The Spielwarenmesse TrendCommittee is on the lookout each year for the hottest trends in the toy industry. But what did our experts like to play with when they were kids? We investigated:
When I was a child, I would always focus on symbolic play as I liked playing with dolls and was particularly interested in kitchens. I loved cooking for my dolls and for my little friends, my relatives, my brothers and my parents (in an imaginary sense, of course). So my favourite gift - brought to me one year by the Three Wise Men - was a fantastic wooden kitchen to play and cook with. And I’m glad my father took that photo of me, because I was very excited about this toy. It was a really special toy for me: I could finally prepare better ‘real meals’ in my ‘modern kitchen’.
This photo shows me at around 18 months of age in the summer of 1946. I seem to be very proud of my bucket and spade, though I must say I don’t remember them very clearly. It was taken in front of the house where we lived in Milan, so I wonder what I was up to, with no sand around…
I’m the boy closest to the camera and the big red truck was my pride and joy. I’ve never washed any car as often as I did that truck either.
When I was around three, my father brought me back these plastic pull-along ducks from a business trip. Originally they wore hats, but I clearly preferred them bareheaded and removed the unnecessary bits. I loved the ducks so much that I took them everywhere with me for about a year. When I stopped using the toy, my parents gave it to another child in the neighbourhood.
The photo was taken on my third birthday in 1972. As you can see, I was always into creative activities, such as painting, even from a young age. Another favourite toy was a children’s sewing machine, which I still love to this day. It is made of sturdy metal and is bright red, and it still sews. I don’t know when I got it, but I know I got it from my grandma and used it to sew dolls clothes at the time. I’ve kept it because I am really fond of it. It is like a good omen for me because it’s like my grandma knew that I would also design fashion in the future. I worked as a knitwear designer from 1996 to 2002.
As a child, I loved dressing up and pretending to be a whole range of different people: one day a cowboy, the next a policeman, the next an astronaut.
Growing up as a child in sunny southern California, my favourite playthings were my baseball mitt, the huge trees in our backyard and my brother and sisters. From dawn to dusk, I was usually outside, creating games and adventures, and using our most abundant tools, our imaginations and ingenuity!”
My favourite toy? Anything that flew tended to catch my fancy. My father was an engineer and worked closely with the Siemens factory in Karlsruhe, Germany, to set up a steel plant in India. During one of his visits, he bought me back a styrofoam glider. My friends and I spent lots of sunny summer afternoons taking it gliding.”
Unfortunately, I have no photos of myself as a child. I was a huge Lego fan. It helped me express my creativity – and believe me, there was some substance there. It also allowed me to drive my playtime and interact with my brother and friends as I wanted, but over long hours.”