Traditional Mexican Toys
Traditional Mexican toys are the heritage of generations, with a colorful culture and folklore, that form part of Mexican traditions.
The making of traditional toys continues to be a current practice in many parts of Mexico.
These handmade toys are sold in the state of Michoacan.
photo credit allmexico.store
The balero (cup and ball) consists of a small ball (usually made of wood) connected to an attached cup-and-handle with a string. The cup fits the ball. The player can only use the arm that holds the cup-and-handle. The object of the game is to get the ball into the cup. The player tosses the ball upward, then jerks to try and catch the ball in the cup. It is a game of trial and error.
Toys made of clay in Mexico
Mexico has a wide variety of toys fired from clay. It is suggested that this dates from pre-Hispanic times as small zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures were molded, dolls were formed, and also rattles and whistles. Especially in the state of Oaxaca there are toys from clay.
Clay figures are used for recreational purposes and in rituals. They are also considered artistic manifestations, commonly exhibited and commercialized.
Below is a collection presented by the Mexican government of a set of toys made mostly with clay. There are bulls decorated with details of red, white, and black colors, used as piggy banks. There are also zoomorphic toys: ducks, turtles and jaguars. The set also has some anthropomorphic figures. Temas – Memórica (memoricamexico.gob.mx)
Dolls Made in Mexico
There are a variety of dolls made in Mexico.
Corn Husks Dolls
In Mexico, corn husks are used in the making of toys and crafts. Dolls are made from corn husks. The husks are wrapped around bunched grasses, a corncob, or bamboo. The body is formed and brightly painted with aniline dyes.
photo credit masdemexico.com
Rag dolls are made mainly of fabric. They are made by hand, and usually their filling is of pieces of the same fabric. In almost every state of Mexico you can find a different type of rag doll, usually with regional traditional costume.
One of the most famous rag dolls in Mexico is the Otomi doll, from the state of Queretaro.
The Otomi doll is a favorite and comes in many different sizes, with a variety of dress colors. The dress carries flowers of Otomi design. The color of the skin is usually pink fabric. The eyes are large. The body transmits a tender image.
The Otomi doll has been declared cultural heritage of the state of Queretaro.
Cardboard “Lupita” dolls have existed in Mexico for more than 200 years. There are records of their early production in the cities of Celaya, Guanajuato, and Mexico City.
Mexican “Lupita” cardboard dolls are made from papier-mâché and hand painted.
Photo credit allmexico.store
The matraca is a spinning ratchet made of wood, that makes noise. It is very loud. The origin of the matraca is Arabic, as it was introduced to Spain, then brought to Mexico. “Mitraqa” in Arabic means hammer, and “taraq” means to strike.
The matraca is also considered a musical instrument.
Marionettes and puppets
In Mexico, puppets are made of wood, cardboard, and fabric. They are manipulated by hand as a glove type body or marionettes are manipulated with the use of rods and threads that move the limbs. Traditional marionettes are made in the state of Puebla. Through these puppets and marionettes, all kinds of characters are represented.
The body and limbs of traditional Mexican marionettes are made of brightly colored cloth, and the hands, feet and head made of ceramic.
Miniatures are found inhnandcrafted in all of Mexico.
These miniatures are made of palm. Photo credit allmexico.store
It is common to find miniatures of cookware, dishes, metates, etc. Miniature pots, pans, and dishes can be made of copper.
Copper miniatures are made in Santa Clara del Cobre, in the state of Michoacan.
Miniature basket. photo credit allmexico.store
Cars and Trucks are made of different materials, such as wood, aluminum, metal, and plastic.
Marbles have been played since the Stone Age. Marbles are balls of different materials such as glass, clay or metal that are thrown with precision. In Mexico, the game of marbles was brought from Spain.
There are countless ways to launch and game modes vary. In Mexico, one of the most famous games is the cocol or rhombus, which consists of drawing on the ground a rhombus on which the marbles that will be bet will be placed. Players take turns to take out those that are already in the cocol. The player who is not eliminated wins.
El Crisol, a glass factory located in the vicinity of Texcoco in Mexico City, was the first to produce marbles. In Tacubaya, also in Mexico City, there was another marble factory. Both factories have now disappeared.
Tic Tac Toe
It is common for the Tic Tac Toe game to be sold in 3D form, made of wood or plastic.
This tic-tac-toe was handcrafted by Raramuri in Northern Chihuahua. photo credit allmexico.store
The Yo-yo is a traditional Mexican toy, loved by many generations. In Mexico, the traditional yo-yo is commonly made of wood, two small wooden discs joined with a space in the middle. c or
A thread goes inside the groove. This allows for the yo-yo to rise and fall when a person puts the thread on their fingers.
The first Yo-Yo wooden toy brand in Mexico was Sheiro. This brand made the yo-yo toy popular throughout the country. In 1962, the Plastimarx company, who manufactured plastic yo-yos promoted the use of the toy by girls.
Trompo, pirinola, toma-todo (Top)
Trompos are made of wood or plastic, with writings on each side. The player spins it and when stops, it leaves a face with the inscription of luck.
Wrestling in Mexico is a tradition for many families. In the 1950’s, Mario González Marquézwas the creator of toy wrestlers in Mexico. Mario González was a sculptor and wood carver. He used the technique of plaster molds for metal figures in order to make small plastic wrestlers. There were seven base wrestler figures.
The first Mexican plastic fighter was El Santo, with his classic pose of the raised hand. This position was replicated for all figures, without distinguishing the character.
Camerino Victoria Cruz and her family are among the few traditional manufacturers of plastic wrestlers. The raw material is polyethylene, usually obtained from recycled products. Most traditional toy wrestler manufacturers have their workshops in the eastern part of Mexico City.
Loteria is a board game. The winner of this game yells out “Loteria”. The object of the game is to fill a cardboard decorated with various images, with chips. The names of the images are proclaimed and correspond to those in the deck. The first player to complete filling the cardboard first, wins. Loteria is a popular game at Mexican family gatherings.
A Loteria game cardboard. The object of the game is to fill the cardboard with chips.
photo credit comelibros.com
Handmade baby rattle
photo credit allmexico.store
Photo credit Mexican Consulate
Handcrafted Toy Artisans in Mexico
There are various artisans who still make dolls by hand, from various materials.
In the state of Chihuahua, the Raramuri continue to handcraft rag dolls.
Blanca Molina designs about fifty different kinds of dolls each year. She makes about 200 that are generally sold in specialty stores.
Ana Karen Allende is a doll maker in Mexico City. Popular items are male and female lucha libre wrestlers and Mayan guardian figures.
The Zabalas family sells handcrafted toys in the Terán Market in the city of Aguascalientes. They have sold handcrafted toys for over twenty years, brought from states such as Michoacan, Jalisco, and Guanajuato.
Carolina Esparragoza heads the Miss Lupita project and holds workshops and other events in order to revive the tradition of making the dolls in Mexico City.