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Love Travelling? 8 Traditional Toys To Collect From Around the World


When you combine your love for travelling and toy collecting, you might consider collecting a few traditional toys during your travels around the world. After all, a toy is a universal thing that kids (and adults!) of all ages treasure the most.

Here are some traditional toys you should get yourself on your next trip to these eight countries:

  1. Japan- Daruma Otoshi

The Daruma doll is a hollow, round, Japanese traditional doll whose face is painted as a Buddhist priest or a Samurai. The Daruma doll is in five pieces, usually in the colours of the rainbow. Otoshi means to drop; hence, the Daruma Otoshi game is played using a small hammer to hit each of the coloured pieces, from the bottom to the top, without letting the doll fall during the game.

  1. China- Diabolo/ Chinese Yo-yo

The Diabolo, otherwise known as the Chinese Yo-yo, is a staple for the acrobatic performances of the theatre group Cirque de Soleil. It is also one of the traditional toys from Chinas where the game of Diabolo has been practised for more than 4000 years.

In China, diabolos are still made in bamboo, with openings on the side, making them whistle while spinning. It consists of an axle and two cups or discs, which is spun using a string attached to two hand sticks. You can also spin multiple diabolos on one string. Like the yo-yo that we know, there are also basic and advanced tricks and variations to play the game.

  1. Italy- Scopa Cards

Scopa is a 40-decker Italian card game, played mostly between two players or four in two partnerships. It can also be played by 3, 5, or 6 players. Scopa means “broom”, so the goal is to sweep away all the cards to win the game.

Consists of 40 cards, the scopa deck is divided into four suits- coins, cups, swords, and baton. There are also a few deck variations, but the most used cards come from the Piacentine.

  1. Mexico- Rag Dolls

Mexican rag dolls, also known as Marias, are hand-stitched, braided rag dolls found in areas where tourists in the south frequent. The most authentic of these rag dolls come from the Mexican town of Amealco, where the production of these dolls has become the primary source of income for the Otomi women of the municipality. Although these rag dolls are commonly found in Amealco, you can also see variations in other states.

  1. Kenya- Galimoto

Galimotos are extremely popular in Kenya. A galimoto is a toy vehicle, usually made out of old wires and other scrap materials, such as sticks, twigs, and cornstalks. The wire is wrapped with fabric to provide structure and sturdiness. It has movable parts and is moved with a long stick while the child playing with it pushes the toy. Kenyan children can create these toys on their own.

  1. Denmark/ Sweden- Timber Toys

Scandinavian countries like Denmark and Sweden manufacture timbre toys. They represent the history of wooden playthings in such countries from the 17th to the 21st century. From dollhouses, to animal figurines, to planes and automobiles, the production of these timbre items became a part of these countries’ national identities. The lush natural resources of these places provide a great source of income for toy makers in the industry. These timbre toys also serve as useful items that shape children’s creative skills and education more than the entertainment they provide.

  1. Ukraine- Lalka Motanka

The Motanka is another traditional handmade rag doll that represents a lot of the Ukrainian culture, most especially the goddess of fertility, Roshanytsa. It wears a traditional Ukrainian outfit and, unlike rag dolls from other countries, is faceless. People believe that the Lalka Motankas are made for children to help protect them.

  1. India- Carrom

Carrom is a “strike and pocket” board game of Eastern origin similar to billiards and table shuffleboard. The game is very popular in Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and other Middle Eastern countries.

The objective of the game is to use a striker disk with a flick of a finger to make contact with and move lighter object disks called carrom men, which are propelled into one of four corner pockets. The aim is to pot/ pocket one’s nine carom men and the Queen before your opponent.

It’s really interesting to get our hands on these traditional toys since they hold the long-standing culture and history of the country they represent. In addition, taking home these mementos add vibrance and flavour to our travels. They are even great conversation starters and souvenirs.

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