How did you play? and toy focus?

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How did you play? and toy focus?

Postby dIGITS » Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:30 pm

As a child I remember encountering very different styles of play when socializing with other children.
Just made me curious, as a group of LPS enthusiasts- how did you play?
Also, on a slightly different note- were LPS your main/only toy?

For me, LPS was kind of the same obsession as a kid as it later resurfaced as an adult. :D I was meticulous and obsessive. I wanted LPS for every birthday, special occasion, christmas, etc. much to my mother's chagrin. (it must have been terrible trying to keep track of what I had and didn't have) So, yes, LPS was my only real toy/collection from 1992-1996-ish.
(I collected Minnie 'n Me until discovering LPS-it was a short lived series; only a year or 2?- I did have a few sets of paradisa legos.. and also dress-up clothes and fake food/dinner stuff and marbles but LPS was probably 95% of my playtime)

PLAY:
When I played with LPS the pets were very much more like people than animals. They all had distinct personalities, jobs, domestic responsibilities... kids always running off getting in trouble and adults usually having to come save them... My best friend and I would get all of our sets and bring them over to one another's house and set up "cities" (this would literally take hours). We even had such integrated storylines that often my families would be incomplete without hers (i.e. one of her rabbits would be the child of one of my dogs) My families also saw no species boundaries.
When I tried to play with people besides my best friend I found often our styles incompatible- they might get bored setting up the intricate scenes before play... they didn't understand my multi-species (blended) families :lol: , or often other children played with pets and dolls and the LPS just played their role as pets in a pet store, purchased by dolls and used as their live-in pets.

sorry, that was rather long-winded.
Please, regale me with your stories of game play!!!
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Re: How did you play? and toy focus?

Postby Waylah » Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:57 pm

Despite our family being quite poor when I was little, (which I had no inkling of at the time), being the youngest of five meant there were lots of hand-me-down toys to play with. LPS were pretty much the only toys I and my nearest-in-age sister received new.

I played lots of different ways growing up, playing in the garden making things out of sticks and mud, playing with paper, basic oragami, things like that, playing with duplo or our large tub of hand-me-down lego bricks. We did have some dress-ups, (including tiger skins that mum had made out of old tiger-patterned car seat covers. Go mum!) but I didn't do as much role-play as other types of play. We also had a fair assortment of stuffed toys and got a lot of play out of them. When we played with other children, we didn't usually play with toys. Usually we'd play outside, or if inside we'd play 'murder in the dark' which is basically just 'scary' hide-and-seek in the dark.

We did have one friend who also had LPS. She had the shop and the cutesy kittens, and later the zebra. I think she saw the kittens as the pets of her dolls, like you mentioned your friends doing.

When my sister and I played with LPS, it was just like you described - our animals were anthropomorphic. They lived in a street, or a huge underground burrow (accessed by the mum and babies bunnies hole, of course), traveled by steam train like a travelling circus, or they ran a large farm. We would have them set up on the stairs, like a big terraced farm. I remember getting into slightly confusing muddied waters when working out what was in the dog's food bowl, and what exactly set apart LPS from the realistic farm animals.

Although we were very conscious to keep all the pieces of all of our sets together, and we did pore over the little pamphlets with the pictures of all the other sets we didn't have, I wasn't the collector then that I am now. My LPS were never 'on display'. I properly played with them, and I did things with them then I wouldn't do now, like planting Bunny's carrots outside in the literal soil, or using 'Frankie' Falcon's cage to house actual real live tiny critters from the garden.

I'm sort of glad I wasn't too obsessed with LPS as a kid (though they were always the most special, except for my teddy), because it meant that I played with a lot of different things in a lot of different ways. Things would go in phases. It'd be all soft toys, then it'd be all lego, then it'd be LPS, then some game we invented or building cubyhouses in the back yard that would take all the chairs and sheets we could find and take up the whole backyard. Wow, we did a lot of things. It's lovely to remember.

I do remember the point at which 'play' stopped working. It was weird. The ability to animate the little LPS characters, that had come so easily, so naturally before, had just gone. It felt awkward and weird. I could set them up and look at them, but I couldn't 'walk' them around and do their voices, playing out a story. It was a little sad to realise that part of my childhood was over. Does anyone here remember the same feeling?
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Re: How did you play? and toy focus?

Postby dIGITS » Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:19 am

I was the youngest of three only so we still did have new toys for each child. I probably would have had less new things but I was the first girl. A little spoiled. All of my friends had more toys than me but I still had amassed probably 1/4 of the LPS collection with 4 years of birthday, Christmas, and the very occasional special toy pick out at the store (usually with an aunt- I was also the first niece out of my moms 14 brothers and sisters)....

Yes ! I did so much imaginative and pretend play that I tried to hold onto the spirit of play as long as possible. I was very conscious as a kid that adults no longer possessed this "ability" ... Actually since it was frowned upon in society I remember just my (same) very best friend and I secretly playing with toys and never telling anyone else or any friends. Around others we talked about the usual boys and makeup, but with each other we would still set up grand displays and play out teenage ridiculous scenarios with beanie babies and the occasional pet shops :lol: when we had to be even more surreptitious we moved to animated nail polish bottles (this was probably freshman in high school when we finally ceased play altogether :? I vowed never to lose the love of it and try to get out of my head for carefree play a few times since but, alas, as you say it is awkward and embarrassing.... When I first started recollecting (2006) my best friend at the time and I even attempted a few last ventures at imaginary adventures... :oops: but to no avail. I am still quite nostalgic for that gameplay.
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Re: How did you play? and toy focus?

Postby jillrose » Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:09 am

This is a great topic! :D

As an only child, I was very fortunate in that I was able to amass sizable collections even from a young age. I started with Petite Ponies and Li'l Litters, right around when I was 6 or so. I distinctly remember this because both of my grandparents passed during the summer when I was 6-1/2, and I had just begun collecting. My parents were burdened with the task of clearing out their homes, and as I was independent and creative, they would just bring me along and I'd take some toys and art supplies so that I could stay occupied while they dealt with all the clear-out. I would sit and set up my ponies and "My Littles" and make up stories, sometimes writing them down. My toys became consistent characters in stories that I would write and illustrate, so playtime was a catalyst for creativity.

My friends also played with Li'l Litters and Petite Ponies, so we would set up worlds for them and create adventures together. We would all compare at Christmas and birthdays who got which new sets. One of my very close childhood friends, who lived down the street with me, would also write stories about her toy animals. The two of us decided we could make more of our own pets out of clay, and much to our parents' amusement, our shelves became cluttered with mini clay animals mixed in with the real toys :lol:

When I was 8-9 years old, I (stupidly) shoved all my Petites Ponies and Li'l Litters into a cabinet and favored Polly Pockets for a brief time. I had an aunt who worked for Mattel, so I was at no shortage of free sets consistently flowing my way in the mail. However, I gradually grew bored with the limited number of animals...how often I'd cast the Pollies aside only to realize I had fewer than a dozen pets to play with :(

AND THEN IT HAPPENED...I saw the first Littlest Pet Shop commercial on TV! My friends and I got started with our newest love: LPS. My first thought was, "These will be great friends for my Li'l Litters!" and so out of the cabinet they came. I saved all my allowance money for my first LPS set: the Mommy & Baby Kitties. All I asked for at holidays and birthdays were more LPS sets. At first I stuck to just cats, but then expanded to bunnies, and other animals as friends gave them to me as birthday gifts. All of us would cart our turquoise pet shops to one another's houses and create giant worlds with all our pets, though I seem to remember I had the most patience for this :? very often my friends would get bored by time we finished setting up, and then ask to play Barbies :roll: *sigh*

Thankfully, my mother had unending patience to play LPS with me. She always wondered why I was not more into human dolls and whatnot, but she went along with it :lol:

I distinctly remember one night when I was a freshman in high school, when I set up some of my collection to try to "play" with, and that's when I was saddened to realize that that magic was truly gone :cry: There they were, but I could no longer truly "play" with them. I left them on display all over my room, though. And thankfully, I could still write and illustrate stories featuring them as anthropomorphic characters!

For many years, my collection collected dust. I never truly forgot about them, but, life and growing up and college and starting a career and moving out of my parents' house all happened! It was only after I got married and received an out-of-the-blue Ebay alert in December 2013 that I rekindled my love of collecting. I found the forum through Sarafina, and the rest is history :) I am SOOOO happy to have an all-new relationship with my toys, although I now consider them "collectibles" instead of "toys," really. I put a lot of care into expanding my collection, cleaning up all my old items, and now - making an all-new display for them in my new home! :) It helps me feel young at heart, and realize it's not so much about "playing" with them as it is about making them a hobby and a more active part of my life once again.
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Re: How did you play? and toy focus?

Postby dIGITS » Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:54 am

jillrose- that is great that you made animals out of clay with your friends! I never attempted something like that as a child. I was naive enough to think that if I sent in my drawings and ideas to kenner that they would do all the work for me... :lol: that didn't quite pan out. They never made my owl or kangaroo sets that I so desperately wanted... and several more cat sets (of course) :D
My friend and I didn't write stories but we would write poems with our LPS

Also very good to know I wasn't the only one who desperately wanted to play with toys in high school! :D :lol: :oops:
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Re: How did you play? and toy focus?

Postby TequilaMockingbird » Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:04 pm

I loved playing with Littlest Pet Shops and reading about everyone else's adventures. I remember I would play with mine in a "Rescue Rangers" type of way. I would put the gerbil running wheel on the outside of the cage and the running hamster would make it like a propeller and it would fly. I would try to connect several other of the cages and carriers together into a big ship and fly from the table to the couch and up the stairs and things. There was always and adventure and another pet to rescue to come on board. It was great that the pets were so small you could play anywhere with them.

I also LOVED playing with the mommy and baby bunny set. And having the white bunny be daddy. I would draw other playmats on paper like the garden then too from them to walk around on. Then when I got the mini bunnies set, the baby bunnies were now too big and had to help take care of the new baby-baby ones. :lol:
I also had the mini Lion King Pride Rock that I drew a forest playmat for with trees and watering hole and other animals. I remember it like it was yesterday! I wish I had saved all of that.

I loved also just opening up the blue play case and arranging all of the sets as a display. It was thrilling to me that a set could fit perfectly on the shelf like it was meant to go there. Whenever I would add a new set I would reconfigure everything to try to display it even more perfectly. I was a little annoyed that the zoo didn't allow you to store many sets inside though. Such a silly thing. :D
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Re: How did you play? and toy focus?

Postby moonlightkitty » Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:17 pm

I had some friends with about the same amount as my childhood collection and we'd join them together and name every single pet and establish relationships- I remember fighting with my friend over who the colt jewel pony was romantically linked to - I insisted the pink filly was his sister and he should totally be dating the shy shetland filly, whereas my friend, who owned the set, wanted the nuzzling ponies to be boyfriend/girlfriend. I later bought the set from her when she was saving money to go overseas so MWAHAHA finally the colt my my filly were 'together'.

I had the Kennel, so I set it up as a sort of hotel with a long cardboard road leading in with the permanent residents like the light up ponds pets on either side. When I had friends over, they'd find a place to put theirs in alongside mine. I had the green thingy with the prices on it at the beginning of the road and on the other side I even had a suggestion, comment and tip box that I hand wrote notes in, remembering to be critical as well as complimentary. I WAS WEIRD OK. The pointed cat and the white dog from the pond pets were the 'leaders', kind of chieftains that resolved any conflict within the settlement and hotel. They were named after Rachel and Jake from Animorphs. The mommy and baby kittens permanently lived in the hotel because they were safe from 'cars' (but i never had any! WTH?) behind the nursery fence. I also loved sticking all my ponies in one big paddock but I could never quite come to terms with why they were fenced in and everyone else got to run free...

Whenever I had a toy that was vaguely the right size I'd add it into the playtime. For a while in the 1990s-2000s Australia had these hollow chocolates called Yowies with little native (later, endangered, I believe) animals inside you had to assemble yourself, so I collected these for a while because they were the perfect size to integrate into the pet shops.

I did have some ongoing romantic drama between the playful kitten who started out dating the husky from Prize Winning Pups but moved on the brave German Shepherd when I realised the magnets in their faces were compatible and they could nuzzle in a really cute way. Then the husky found love with the bobcat because THEIR magnets were compatible. It was really cute.

I had the Baywatch Barbie at one point, and for some reason I figured her and her dolphin companion were waterproof, so i started taking them in to the bath (note - dolphin was not waterproof). That started extending to my Pet Shops, which was a very BAD idea. Some stickers are still wrinkled from when I was too young and dumb to realise they weren't waterproof.

I remember moving on from the friends who also had LPS when I was about 12, and as I packed them away, I kind of had this feeling they weren't going to come out again for a long time, so I wrote down the name of every pet and their relationships (sibling, best friend, mate, etc) and tucked away the note into the tubs full of LPS. This came in handy when I revisited them as a bored teenager and again as an adult. Since I didn't have anyone to 'play' with anymore, I would just spend a few hours setting everything up just perfectly, look at it all, and pack it away again. I still get a massive amount of pleasure simply doing that.

LPS was probably one of the only 'brand name' toys my parents bought me. I didn't know it at the time, but most of my other toys were knock off brands - instead of a Polly Pocket i received a 'Ma Petite Cherie'. Instead of My Little Ponies I received imitation ponies you find in reject shops. Instead of a Tamagotchi i got a 'hitoriko'. The Littlest pet Shops were mainly birthday/xmas gifts, so I guess my parents and extended family and friends knew the right brand for those special occasions. Otherwise I was really into stuffed animals, especially this cat my grandmother made (about 6?) for me and knitted clothes for and everything.
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Re: How did you play? and toy focus?

Postby dIGITS » Mon Feb 22, 2016 5:17 pm

moonlight kitty--- i just had YOWIES for the first time the other day!
The chocolate was gross but I got a cute penguin! :lol:
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Re: How did you play? and toy focus?

Postby jeapos88 » Mon Feb 22, 2016 5:41 pm

dIGITS wrote:moonlight kitty--- i just had YOWIES for the first time the other day!
The chocolate was gross but I got a cute penguin! :lol:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BBf6NAfTJoO ... ollyparade


I got a panda in mine! I agree the chocolate was horrible!
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Re: How did you play? and toy focus?

Postby jeapos88 » Mon Feb 22, 2016 5:56 pm

I had very few sets as a kid, I'm one of four kids, and my dad was in the Air Force, so not much money for extra toys. I did get several for my 7th birthday though, I remember my youngest brother, who would have been 4 at the time getting the shy shetlands, and I wanted them so bad. I waited till he got bored of them and traded him some other toy for them. Mwahahhaha, all mine :)

I always played realistically with mine. I would take them outside and set up the horse fences and have my horses be horses.
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Re: How did you play? and toy focus?

Postby phoebemiller » Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:57 pm

These are the sets I had growing up:

-Blue Pet Shop Store case with the little accessories and lovebirds
-Puppy pals set
-Magic monkeys set
-Polar animals set
-Jogging gerbils
-Mom and Baby Bunnies

LPS toys are the ones I remember the most vividly from my childhood! I remember opening up my pet store case and just wishing I could fill it up with more pets. It always looked kind of empty.

I don't remember which one was my favorite. I think I loved all of them equally. Well, maybe the gerbils. I do remember playing with those the most.

I also don't remember at what point I stopped role playing with my LPS sets. I was raised as an only child, everyone else in my family was already adult age, and I never had school friends come over. So I never had a buddy to play with (not that I minded because I really didn't know anything else, so I wasn't sad).

And...I also don't remember what in the world my mom did to my sets!! I've asked her and she barely remembers them. She would just give away things as I outgrew them. :( I want to kick my younger self for not insisting she keep my sets safely stored away!

I've read all of these comments and it's so interesting to see how you all remember so many details. I have long-term memory problems so it's hard for me to remember details of my childhood. It's very sweet to read these stories. I love seeing my own little girls' imaginations run wild and animating their little toy figures.

Moonlightkitty, I think LPS was also one of the few name-brand toys I had as well!

My other favorites were the Calico Critters (Sylvanian family?) dolls. I had a whopping 2 of them! Haha. But those two little bunnies were very well-loved!

And no Barbies for me. I never, ever liked them. Also it seems like I never even knew what My LIttle Pony was.
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Re: How did you play? and toy focus?

Postby Waylah » Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:41 am

My sets were

Bashful bunny
mum and babies bunnies
the hen
the falcon
the sealion
ride n slide hamsters

My sister's were
Happy puppy
Puppy pals
the bear
the bobcat
and we shared the jogging gerbils and busy hamsters

I had Yowies too. I tried to make a LPS style 'set' for a numbat. Mostly it was just because, if they're not in shops anymore, then I'l have to make them myself!
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Re: How did you play? and toy focus?

Postby moonlightkitty » Wed Feb 24, 2016 2:52 pm

About the Yowies, I heard they've been re-released and that the chocolate is gross, but back in the 90s-00s, the chocolate was decent. At least in Australia it was. I mean, the prize was always the animal. I might be moving house in the near future so when I do I'll have to look to see if I still have any of the old Yowies.

Phoebe, I'm so sorry to hear your mother just gave your sets away. I treasured my LPS SO MUCH! I've heard of this way to keep children's toys under control and control clutter in a house, and that is to give the child a choice to keep one of two toys and give the other away. If that happened to me I would be so upset. I'm pretty sure my parents know how special my LPS are to me even now. They used to be on display before I got into Lego and I can't wait to move to a bigger house to put them back on display! They were probably the only toy I played with consistently, so I'd be heartbroken if they were just given away.
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Re: How did you play? and toy focus?

Postby dIGITS » Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:01 pm

moonlightkitty wrote:
Phoebe, I'm so sorry to hear your mother just gave your sets away. I treasured my LPS SO MUCH! I've heard of this way to keep children's toys under control and control clutter in a house, and that is to give the child a choice to keep one of two toys and give the other away. If that happened to me I would be so upset. I'm pretty sure my parents know how special my LPS are to me even now. They used to be on display before I got into Lego and I can't wait to move to a bigger house to put them back on display! They were probably the only toy I played with consistently, so I'd be heartbroken if they were just given away.


Yeah I know this happens often... Especially in households with parents who can't stand clutter. Luckily my mom only (guilted me into) getting rid of a few things... The only part of my LPS collection she couldn't tolerate were my boxes. I kept the boxes and back cards for my sets as long as I could but she always made me get rid of them... Saying they were just trash...ugh I mean I see her point but am kind of upset that I would have still had most of my boxes to this day. Also I seemed to have lost my pets shop club papers (membership card) and think possibly those ended up goners in one of my moms cleaning excursions... :/
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Re: How did you play? and toy focus?

Postby MoondancerMilkyWay » Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:53 am

our animals were mostly anthropomorphic as well. Dogs and cats ruled each of our Towns for my sister and I. My ruling class was the Dog, and her ruling class was the Cat. though I had more cats and she had more dogs. then we had the random zoo jungle bunch who lived on the outskirts.
horses and zebra were animals to be ridden and the hamsters and gerbils were food...along with sundaes from MLP and fruit from Barbie's grocery store.
hours and hours of storylines and relationships, etc. i still have trouble when I'm selling a set to not call them by the names we gave them instead of just the set name. that 1993 kitty in her carrier? That's April, not the 1993 kitty on the go.
The Condo kitties? Valerie, Chloe, PB & Jelly was the mouse.

so many memories of our little critters. my first set was I believe the mom and baby kitties, my sister had the bunnies. and she got the gerbils and I got the cozy home pups. which was incredible, because two of the dogs were spitting image of some dogs my sister had drawn in the sidelines of her homework!

We had a lot of things between the two of us. Birthdays, holidays, end of school year, mid-term when we came home with a good report card...didn't have the big play sets, (store, zoo, care center) but lots of other sets. harder to get the later ones, we started to have our own money then but they were disappearing from the stores rather quickly at that point.

We played well into jr high and high school. hell, if not having been for moving all around the country we would *still* be playing.
When I moved (for the first time) across the country, I packed everything away and put it in storage. my sister and I had different storage units based on what we could afford and transportation at the time.
well, as fate would have it, they "dismantled" my storage unit business without telling me. I didn't find out until several months after the fact. everything was gone.
that was about 10 years ago, and I've spent the majority of that 10 years looking for everything I lost. I've got a lot of it back, but there are some things I'm sure I won't find again or are just out of my price range to get. though now I have about 4 sets of the Water Garden Kitties including one with box so I think I'm set there!! That was my faaaaaaaaaaaavorite set. still is. It's not unlike my current house and it was my dream house. a little cottage in the woods with a pond nearby - just big enough for me and a couple animals.
My sister had the sledding party and I have them both set up at home now and I want to go home and turn the lights off and turn the sets on. hehehe!
I'm always ok with hoarding these sets. they are so hard for me to let go of. even though I know I have them, I always have that little bit of "but I lost it!! and what if I never find it again!"

I had one friend who had some LPS. she had the lamb. i loved that darn thing and didn't own it at all until recently.
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