Straight Zigzag is getting ready for the launch of their book, Playvolution – The Ultimate Guide to Developing Valuable Experiences Through Play.
Go to www.playvolutionbook.com to sign up. You’ll get information regarding release dates and where the book can be ordered, as well as FREE DOWNLOADS of great things to keep the preschoolers busy.
I’ve just returned home from a crazy week-long trip to Nuremberg, Germany, where anyone who’s anyone in the toy world, from maufacturer to retailer, has been meeting new people and showcasing their ideas. Twelve massive halls presented every toy you can imagine. Halls with dolls and puppets, to model railways, to tech toys and new trends. Countries presented the very best they had to offer. While some designers punted the traditional and classic toys in a new way, others made apps to drag every possible play thing into the digital era.
I have posted a short 2-min video for those who would like a visual walk-through…
One of the most exciting concepts at the fair was the addition of a Trend Gallery, in which new toy trends are analysed and presented. I will be covering each of these in separate blog posts over the coming weeks.
Another highlight was the release of two fantastic new toys from Moluk, the Oogi and Plui Rain Cloud. These will also be covered in their own blog post and we’ll send you links for their videos as soon as we have them.
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!
We’re every excited about this support service for parents. We’d like to provide online advice for early intervention, sensory processing disorders etc, and hope to have a few toys and books available in the near future. We will let you know when you can check out our website.
Please feel free to send us your comments, needs and ideas! Otherwise, have a look at the therapy-related blog Big ideas for little people!