- What: Calico Critters toys
- When: 3 to 10 years
- Why: Detailed, lots of options
- Where: Amazon or Calico Critters
I realized we’ve written about the joys of various Calico Critter vehicles and abodes without addressing the animals themselves. So even though it’s overdue, here’s an introduction to the world of Calico Critters.
Known as Sylvanian Families in other countries, Calico Critters come in a wide variety of animal forms. These tiny little plastic figurines come covered in soft fuzz. Kids can collect baby, kid, and adult sized animals in a wide variety of types. From cats, various breeds of dogs, hedgehogs, deer, and rabbits, to pandas, otters, alpacas, and kangaroos, each small figure comes dressed in tiny removable clothes.
Kids can buy family sets, typically including a mother, father, and one or two kids. You can also get additional sets of animals, like twins, grandparents, and more to expand your family. The bigger critters (adults and kids) have posable arms, legs, and heads, while the babies have fewer moving body parts. Much like dollhouses, kids can buy homes, vehicles, and furniture to accommodate their critters. The animals can easily be played with as stand alone toys, without all the extras. But a lot of the fun comes with the crazy small accessories included in each set. These sets include lots of tiny pieces not suitable for younger kids, such as tiny forks and spoons, slices of bread, hair combs, and much, much more.
Many of the structures can be combined to form either a larger structure, or connected side by side to set up a town. Some sets will include a critter or two in the box, so if you’re just starting out, look for one of those options. Most homes don’t come with much furniture, so in addition to buying the house, you also need to consider a furniture set or two. The furniture and other accessories easily move between buildings, and it doesn’t take long to collect a lot of small pieces. For example, a bedroom set may include a bed or two, a desk or vanity, a mattress, bed cover, chair, floor mat, and a handful of tiny accessories like pencils, books, decorations, combs, and tiny bottles. Calico Critters sets list the number of pieces included, but be aware that most of the count comes from these tiny additional pieces rather than the furniture or bigger items.
My daughter loves these tiny animals and has collected quite a few over the years. We originally housed them in a basic wooden dollhouse, as the plastic brand name homes cost anywhere from $30 for the smallest options up to $180 or more for the deluxe type. Now her collection has expanded into additional buildings and vehicles, and the pieces keep piling up.
If you want to get your child started on a Calico Critter collection, we recommend the Red Roof Cozy Cottage. It comes with a removable second floor that can be placed next to the ground floor to create a larger play area, or even flipped over to create a green outdoor area for play. The set also comes with a rabbit figurine, a table with chairs, kitchen, and a bed with coordination accessories. This home also connects with larger sets if you expand your collection later.
Welcome to Calico Critters and all the tiny pieces your heart could desire! Have fun decorating, rearranging, and pursuing a life of leisure.