sylvanian Families.
Sylvanian Families is a range of collectable anthropomorphic (i.e. having human characteristics) animal figurines made of textured plastic. The world ‘sylvan’ is a Latin adjective meaning ‘of or from the woodland’. Sylvanian Families were created by the Japanese gaming company Epoch in 1985 and distributed worldwide by a number of companies.
Originally named Pleasant Friends of the Forest Epoch System Collection Animal Toy Sylvanian Families, Epoch sensibly shortened the brand name to the brand we know today – Sylvanian Families. The first releases of the Sylvanian Families dollhouses and playsets were made from porcelain, with wooden furniture pieces. Later versions of the products replaced these materials with plastic and metal. By 1988, Sylvanian Families had become a major success around the world, winning the British Association of Toy Retailers award for “Toy of the Year” three years consecutively, in 1987, 1988 and 1989 (the only brand to ever do so).
In 2014 Sylvanian Families announced that since inception the brand had produced 61 different families, 37 different houses, 66 theme items (199 including medium sized items), and 368 furniture and accessories pieces. The total number of Sylvanian Families figures sold worldwide since 1985 is approximately 120,000,000; which is equal to about three characters per second!
The characters are grouped into families. Most families consist of a father, mother, sister and brother; many continue to add family members such as grandparents, babies, and older siblings. The biologically diverse range of figurines, originally just depicted typical woodland creatures such as rabbits, squirrels, bears, beavers, hedgehogs, foxes, deer, owls, racoons, otters, skunks and mice. The brand later expanded to include other animals such as cats (Persian, silk and “Celebration”), dogs, hamsters, guinea pigs, penguins, monkeys, cows, sheep, pigs, elephants, pandas (red as well as giant), kangaroos, koalas and meerkats.
All of these animals “live” in a fictional village Sylvania; which is based on 1950’s Great Britain. The majority of the families that live in Sylvania are rural middle-class, who own their own family business or have a white-collar job. These families can live in large houses, or small dwellings, that are designed highly realistically. They also indulge in many stereotypically middle-class leisure activities such as sailing or horse-riding, and often host garden parties or go on short camping holidays.
Sylvanian Families has a friendly appeal that attracts people from different age groups. Based on three concepts, nature, family and love, children are encouraged to explore the power of their imaginations while learning to care and share with one another. The play value of the Sylvanian Families range is huge as children can interact with the dolls in a number of different ways, such as playing-doll, decorating homes, collecting furniture and changing outfits. Sylvanian Families products are brilliant tools to help children acquire essential social skills while promoting wholesome play and developing thoughts and emotions.
With so many play and educational benefits, it’s not hard to see why Sylvanian Families has always had a home here at Entropy (ten years this coming August). I hope that this entry has provided you with more of an insight into the world of Sylvania and the animals who call it home. Our mid-year catalogue sale finishes up on July 31st. If you would like to introduce Sylvanian Families to your child’s play or add to their growing collection we recommend you do it before then! Until next week,