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With the advent of COVID, social distancing and travel restrictions, in a lot of ways the world got smaller last year. People’s lives became more self-contained and, in some ways simpler.
So, it’s perhaps fitting that the latest toy trends for miniatures has taken off with toys literally getting smaller as well.
Teeny, tiny collectable ‘minis’ as they are known, have been a huge hit in Australia and the rest of the world – not only with kids but with adults as well.
Kids have always been fascinated by miniature things. In his book In Miniature: How Small Things Illuminate The World, Simon Garfield theorises that miniature worlds give kids a sense of control and a taste of what it’s like to interact with things as an adult.
Meanwhile, adults have always loved the ‘cuteness factor’ of miniature stuff. Most recently, French fashion designer Simon Porter Jacquemus released a much fawned over miniscule 9cm handbag, and Nutella scored a win with its mini Nutelino jars – even though they contain just two spoonfuls of hazelnut spread.
It’s a whole new (tiny) world.
However, the mini craze is actually nothing new. In fact, tiny books with microscopic text were all the rage in the 16th Century. More than 500 years later, in a world first, Coles collaborated last year with mega popular children’s Treehouse authors Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton to create 8cm tall mini versions of their books, free with every purchase over $30.
What’s said to be fuelling the current craze is the amount of engagement online. Instagram page ‘The Daily Miniature’ has more than 200,000 followers and features everything from mini lampshades to mini toothpaste tubes.
In particular, there’s been enormous interest from kids in new social media giant Tik Tok’s pages. One account – Zuru’s Mini Brands – showcases its mini collectibles videos, with over 300,000 followers.
Kids are amassing whole armies of tiny toys … and loving it!
Another big appeal factor is that we’re all more marketing savvy these days and into brands. Kids are these days more aware of what products their parents are buying and whether it’s a ‘good brand’ or not. We are now at the point where a tiny box of branded pasta is considered a fun thing by a kid, and a make-believe doll’s tea party with generic wooden biscuits, just doesn’t cut it.
If you’re still not sure what all the fuss is about, check out these little beauties below …
Moose Shopkins – Real Littles
Having had major success with their mini humanised Shopkins range featuring the likes of cupcakes, fruit and icecream cones with faces, Moose has also expanded to Real Littles – combo packs of traditional Shopkins with mini products such as tiny boxes of Kellogs cereal and Pringles chips.
Woolworths garden minis – Discovery Garden Seedling Kits
Woolies is going eco-friendly this year with their free garden seedling kits which come with seed packets and your own mini cardboard pot. Once the seedling sprouts the idea is to then transfer the plant to a bigger pot to grow. Of the 24 vegetable, herb and flowering plant varieties available in this new collection, 21 seedlings are bee attracting.
Zuru – 5 Surprise Toy Mini Brands
Also including an unboxing element, each capsule includes 5 surprises – either five miniature mystery collectibles or four miniatures and a shopping accessory. Features more than 60 minis to collect such as shrunken Teenage Mutant Ninja action figures to mini Rubiks Cubes and tiny Crayola sets.
Zuru have also just brought out Fair Unicorn Squad – a collection of mini unicorns, and Dino Strike Squad which has little dinosaurs and hunting vehicles.
DreamWorks Trolls World Tour Dancers and Doll Figures
Kids can have fun recreating scenes from Trolls with mini Poppy, Branch, Barb, Tiny Diamond, and Mermaid figures which shimmy and shake.
You can also attach each figure to the included ring and barrette and make them dance. Series 2 features 12 different stylised characters.
Coles – Little Shop
These have been a smash ever since they were introduced two years ago and have resulted in one of the most popular marketing campaigns undertaken by any retailer for years.
Tiny products include Arnott’s Barbecue Shapes, Heinz Baked Beans, Maggi 2 Minute Noodles, Campbell’s Tomato Soup, Eclipse Mints and Finish Dishwasher Cleaner.