Collecting as a hobby is nothing new. Religious artefacts were most likely the first items to be collected as far back as the 16th century. By the 18th century, personal antique collecting began to take off in Europe and the US, with “manuscripts, old books, and the possessions of the famous” becoming highly sought after. In the 20th and 21st centuries, collecting as a hobby moved forward from philately (the collection of stamps), deltiology (postcards), and numismatics (coins) to some interesting new areas such as antique slot machines, and now in 2017, toys to improve your health and have fun!
According to James L. Halperin, a professional rare coin dealer and futurist, there are many reasons to collect - ranging from gaining knowledge, to relaxation and stress reduction, aesthetics and even nostalgia. Of course there’s also the issue of the accumulation of wealth. The world’s most expensive antique slot machine, for example, was worth over $1 million, but that particular one was encrusted with diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds by the world-famous jewellery designer Sidney Mobell. Those lucky enough to have collected Pez (candy) dispensers might find a valuable one in their collection too, with one AstronautB from 2006 sold for $32,000!
Yet as the focus in many families turns to health and fitness, toys related to this near-obsession abound. Like the Stanford University study led by marketing expert and professor Itamar Simonson in association with Leilei Gao of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Drexel University’s Yanliu Huang shows, “people are more likely to build a collection of something once they possess two of them”. These toy collections are helping families to achieve “achieve physical and mental relaxation through play”.
Some examples include:
- Colouring books for mental stimulation and relaxation (and you can’t just have one of those!)
- The Gonge Roller, to encourage balance, motor skills and co-ordination (one for each member of the family, for some healthy competition)
- The Yoga Spinner (a fun yoga game of flexibility and balance)
- Fitness dice (Roll the dice and perform the exercise shown on the top of both dice)
- The LeapFrog LeapBand (activity tracker)
- Mermaid tails for active swimmers
- Soccer or footballs that light up in the dark for some outdoor fun
- ZB Freestyle Board (for unique skateboard-like tricks on any surface including grass)
- And even skates to slide on carpets indoors for bad weather.
The fact remains that as our lives are becoming increasingly digital, they are generally also becoming more sedentary. Recently the calculation for time spent on social media translated into a total of 5 years and 4 months over a lifetime. This is in addition to the seven years and eight months of our lives we spend on the couch watching TV.
So a toy collection of this nature can only be a good thing - both for a stronger family bond and some healthier bodies of all ages!