TOYS

Fuzzy Felt

Bring back Fuzzy Felt! Ok, so it's stuck around to some extent, but surely it's the ideal toy to invest in right now. For one, it's one of the few toys these days that doesn't require batteries, and secondly it can be played with time and time again, making its super eco-friendly. You could even make your own - but only if you've got a Blue Peter badge!

Simple yet effective, Fuzzy Felt arrived on the toy scene in the 50s. A collection of small, fuzzy pieces of felt in assorted shapes, sizes and colours could all be arranged on a felt-covered board (abour 10x6in) to make a picture or pattern of your choice. Mum liked the fact that no messy adhesives were needed, leaving her prize cushions unharmed. Dad liked the fact it kept you quiet and in one small contained area of the house for hours at a time.

If you weren't feeling very creative, luckily a range of themed Fuzzy Felt sets (ie, Ballet, Farmyard, and much later on Thomas The Tank Engine, Noddy and My Little Pony) were released to inspire your picture-making. And if all else failed, there was always someone at school who knew how to make a Farmyard set of felts into a rather rude picture while the teacher wasn't looking! This didn't stop Fuzzy Felt being favoured by Sunday schools everywhere - there was even a Bible Stories felt set, complete with camels and three kings.

Most kids were just in awe of the feeling of having felt in their hands when playing with the toy set. It didn't seem to matter that none of the felt shapes had any detail - silhouettes kept the scenes simple and most of the time we knew what the shapes were meant to be. Rumour has it that the most coveted shape of all was the monkey, which came with the Jungle-themed Fuzzy Felt set. True fans of this piece would always aim for maximum use out of it, introducing it to a sunny field scene or a ballet class even. After all, if you let it out of your hands for one minute, the monkey would have fallen into some other kids grubby paws, never to be seen again.

Apparently, Fuzzy Felt was invented by Lois Allan of the UK during the Second World War. Lois was helping the war effort by cutting felt gaskets for tanks and other military vehicles, when she discovered the entertainment potential of the felt offcuts! So, what amounted to little more than a bunch of cheap cut-offs has become an iconic toy of our time. Who knew kids could be so easily pleased?

Do You Remember Fuzzy Felt?

Do You Remember Fuzzy Felt?

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