Cars instead of teddy bears
For centuries, Czech toys have been inspired by fairy tale characters or depicted popular animal heroes. New motifs were added to teddy bears, horses and dolls at the beginning of the 20th century. The Prague Association of Artists Artěl wanted to emphasize not only the aesthetic value, but also to present technological innovations. Children began to play with miniatures of cars or tractors. Handmade toys that refer to the Artěl tradition can be purchased on the Modernista website
. After World War II, designers in Czechoslovakia did not have the same options as their Western European counterparts. They often had to improvise because of a lack of material or technology. Despite this, they created original toys that have been enjoyed by several generations.
One of the respected post-war designers was Libuše Niklová, who came from Zlín. The Fatra company is based in the nearby Napajedla town, which still specializes in plastic processing. Libuše Niklová started working here in the mid-1960s together with another designer Alfred Kluge. They noticed an interesting waste in the factory and so the organ seal became the body of a black-and-white cat or a bright yellow lion. The design team also designed brightly colored inflatable toys in the shape of an elephant, buffalo or giraffe, which are still sold on the Fatra website
Bolts and nuts
Manufacturers of metal and tin toys wanted to adapt to children who grew up with teddy bears and dolls. One of the oldest Czech companies is KOVAP, which has been focusing on tin toys since 1946. Take a look at the cute ladybug
on the key or buy your offspring a model of a tractor
that does not lack shifting or reverse. Very popular is the Czech metal kit Merkur
. It was invented by Jaroslav Vancl in 1920 and its main goal was to stimulate young people's manual dexterity and creativity. The kit is still very popular and encourages small and large fans of technology to cope with the clutter of bolts and nuts. A crane, car or tank can be assembled from the kit.
A reduced world
The ingenious function of the toys also played a crucial role in Igráček, whose author was engineer Jiří Kalina from the IGRA Production Cooperative. He wanted to come up with an alternative to a tin soldier. He designed a plastic figurine that can hold various objects in its hands and depicts various professions, such as a bricklayer, nurse, chef... Over the decades, Igráček
has had to adapt to new trends and shows children the conveniences of the modern world. Today, you can buy various elements for this character, such as a multifunctional car with interchangeable MultiGO baskets or a Handy briefcase, which, when unfolded, turns into a small room or a police station.
The charm of geometry
However, there are not only retro toys on the Czech market, but you will also find a number of innovative companies based on traditional crafts and offering innovations for children. One of them is the company Kutulu, which produces toys from beech wood. The authors rely on the simplicity and magic of geometry, a thousand and one variant can be assembled from a wooden kit
, or your descendants can learn about warriors from ancient Greece. Another company that focuses on wooden toys is Utukutu. The designers collaborate with experts in physiotherapy and have developed a collection of movement aids
. From the Spectra swing, a simple magic becomes a seat, a climbing frame or a tunnel. Thanks to its color design, the Spectra can be an inconspicuous natural accessory, but also a distinctive design element that will brighten up your children and the apartment.