Sylvanian Families is the name given to the collection of toy animal families dressed in human form. These animals are modelled on woodland creatures such as hedgehogs, bears, mice and beavers
They are beloved by children from about four years of age. They love to collect these families and the houses they live in. As well as dwellings there are also other community buildings such as schools, chapels and hotels.
Sylvanian Houses as well as the Sylvanian Families change and develop over the years. This keeps the interest of collectors and gives greater choice to the new buyers.
The range started in 1985 with products being released in both Japan and North America. It was a great success which led to them being introduced in Western Europe in 1987. By 1988 they were being sold around the world.
Since then the range has had a bit of a bumpy ride being discontinued and having name changes. Now though they are all back and more beautiful than ever. In the US and Canada the range is called Calico Critters with the rest of the world retaining the name Sylvanian Families.
Sylvanian Families and Calico Critters are basically the same in that they can be interchanged being the same sizes. If you love Sylvanian Families you will love Calico Critters. Your Sylvanian Families will fit quite nicely into Calico Critters houses.
For collectors it gives an even greater range of pieces to be collected.
The two ranges are distributed by two distinct companies:
- Sylvanian Families and everything associated with them belong to Flair Leisure Products
- Calico Critters and associated products belog to International Playthings.
Both populations live in the forest, Sylvan means forest and Calico Critters live at Cloverleaf Corners which is part of the forest.
For children these toys help to act out everyday life of ordinary families. The families are usually the mother and father with two children. These families go shopping, look after the house and go to work. This important acting out of situations through play helps the child to examine what life is all about and where she fits in it.