Don’t you get nervous when your kid prefers to play video games for hours instead of playing outside, reading books or doing something creative? You are not alone – the children nowadays spend too much time in front of a monitor or a TV set and play too much games with violence that don’t help them develop their imagination.
I have an idea for you. Your kids will love it. You will love it. I’m afraid you may even get addicted to playing with the kids. Introduce them to some mechanical retro toys – like the ones from your childhood. You’ll be surprised to see how much kids enjoy them!
Mechanical toys are affordable, long living, usually eco-friendly and help the kids develop their curiosity, creativity and imagination. Some of them have very simple mechanisms which can be seen, explored and reproduced. You can even make mechanical retro toys yourself or with your kids.
Just see the main categories of mechanical toys you can play with:
These toys are powered by a spring inside. You get a key, wind up the toy and then it can move for several minutes. The wind-up toys are within the most charming mechanical toys. They can be powered by rather complex gears and can perform a big variety of movements.
Usually wind-up toys are made of tin, but nowadays you’ll find more plastic toys – they are cheaper and lighter but usually can’t live as long as the good old tin toys.
Cam and crank toys
A simpler way to power a mechanical toy is to transmit the kinetic energy from your hand directly to the toy. Such toys use cams attached to a crank and follower. The crank is not centered in the cam which gives uneven rotation and helps the toy perform a move. Example for such a toy is a clown who is hiding and showing his head from a box.
Sometimes the toy creators combine several different cams into a single toy which can lead to quite rich and complex performance. These more complex ones are usually called crank toys due to the way they are powered.
Some mechanical toys are powered by various gravity forces. For example there are cars which are powered by giving only initial power and then using the gravitation to roll the wheels.
The outdoor spring toys are also entirely mechanical – little kids love them and that is great, because these toys are for riding. They encourage the kids to spend more time outdoor and to perform physical activity.
Depending on the material they are made of, the retro toys are mostly wooden and tin. This is different than the most modern toys which nowadays are made of plastic.
The mechanical toys are educative, use no batteries, live long and look great. There is no reason to replace them with radio-controlled electric toys which can never be so charming.