Made in India toy brands that are on top of their game – Condé Nast Traveller India


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To anyone asking if there are any Indian brands making toys that are fun, smart and sturdy, here are nine options to pick from: Indian toy brands for you to check outFunskoolEstablished in 1987 in Chennai, Funskool (India) Ltd has a range of puzzles in its Play & Learn range as well as rubik cubes of varying difficulty levels to keep young minds engaged. Puzzles include the Solar System and maps as well as ones that help kids learn about inventions and their inventors, animals and the sounds they make and the like.Best for: puzzlesShalinindiaTraditional Yet Timeless: that is the brand promise and it delivers. The firm was established in the end 90s by a Bihar-bred couple, Shalini Verma and Sanjay Kumar. It manufactures wooden puzzle games like the diagonal burr, snake cube and interlocking blocks that help keep the mind sharp. It also makes board games that are ideal for both gifting and enjoyment at home, like Chinese checkers, chess or solitaire. Shalinindia’s wooden products are crafted by artisans in Uttar Pradesh. Its chess boards come in two varieties—a wooden board and one with a stone inlay.Best for: board gamesDesi ToysKids can get their mind working with Desi Toys’ nav kankari or nine men morris, the classic snakes and ladders as well as with a game of pachisi or choupad. All come with crafty boards and are an enjoyable way for children to pass the time. There’s also bhool bhulaiya (maze), memory card games, tic tac toe, snake cube puzzle and chess,  brain-building games by Desi Toys, which was born out of founder Sapna Wagh’s childhood love of traditional games. She wanted to bring the same to the tech-savvy children of today who she feels are robbed of this experience. As the name suggests, Desi Toys specialises in traditional toys like lagori, gilli danda, lattu, putt putt steam boat, the wooden kitchen set little children love to play with and so much more. Desi Toys is an “India Inspired, India Made” that aims to revive classic and iconic Indian toys and games.Best for: traditional Indian toysKidz ValleStarting from the beginner level to higher up, Kidz Valle has fun and engaging puzzles as well as card games to keep minds active. It also has a variety of traditional Indian board games like mancala, pachisi (Indian ludo), paramapadam (snakes and ladders) and chowka bhara (seven houses). Each of these games comes with wooden pawns and brass dice. Its wooden toys like the lattu, dugdugi and clown stacker are organic, toxin-free and handmade with natural colours, making them completely safe for use. They are bright and engaging and allow kids to enjoy their time sans screens. This Bengaluru-based firm sells its products on e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Flipkart as well as kid’s websites like FirstCry.Best for: traditional Indian board gamesToiingThe company’s educational games include puzzles, cards, memory games, journaling, vocabulary builders and so much for, all aimed at boosting your child’s intellectual prowess. Mumbai-based Toiing also has a range of unconventional board games, like one that teaches kids about emotions, one on strategy, one that helps with anger management and even a snakes and ladders with a twist. As is evident, Toiing makes fun toys and games that are thoughtfully designed to help with your child’s intellectual development.Best for: board gamesFunwood GamesAs the name suggests, Funwood Games makes fun wooden puzzles for children that help with mental growth. These puzzles have both numbers and alphabets on them and are shaped as various animals. Funwood is a sustainable brand that manufactures only wooden toys. These also include classics like the lattu, putt putt steam boat and yo-yo, toys we rarely get to see children play with today. Founded in 2012, Funwood aims to bring back the traditional wooden toys that have become obsolete over the years with the influx of factory-made playthings.Best for: puzzlesVarnamVarnam specialises in Channapatna toys that are made using a craft that was developed centuries ago. Its collection includes a kitchen set, abacus and various pull toys in the distinct Channapatna style. Varnam (meaning ‘colours’) has been working with artisans in Channapatna in Karnataka for over six years. It’s a recipient of a number of awards, like the Kyoorius Design Awards 2013 in Design Craft and Packaging, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Design Excellence Award 2013 for its ‘Oinkston tableware’ and the CII Design Excellence Award 2014 for Visual Communication and Packaging 2014.Best for: Channapatna toysSmartivitySmartivity promises STEAM with its products. STEAM = Science + Technology + Engineering + Arts + Mathematics. Smartivity’s products are more than just games; they provide hands-on learning through play. They boost creativity, help improve maths skills and also help develop the mind with mechanical builds—all in all, toys and games that can keep your child constructively engaged.Best for: all educational gamesKreedaKreeda researches and understands the relevance of its games in today’s life before manufacturing them. It also aims to recapture the spirit of classic games. Lattu, gilli danda and goli (marbles) are some of the traditional games Kreeda makes. Others include dahdi, chaupad and fun variations of snakes and ladders.Best for: traditional Indian games
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