Most children who grew up in a vehicle-oriented family remember countless evenings spent on the ground with nothing but a few small cars and plenty of obstacles and creative sounds to liven up the world around them. In fact, we were creating worlds together.
These days, it seems that very few toys still leave room for the creative factor of childhood play. But a crew, Candy lab toys, is on a mission to change all that.
If you’ve never heard of Candylab Toys, you are going to love me after this one. In 2013, Vlad Dragusin, founder of Candylab Toys, hit the market with toys that looked like they had just come out of a corner of the attic, that dark and spooky corner you never dared to venture into as a child. This startup seemed to want to keep the spirit of the childhood mentioned above alive. Since we are now in 2021, this crew seems to have succeeded.
Today, Candylab is a massive company made up of reducers, designers, engineers, and parents. Every toy that ends up in your child’s hands has gone through years of development. Not only are they safe and made from natural materials, mostly wood, but each unit is built and designed with “Adherence to the principles of mid-century modern design pioneers”. What more could you want?
The crew first hit the market via a Kickstarter campaign that triggered the Stinger, Carbon 77, and Doc Ryder units. They were a success and today this company offers a range of toys that spans multiple collections, styles and even environments.
Now for me trying to go through all the toys this crew has to offer would be sheer madness, so I’ll stick to the grand scheme of things. If you go to the Candylab website, you will see two clear categories to explore, Candycar and Americana.
The Candycar category covers a range of vehicles, colors and shapes. There is a Camper Friendly and RV collection that includes such toys as teardrop RVs, station wagons, and even RVs. The Suburbia collection gives kids the chance to play with things like mail vans, sedans, and a New York Times van. Yes, Candylab is collaborating with The New York Times magazine for a special model. The Ice Museum has a collaboration, as does Yves Saint Laurent. Under the Candycar category there is also a collection of Food Trucks and some others.
The Americana category is where Candylab sticks to the iconic shapes and vehicles of American automotive culture. With vehicles like the Sunbird and Waterbird, clear references to the Firebird and Thunderbird and a GT-10 (I think the “1” is awesome), this collection is sure to grab the attention of adults and kids.
My two favorite collections in the American category are The Adventurer and The Beach Buses. If you follow with self-evolution, that shouldn’t surprise you. Under The Adventurer, you’ll find pickup trucks and vehicles with roof racks. At the same time, The Beach Buses produces three beautiful and simple beach buses with modular construction, depending on what your child’s imagination calls for at any given time.
Other collections offer extensions to your child’s imagination with constructions that represent places like donut shops and hamburger cabins, and even a parking lot. Some sets represent expressways, towns or the open road; imagination is the only speed limit here. With figures starting at $ 10 (EUR 8.8 at current exchange rates), there is a toy available for almost any kid and any pocket size.
I said it at the start of this article, and I’ll say it again, toys these days seem to limit a child’s perception. Candylab appears to work on stimulating, but not limiting, your child’s creativity. Plus, they’re great for everything from “Stocking Stuffers” to “Under the Tree” gift ideas. Did someone say Christmas?