Calafant are paper toys. They come flat, and the pre-cut and pre-punched sturdy white cardboard pieces can be put together without glue and without scissors scissors. Then the child can use markers, paint, and other art supplies to decorate their creation. Eventually, the toy can be recycled.
Calafant is made in China and designed in Germany. It won the Toy Innovation Award in 2006 for creativity.
We tried out the Palace ($24.99).
The palace came in a big pink box.
"Ooooooooooooh! Whats that?"
"That's not a palace!"
No, those are the pre-cut pieces. The palace was a little challenging and required a mommy to help with assembly. It was definitely too much for a five year old, but I think an eight or nine year old could assemble it with only a little help.
Linnea checks out the pre-cut pieces.
Assembly in progress. The picture-based directions were a little confusing at times, but it was easy to figure out.
We decided to play first and decorate later. Our small dolls from were just the right size.
But, Linnea couldn't wait to decorate. Ooops! While we were cooking dinner, she got out her crayons and was very proud of the results.
Arielle was not happy. She wanted a real castle made of stones and sparkles. So the next day, I dug through the craft box for suitable materials. Color chips left from last years remodeling and anything sparkly. We cut out lots of stones.
Arielle glued stones to the castle.
Linnea got a very special job.
Lots of decorating...
... and they had a beautiful palace fit for all sorts of adventures.
The castle is for children three and up. It is sturdy for gentle play, but it did come apart (and was quickly reassembled) when Linnea got grabby and rough.
In the last few months, we've traveled a lot. I've had the challenge of keeping little girls occupied while spending hours in a hotel room without a lot of toys. I think a set of Calafant and a set of markers would have been a great solution. Smaller sets like the house ($6.99), farm ($14.99) or pirate ship ($14.99)are inexpensive (so you don't feel bad if you can't take them home) and will easily fit in a suitcase. Some sets even come with markers.
The girls had a wonderful time and worked together very nicely to create their masterpiece. It was a fun art project and a good learning experience. I think we'll do more during the long winter; what a perfect quiet project for a snow or sick day.
Thank you, Moolka!