Intrigued by the whimsical world of Maileg matchbox mice but not sure where to start? Read our guide to find out more about this magical brand:
Most children love playing with Maileg toys, especially with the Maileg mouse. This is partly because they are so cute and adorable, but it’s also because beneath their charming aesthetic lie a host of developmental values that engage children and keep them absorbed in play for many hours.
Danish brand Maileg has created a whimsical world of characters, including cuddly hippos, dancing bunnies, and wooden race cars. It is about small-world play, with characters brought to life in soft, natural materials with nostalgic details and charming, friendly personalities. It’s this combination of qualities that makes playing with a Maileg mouse or other Maileg toys so enjoyable for children.
It’s also important to mention that the main Maileg characters have inherent relationships with each other. There are big brothers, little sisters, and so on, so a child can easily imagine their backstory. Maybe the little sister is being laughed at and needs her brother’s support? Or maybe the brother lost his backpack, and the whole family is helping him to find it? Characters with recognisable family bonds make it easier for children to imitate real life in their small-world play.
What is Maileg?
The Maileg brand (pronounced ‘my-lie’) was founded in Denmark in 1999 by Dorthe and Erik Mail. So what does Maileg mean? The name is a combination of their last name and the word leg, which means play in Danish.
Maileg toys are characterised by their attention to detail and charming characters. For example, the adorable Maileg mice who sleep in matchboxes or the dancing matchbox mice who wear pink tutus. What’s more, Maileg hand-make all the clothes and accessories, and use fabrics and materials in muted colours and a textures that are soft to touch. In this way, their collections of mice, rabbits and other animal characters are both familiar and simple, loved by both boys and girls for their fairytale magic.
How do children play with Maileg mice?
Typically, all the Maileg characters are associated with the theme of caring and nurturing. As a result, they are perfect for a small-world play, along with their sweet props and accessories, such as magic wands or matchbox beds. In this type of play, children can come up with their own stories and create their own settings, using their imagination. In this way they can process what is happening in their own lives and understand the world around them better.
Your child may enjoy playing with a Maileg mouse or other characters on their own, but it’s also a fantastic idea for a parent (or parents) to join them. According to experts, one of the most significant ways of how children learn is via interactions with a more knowledgeable person. Sometimes it is an adult, and sometimes it can be an older child or even a peer.
Creating small worlds with Maileg mice
If you are wondering how to make play more interesting and fun, you can work with your child on creating a special small world for Maileg toys. It can be the Maileg wooden doll’s house, but not necessarily. A child’s rich imagination means they can use any enclosed space to create an environment for their characters.
For example, it could be a shelf or a shoebox. A shoebox works particularly well because it is light and portable, meaning your child can bring their Maileg small world along when you go away or out for the day. Also, you can easily decorate and modify a shoe box - it is possible to paint the walls, add a chimney, cut out doors and windows and so on. The sky's the limit!
In some cases, a Maileg mouse comes with its own small-world setting. Matchbox mice come not only with their matchbox beds, but also pillows and blankets,making a cosy bed to tuck them up in at night time. The ballerina mouse has a wardrobe with hangers where her clothes can be easily stored. As well as the props that come together with the toys, there’s also a lot of furniture you can purchase separately to enrich your child’s Maileg small world.
Also bear in mind that playing with Maileg toys doesn’t have to happen exclusively indoors! Feel free to let your child take them outside as well. Some characters even have outfits designed specifically for the outdoors, with little coats, hats, etc. And if the toys get dirty, don’t worry - this is a natural consequence of playing outside, after all. You can easily wash them (or get your child to wash them in a bowl of soapy water) and let your child play with them again.
How to choose a Maileg mouse
Maileg mice come in a variety of sizes, from babies and twins to mums, dads and grandparents. Nearly all Maileg mice characters fit well with the Maileg doll's house. Look out, though, for a handful of 'maxi' mice that are much bigger. If you're unsure, check our Maileg size guide to see the sizes side by side.
Whether your child is into fairytales, cooking, or superheroes, there are numerous Maileg mice for both boys and girls to love. They’ll enjoy creating their own small worlds and coming up with interesting stories for their characters. And as these toys are made of high-quality materials, they will last for a long time and provide children with a lot of joy for many years. Take a look at our Maileg mice collection here.