Archive for the ‘educational toys’ Category

If It Ain’t Broke: Teachatot

In board games, educational toys, Holdsons games, Teachatot on February 3, 2013 at 10.46

Teachatot Game by Holdsons 1960s-1970s CROPPED

This is another recent Trade Me purchase. It was always my aim, when I started out, to share images of stuff I have acquired rather than writing long-winded articles about defunct foodstuff businesses. With a very busy year ahead – there will probably be more of the former than the latter – so here goes.

I have been considering re-buying Teachatot for quite a while since I’ve always loved the crisp, colourful retro graphics – and I’ve used elements of it a few times in my work over the years. It is getting quite hard to come by. I had a box lid in my archive but it was kind of creased, ripped diagonally through the middle with a chunk missing. All of the sides had all come off, it was quite faded and I only had two of the 96 game pieces left. In other words, completely trashed.

Teachatot Game by Holdsons 1960s-1970s EDIT 1 copy

I had this as a child and played with it often in the very early 1970s. Like anyone I had my favourites in the set which were the goldfish, moth, and clown. So it has fond memories amongst games like Junior Scrabble, Mastermind, Chinese Checkers, Old Maid, Monopoly, Hey Hey Witch Way?, Cluedo, Mystery Date, Battleships, Snakes and Ladders, Connect 4, Operation, Destination Moon, Ludo, Pick Up Sticks, Jack Straw, Haunted House, Twister, Yahtzee, Hangman, Slapstick, Barrel of Monkeys, Simon Says…and the list goes on.

Teachatot Game by Holdsons 1960s-1970s  (12)

Luckily the list did go on as they were usually requisitioned on rainy days indoors and given a thorough work out from the beginning of the list through to the end. Some of these are now very desirable to collectors like aforementioned Witch Way?, Simon Says and Haunted House, as well as Creepy Critters and Dark Shadows to a degree. Although as an educational tool for young kids, Teachatot doesn’t really fit into that classification of board games that are suitable for older children but it tends to get lumped into this category not being a toy either.

Teachatot Game by Holdsons 1960s-1970s  (9)

It was first produced by Holdson in 1961, and was probably bordering on dated-looking already when it came out – and I don’t think they changed the design for a good twenty years. It seems to be unique to New Zealand, even though it looked just about as 1950s-era American as you could get. Occasionally they crop up in Australia but I am fairly sure it wasn’t really a thing there.

Teachatot Game by Holdsons 1960s-1970s  (7)

Certainly by the late 1980s it was so out of step as to be laughable. The cover was updated (but not the game pieces) to look like something that was issued by the Burda art department circa 1979 . This game was still in production, now 144 pieces, in the first half of the Noughties albeit with an updated cover, if you can call something that looked like it was designed by Mothercraft circa 1984. Yup, I have not much good to say about everything after the original – they just never seemed to get it right.

Teachatot Game by Holdsons 1960s-1970s  (8)

It now seems to be out of commission permanently in the last few years with sites selling the game last updated between 2005 and 2009 all saying it is out of stock. I guess anything without slutty-looking brats or ultra violence and crime isn’t really in fashion any more. Even my niece needs not one, but two iPads. At the risk of sounding like a fuddy-duddy, what happened to the good old days when a piece of card, some game pieces and a set of dice were adequate entertainment?


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