Modern and traditional Spanish Toys and Games
TOYS FROM SPAIN THAT MAKE GREAT GIFTS
There’s many reasons to look for Spanish toys as gifts. Maybe you want them to become familiar with Spain’s culture, or learn the language, or even build expectation about an upcoming trip. In this post you’ll find lots of ideas and inspiration to find the perfect game or toy from Spain or about it. There’s so many options!
Because did you know that Spain is one of the leading toy manufacturers in Europe? And that toys have been intimately close to Spanish history, up to the point that an articulated doll was found in an infant tomb from the Roman times in Tarragona, near Barcelona? You can see it in the National Museum of Archaeology of Tarragona. And a simpler one was found in Merida and is now displayed in the National Museum of Archaeology in Madrid.
But it wouldn’t be until the late 1700’s when the first toy workshops started opening, expanding to other regions such as Valencia over the next decades, at the same time that the first specialty toy stores started opening in the main capitals. Then said small workshops became factories with the arrival of the Industrial Revolution, and the rest, as they say, is history. But enough of words! Let’s get inspired with the magic of the toys of Spain!
Popular board games from Spain
It's funny how games I've always played at home don't always have their equivalent in the rest of the world! And I couldn't imagine a childhood without them. That is the case of two very popular games that are present at any Spanish household with kids: Parchís and Juego de la oca. Parchís is a dice board game for 4 players (although sometimes you can find boards for 6 or 7 players) where you need to bring your 4 pawns from the "nest" to the "house", around the board and "killing" competitor pawns on the way. It's a game from the same family of Ludo and Pachisi.
And in Spain you’ll often find a second board game printed on the reverse side of a Parchís game: the Juego de la Oca (game of the goose). It’s a racing board game similar to Snakes and Ladders, but each square is decorated with a different drawing, some of them affecting the course of the game: a skull, a prison, a well, two dices, two bridges and several gooses. When you fall on a goose, you say “De oca a oca y tiro porque me toca“, move your pawn to the next goose and throw the dice again.
Also, do you know that in Spain we have our own playing cards? The Spanish-suited cards have four suits: bastos (clubs), espadas (swords), oros (golden coins) and copas (cups), and 40, 48 or 50 cards – depending if they include 8s and 9s or 2 additional jokers. You won’t play poker with them, but there’s many other fun games to discover. I grew up playing “La Mona”, “El Burro”, “Siete y Medio”… these are fun card Spanish games to play with kids. Adults play more complex games such as the Brisca, the Tute, the Botifarra, the Mus…
Finally, I couldn’t go without mentioning Futbolin, a table soccer game documented in Spain since the 1890’s, and very commonly seen in village bars. It consists of a four-legged table topped with a small soccer field and several rods across it with miniature players of two teams attached to them. The players need to use the rods to move the figurines and hit the ball until they score in their rival’s gate. It’s fun, but it requires more space to store it once you are done playing (so be warned).
Best Spanish dolls
Dolls are an iconic type of toy that as I mentioned before has been popular in Spain since ancient times. Spain doesn’t lack of many private doll collectors such as Teresa Martin in Huelva, Maria Emilia C. Lira in Chiclana, Maria Rosa Sort in La Seu d’Urgell… You can also admire the collection of the pedagogue from the 1800’s Lola Anglada in Sitges… But that’s mostly vintage dolls.
When you are looking for Spanish dolls for your kids, you can go two ways: either a doll dressed in a Spanish traditional dress, or a normal doll from a well-known doll manufacturer from Spain such as the dolls by Nenuco or JC Toys, the spectacular Reborn dolls by Antonio Juan, the figurines world of Playmobil and Pinypon…
Puzzles and Jigsaws about Spain
There’s no better way to build excitement about an upcoming trip, or to have your child get familiar with a Spanish city or landmark than playing puzzles or jigsaws together. Choose your favorite city or landmark and find a puzzle about it that you can do with your child during the weekend or in the afternoons. That’ll be a great way to bond and talk about your upcoming trip! Or what about a Lego set? The Lego sets for soccer stadiums of the FC Barcelona and Real Madrid teams are easy to find online. For other landmarks you might need to order them from your closest Lego store.
Does your kid love to play with costumes and dressing up? That can be another fun way to connect your kid with the Spanish culture! A flamenco dancer dress is the dream of any little girl. Pair with some polka dot shoes and a matching flower hair pin and voilà! As for boys a bullfighter dress can be an original disguise for Halloween. Plus both boys and girls that are into sports will be thrilled with a soccer kit of their favorite Spanish team or the Spanish selection.
Bilingual and Spanish learning toys
Are you into languages? Then consider a toy that helps them learn Spanish. There’s a huge range of toys available, even for babies and toddlers. Remember that what’s learnt through play tends to stick more than what’s learnt through effort. And it’s important to convey the idea that learning foreign languages is fun. Plus imagine how proud they’ll be when you finally get to Spain and they can say some words to the locals that you’ll be interacting with.
More ideas from popular Spain toy manufacturers
Do you need even more ideas for Spanish toys? Keep the following brands under your radar!
- JC Toys, famous for their baby dolls and reborns.
- Jovi, specializing in playdough and other crafts suplies.
- Bizak, over 70 decades of experience creating toys for boys and girls of all ages.
- CEFA, inspiring your kids creativity and learning.
- Molto, specializing in babies and toddlers.
- Educa, cool puzzles and educational toys.
- Chicos, innovative intearactive games reproducing real-life situations.
- Scalextric, an iconic slot racing toys.
- Subbuteo, the original.
- Injusa, best toy motorbikes, quads and roadrunners.
What are your favorite toys and games from Spain?
Marta is the founder of ForeverBarcelona. She is a passionate tour guide that loves Barcelona and loves writing too. She is the main author of our Blog, and is committed to sharing her knowledge about Barcelona and her best tips with our readers.
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Last update on 2023-02-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API