My little toy mouse - a soft animal toy
In this case, the mouse is a symbolic animal made of material. The mouse has the same roles, symbols and utility values as other symbolic animals - with adaptations in relation to the story and type of animal concerned.
- I take Minnie to bed with me and she often comes to schoolwith me.
- She talks to her mouseand tells him everything. The mouse replies and they don’t always agree. The mouse is often a kind of “conscience”.
- I play that my mouselives in a mouse hole in my room. I give him food and he rides on my bicycle or in my dolls’ pram.
- The mouseis called Hannibal because there was once a famous mouse called that name.
- Sometime I teach it to jump. I sit on the floor and throw the mouseup in the air so it turns around and then I catch it. It does cartwheels and jumps over my arm, stands on its head and rolls over, runs towards me and jumps up onto a chair with me, jumps very high and then comes down again.
Mickey, Mille, Minnie, Hannibal
“Teddy - the world’s best bear”
Texts of play with the toy
- Teddyisn’t just my bedtime pal. He looks after me.
- Teddy is also a baby bear (in fact he’s a very strong bear).
- The teddies normally take part in all kinds of play and daily activities. They are dressed, are read stories and sung to, they get to take food with them when they are out in the car or the dolls’ pram or on the bicycle, they go to schooland to other teddies’ birthday parties.
- Teddyis assigned different roles - a soldier, Batman, a pirate, a warrior, another child - and the rest of the time he’s good old “cuddly teddy”.
- Of all the toys (even He-Man!) Teddyalways has the last word.
- Teddysometimes attacks the dolls - but he only does it for fun although the dolls don’t always find it funny.
- Teddylooks after little sister but he comes over to me when I go to bed.
- Teddytoo has birthday parties and invites his friends.
- Teddyis something special.
Nicknames and supplementary toys
Ted, Teddy, Ed, Little Ted, Jonathan, Pooh Bear, Theodore, Theodora
Ordinary supplementary toys used in play:
Dolls, dolls’ pram, teddies, symbolic animals, dolls, dolls’ clothes, bed, cars
- Other supplementary toys which boys and girls referred to:
Adult female doll, sewing/weaving/knitting, playhouse/corner, doll’s bed/cradle, household implements, farming, drawing/cutting out/sticking, listen/learn, dressing up, role play, Playmobil, worthless items
- 4-5 year old girls use the following supplementary toys:
Dolls, dolls’ pram/pushchair, bed, listen/learn, worthless items, natural materials.
- 6-10 year old girls use the following supplementary toys:
Dolls’ pram/pushchair, doll, symbolic animal, teddy, dolls’ clothes, rag doll, adult female doll, worthless items, sewing/weaving/knitting, playhouse/corner, doll’s bed/cradle, bed, household implements, farming, drawing/cutting out/sticking, dressing up, role play.
About the toy
A teddy bear is used as a toy by children of all ages, regardless of their family’s life pattern and lifestyle.
There are two versions of the story of how the teddy bear was “invented” - one is German, the other American.
Around 1902, Margarete Steiff, a German polio victim, started making small hand-sewn bears in fake fur. The bears had moveable arms and legs and were designed by Margarete’s nephew Reichard. The teddy was launched at the Leipzig Toy Fair in 1903 where an American buyer bought 3000. At American President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt’s daughter’s wedding, the Steiff bear was used as a table decoration. The President was a keen bear hunter and - according to the Steiff family - this was why the bear was named Teddy.
According to the American story, the teddy bear adventure began on 14th November 1902 when, on a bear hunt in Mississippi, President Roosevelt refused to shoot a large black bear. The episode was publicised by cartoonist Clifford Berryman in a now-famous illustration in The Washington Post which depicted the President with a bear on a string with tears in his eyes.
The owner of a toy store in Brooklyn, Morris Mitchom, whose wife made small bears saw the illustration. It was Mitchom’s idea to sell the bears under the name “Teddy Bear” and he got the president’s permission to do so. The Ideal Toy Corporation was founded and a new toy created.
And ever since then loveable teddies have travelled the world with their owners - children and adults alike.
Teddies have gone to war, been destroyed in concentration camps, used as mascots and bedtime pals, accompanied children to hospital and survived in children’s rooms alongside computer games and Barbie dolls. Teddies are immortalised in innumerable songs, books and pictures.
Teddies have developed parallel with children’s tastes. A flat or a round nose, pointed or floppy ears, round female shape or not - real teddy collectors or teddy lovers, arctophiles, are willing to play tens of thousands of dollars at auctions for a classic Steiff or Ideal bear. It just goes to show that even a bear stuffed with wood shavings can be worth more than his weight in gold - a commercial factor which real teddy freaks don’t like.
As a play object with his special and symbolic significance and value, the teddy can play all the roles and communicative parts in play. And all the toy’s and the play’s case relations can be part of that communication.
In terms of universal pragmatism, teddy expresses symbolic truth and legitimacy. He is assigned a secret psychological will (the child’s will) to do certain things (which the child wants). The child will often say “Teddy wants to..” which means that there is something the child himself wants to do.
The teddy creates content, events and experiences in play on the strength of his psychological and metaphysical elements. The child’s dialogues with the teddy can be described as existential. On the basis of the adults’ own texts, the teddy also creates opportunities for experience through play via the “sensibility-motion-growth” triad in a biological perspective.
As with other symbolic animals and bedtime pals, the teddy’s symbolic value is in creating security, cosiness, peace and quiet, intimacy. Most of the time his symbolic value has no real bearing on the relationship between the child and his parents (except when teddy goes missing or is forgotten!).
During play the teddy is usually only used by the person-at-play because symbolic animals are generally the child’s most precious possession and often symbolise the child himself. In exceptional cases others are allowed to play with the bear who, like the child, is part of the immediate surroundings, the local environment and intimate relations. Like the child, the teddy must bear in mind the power structures and systems in the local environment
The teddy is also part of the child’s understanding of Nature and is a small but important piece of the child’s universal comprehension.
The Helpful Teddy
Teddy took me by the hand. Right enough, behind Teddy, Darth Vader sat on a LEGO brick crying with his hands in front of his mask. And when I got closer, I noticed something else: Darth Vader had only one leg. There was nothing left of his right leg but a hole in his hip where it had been fixed. (…) I thought for a second. I had not played with Darth Vader for ages. Once , before Christmas, he was an enemy soldier and I bombed him with chess pieces. He could stand up then. I wonder if his leg got loose then? But after that he went to kindergarten with me and he still had two legs then… (…) The Transformer changed into a car and drove off to comfort Darth Vader. Teddy wondered around with his paws behind his back. He cleared his throat and then he said: “Sometimes when you let me come downstairs I have seen a little dish where your mummy keeps bits and pieces. Maybe the leg is there?” “Maybe”, I said. Teddy cleared his throat again: “I would appreciate if you would come downstairs with me. Several of us have never been there. And I would just like to point out that you are the owner of all us playthings.”