Mother and Baby

A Toy Story: See What Children Around The World Count As Their Favourite Playthings

Section: Toys & Education

What do your children love to play with? Do they have a mound of plastic toys abandoned in a closet? A precious (and well-worn) cuddly animal that could do with a good wash? A favourite blanket that is dragged around everywhere you go – and has been lost and re-found more times than you can count?

Well, one photographer has set out to document children’s favourite toys from around the world. Gabriele Galimberti travelled to more than 50 countries in the course of a year to see what little ones across the globe count as their most prized possessions.

The contrast between what children in some of the most deprived countries and those in richer nations have is both startling and poignant. Scroll through the gallery below to see for yourself.

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Arafa & Aisha - Bububu, Zanzibar

Twin sisters Arafa and Aisha do everything together – they share clothes, school classes and even a bed. Their two-room house boasts mosquito nets to ward off insects and a double bed, while their kitchen and bathroom are located outside. (Gabriele Galimberti)
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Abel - Nopaltepec, Mexico

Little Abel is the middle son of five children and has lived in the Mexican town of Nopaltepec all his life. His favourite toys are his racecars, which he shares with his baby sister. (Gabriele Galimberti)
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Tyra - Stockholm, Sweden

Little Tyra shares a home in the Swedish capital with her mum, dad and older sister, who is only 12 months older than her. They share most toys and their favourites are the dollhouse and their bright red cooker. Their best game to play are ‘mother and baby’, when Tyra pretends to be her sister’s mum and cooks for her! (Gabriele Galimberti)
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Toy Stories

Gabriele Galimberti's book of photographs can be purchased through the Institute website (

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