1. All of the critters have their own personalities and interests. Every critter has been given a little cool back story. They have jobs and hobbies that vary from gymnastics to gardening. Here's a family description taken right off of their website:
Mother, Savannah is a famous fashion stylist. Father, John is a furniture designer. Sister, Sarah likes taking pictures of her favorite moments. Brother, Dominic is energetic and loves to climb trees.
2. They are in wholesome wear. I'm not a crazy overzealous person regarding women's dress by any means. I like to wear clothes that show off my body some. However, I think we can all agree that the new trendy dolls, like this one, aren't exactly beaming out the right message to our little girls.
Why every little girls doll has to be wearing some sort of stiletto and miniskirt combo is beyond me. There's a time and a place people, and this is not the right one. But, look at them, they are cool and attractive to kids. They have fun hair, but a not fun message. Here is the sexiest outfit you will see on a Calico Critter:
God, I couldn't love that anymore. Not only is mom in a nice covering dress, she's also baby wearing. C'mon. That's amaze. My daughter loves babies and is most intrigued probably by the fact that the families have babies to play with. I just don't see any huge, glaring problem with their family sets and I see lots of problems with the other dolls that I don't love.
3. Calico Critters encourage family values. I like traditional family values like everyone sitting down to eat dinner together and shopping at the local store together. Calico Critters has play sets that really encourage the family lifestyle. Little girls and boys can have equal amounts of fun spending hours re-enacting what they are living in their own little lives. Harper likes to have her mommy critter play games with her baby critter all day and she likes to give the baby baths and read stories and have bedtime. Playing in these ways is really encouraging, because she is such a sponge, and it gives me real time feedback on my parenting of her and how she feels about it. She enacts what she lives and love that.
4. Politely encouraging differences. Calico critters are subconsciously and politely enforcing that everyone is different, but very much the same. All of the different critter families come in different but similar compositions of moms, dads, kids, and babies. They are all different colors, shapes, and sizes. They have different professions and different hobbies. This helps kids see that everyone is different in the real world and that's okay. This is definitely something I love.
I could gush a lot about Calico Critters, but I will straight up tell you they have some downfalls, too. It is INCREDIBLY expensive to start a Critter collection unless you do it meticulously and second-hand. I have scoured for hours trying to find affordable Critters. I think it's worth it for all the reasons I stated above, but a lot of people may not have my kind of time. Each set ranges, with the least expensive being $9 for babies and going all the way up to $24 for families. This is not exactly a cheap price by any means. The houses and playsets are even more crazy. This is the main drawback to critters.
I think that with all that being said, these are still an awesome toy for girls and boys. I love family values and wholesome toys. They are becoming a lot harder to find in today's world!