Due to the nature of the toys that capture the imaginations of children and not necessarily adults, we’ve decided to review some great toys one by one, for the adults that buy them for the kids. Today’s blog post is the first in that series as we review the Pluï.
Pluï is a fun new water toy, perfect for summer as well as bath time. It’s a hard sphere with bumps, available in blue, yellow and green. At first I thought it looked a bit like a farm yard animal, maybe a cow or pig. But on closer inspection it becomes apparent that each little bump has a hole – and that’s where the fun starts!
Pluï makes rain. The name was developed from the french word pluie or rain. All you need to do is hold it under the water until it fills up. Pick it up using one finger to close off the single hole on the top of the toy. As you lift your finger to uncover the hole, rain starts to flow from the holes at the bottom of the toy. Persistent rain (until the water runs out). But this is where the fun comes in – stop the rain, or bob your finger up and down to create lighter drops or even drizzle. And if you have two or three pluï, and some friends, you could really create a downpour in the bath tub! Even tiny hands can manage two at a time.
Some little creative souls started their own version of Händel’s “Water Music”, each with their index finger tapping away at the top hole at a different speed to create their own rhythm as the drops hit the surface of the water. What fun! You see, moms and dads, it’s not about what the toy looks like to us, or what WE think it “does” or can be used for. A toy is merely an instrument with which a child’s imagination can be tapped. It provides a starting point from which they can create their own story.
As a paediatric occupational therapist, I have my own reasons for appreciating the design of Pluï. I like the size – similar to that of a tennis ball which gets a nice spherical grip with a large web space. This is something we’re always looking for to encourage strong hands and a good pencil grip later on. On top of that, I like the way the index (pointer) finger has to control the speed of the water flow. Individual finger movements are critical for the development of fine motor control and dexterity. If little hands are too tiny to manage that, a toddler can use two hands, one to hold and one to block the hole (great for bilateral integration). And water play as a medium is a lovely starting point for children with tactile defensiveness.
So whether you’re playing with your Pluï in the bathtub or in the swimming pool, have fun this summer. But remember – safety always comes first.
PS Here’s a video of some children playing with Pluï!