The wooden toys which refuse to sink into oblivion

Manufactures sell their traditional wooden toys in the streets of this town, despite the competition Chinese toys represent
Wooden toy train – Photo: Artemio Guerra/CUARTOSCURO
04/01/2018
12:00
Claudia González
San Antonio la Isla, State of Mexico
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Wooden toys are still manufactured and up for sale in San Antonio la Isla, a town famous for its woodworks, located in the central State of Mexico.

Spinning tops, toy trains, toy kitchen sets, doll houses, cup-and-stick toys, and foosball tables are some of the items you can find here. In some cases, such as the store Centro Artesanal, toys are only purchased wholesale by intermediaries who will sale the toys at stores in other towns of the State of Mexico as part of the Three Wise Men tradition, which takes place in Mexico on January 5. However, plastic toys and those made in China are a huge competition.

“Prices can't compete with those of fad toys. A foosball table ranges between 75 to 500 pesos [roughly USD$ 3.8 to $26] depending on size; a doll house may sell for a thousand [USD$52 approx] but we cannot compete with the technology kids these days are used to,” says Juana, a toy seller.

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(Wooden toys – File photo/EL UNIVERSAL)

Toy cars, dining room sets, ironing boards, and doll beds are among the best-sold items during the season as many parents still believe it's important to preserve the tradition and make their children play with their imagination rather with video games. Thus, the streets of this small town are filled with toys of all shapes and sizes.

Usually, the almost 28,000 inhabitants who do woodworks here sell napkin holders, salt and pepper shakers, and wood boards yet coming the month of November they begin to manufacture toys, which they have on sale by December 20, so their products can be given as Christmas gifts or for the day of the Three Wise Men.

“Our direct competition are the Chinese [products], because they have almost perfect copies of Barbie dolls and fad toys, toys from films, that make sales difficult, but some parents still want their kids to have at least one traditional toy,” states Juana.

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(Cup-and-stick toy - Photo: Leticia Sánchez/EL UNIVERSAL)

Several young parents can be seen on the streets and they all believe it's important to encourage a healthier development for their children and games they can play with their kids.

“We know it's not the same, that kids want a toy Pony, or a crying and eating doll, but it's also nice to put them in a toy wooden horse and play with them,” says Susana, mother of two kids aged 3 and 5.

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