What are Carddies?
Raquel & Esther, creators of Carddies, tell their story
Carddies colouring in and play sets are Card People and animals who live in a box: you can bring them to life by colouring them in, giving them names and making up their stories. Carddies are perfect for outings and travel, as well as for play time at home. The toy is self-contained, very portable and durable.
Winslow kindly asked me to explain how the Carddies came about, and why they might be suitable for you and your child.
How did Carddies come about?
Carddies are loved by hundreds of children, typically aged 3 to 10, but they started off by chance. I used to make "cardboard people" for my three girls whilst on holiday. I would draw hundreds of little figures (on request), cut them out, and they would colour them in and play with them for HOURS AND DAYS, in fact over several years! They gave the Carddies names, made up stories, songs and games, and treasured them.
Over time, when I saw other children's reaction to Carddies, I realised they had wider appeal... The first set I made for other children, was a Victorian family at the request of a little girl; her older brother asked me for a football set. It so happens that the boy has autism and moderate learning difficulties. Although he has poor fine motor skills, he enjoyed colouring in his Carddies and it was good for his imaginary play when he used them to play a football game.
With the involvement and hard work of my sister Esther, we made sure that the Carddies retain all the principles we care about. We wanted the Carddies to be hand drawn (by us!), top quality, Made in the UK, with strong eco credentials; packaging that was compact and sturdy, yet attractive to children so that they would keep their Carddies in a lovely little home... pencils of artist quality... Basically we wanted a toy that as parents we would be happy to buy for our own children.
What is a Carddies set?
Each Carddies set has:
-A theme that appeals to children (Knights, School, Football, Fairies, etc).
- 12 double-sided card figures, 12 colouring pencils, 12 plastic stands, a fold-out scene that also doubles up as a naming card.
-In the case of the Carddies Football set, a little plastic sphere so the child can play a pretend football game.
Colouring in. We made the figures double-sided to extend their colouring-in value and to make them more realistic.
Play value. The stands facilitate play (we realised that although my own children were happy to play with the little people flat, or holding them up, the stands enabled children to move them around as they would other little toy figures).
Imagination. The idea of a fold-out scene to colour in and use as a backdrop came from one of my girls, making the toy similar to a mini-theatre.
Personalising. The idea of a naming card (on the reverse of the scene) first arose from my children always wanting to give the Carddies names.
What makes Carddies special?
We have been delighted to see how the Carddies have appealed to a very wide number of children, including, for example, where attention, verbal or motor skills might be more limited, and also in the case of physical disability.
These are a few of the reactions to the Carddies:
Rebecca, who reviews toys from a disability point of view, (mainly from a child's perspective), gave Carddies a big thumbs-up, and showed how brilliant they are for play (note the wonderful names she gave the Cavepeople!): http://critiquesandtests.weebly.com/carddies---cavemen-set.html
We have often been told that Carddies are a valuable educational tool, and could even be useful in therapy:
"These Carddies sets could easily be a great resource in the early years and primary classrooms, with the different themes allowing for a diverse array of storytelling opportunities. Adding the use of simple technology, stories can be developed, supporting language and literacy skills or used as a teaching aide so teachers create their own stories."
Fine Motor Skills/Creativity/Communication/Sharing.
"I love the idea behind Carddies and feel they would be brilliant for creating social stories for a child on the autism spectrum while encouraging creativity and improvements in fine motor skills... The fact Little man was sent a football theme box of Carddies made all the difference and he had fun actually designing the kits for the players. It was a great way to unleash some inner creativity that he has and he remained on task for a little longer than usual."
(A Boy With Asperger's: http://aspergersinfo.wordpress.com/?s=carddies)
If a child needs a bit of help with colouring in, or placing the figures in stands, the toy can be used with the help of an adult, or siblings/friends:
"My son sat colouring for about 15 minutes but because he has poor pencil grip he tends to tire of writing/colouring for longer periods however his 2 1/2 year old sister helped by doing some colouring too while my son kept saying thank you A you good girl!"
(Sarah's World: http://sarahandc.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/carddies-review.html )
Personal connection/collectability value.
A reviewer early on wrote this about her boy whose "attention span with this sort of toy can be quite limited":
"S has particularly enjoyed his Carddies. He coloured in the background really carefully and some of his characters, making sure that the colours matched on both the back and the front of their clothes. He talked about the different members of his family, and has named some of them on the back of the background, where there are pictures of each character and a space for their name."
This from another reviewer:
"I bought these Carddies for my 4 1/2 yr old daughter who was finding it hard to settle into school. She enjoyed colouring them in and name tagging them with the names of the children in her class, she has role played the time spent at school through her eyes with them and now knows all the names of the children in her class and is beginning to settle into school. A fantastic toy."
Relaxing and Absorbing. My friend (whose daughter has ASD) said:
"We were meeting a friend for lunch and L asked if she could take her Carddies with her. She sat yesterday and named them all and wanted to carry on... She sat the entire time in the restaurant colouring them in and placing them in the "ballet classroom". It was great in so many ways-so quick and neat to store away when the food came, such high quality pencils and colours AND she still has loads to do in terms of colouring and playing!! I will be taking them out with me on future trips!"
L wanted me to tell you "the Carddies are brilliant... I really love them. May many others love them too!!"
On that note, we really hope that you give the Carddies a go!
Carddies are available from Winslow Resources