After being back from the Nuremberg Toy Fair for a good few weeks I have yet to see a review of Moluk’s latest offering – so here is mine. Meet the the cutest and most flexible (in many ways) little figure at the fair: Oogi!
Oogi is made of silicon. He has extra-long arms and his head, hands and feet are little suction cups. When hurled from a distance towards any smooth surface, Oogi grabs hold with his head, a hand or foot, leaving him dangling there like Spiderman. His long arms are also very expressive, and can be tied, crossed, stuck or joined to make this little guy come alive.
Oogi also has friends, and like any little person, the more the merrier. When Oogi’s friends come to play, the options multiply. By the nature of the design, Oogi likes to hold onto his friends and forms a great play companion to the Bilibo or Bilibo minis. Oogi is available in red and blue, and in two sizes, Oogi and Oogi Junior.
Here are some of the reasons occupational therapists love Oogi:
- Great for creative play and imagination;
- Can be used to talk about and imitate emotions;
- The silicon is easy for little hands to manipulate. Tying his arms teaches the starting knot for tying shoes;
- Throwing Oogi across the room towards a flat surface is great for loosening the shoulders and can be used for over- or under-arm throwing, improving eye-hand coordination;
- It’s a great unisex figurine – limited only by the limits of the child’s imagination;
- Safe for a large age-range of children, from toddlers to adults;
- Great for group play; and
- A great fidget toy!
One of my favourite activities with him is using Oogi against a mirror to make patterns, learn about left and right and play in the shaving foam.
What are your Oogi-ideas?
Last week I had the privilege of speaking to one of the world’s leading minds in toy development. Alex Hochstrasser, designer and creator of the Bilibo shared the essence of play with me:
“Children LEARN when they FORGET what they are doing.”
As an occupational therapist I spend my sessions planning exactly how a child will reach a goal I have for them through play. But what I have realised is that it is sometimes in that very planning that the essence of play itself is lost. It is when the child is totally absorbed in the moment, the experience, the challenge, and the joy of the interaction with an object or their environment, that true learning takes place. Let’s leave the planning up to the creative imaginations of the kids, for they have the heart and spirit to show us how to really forget what we’re doing, and just PLAY!
In a day and age where children are drawn to the latest branded and battery-operated toys, as an occupational therapist I’m searching for classic toys. By classic, I mean toys that in their simplicity afford children multiple developmental opportunies – for gross and fine motor skills, creative and imaginative thinking, perceptual development, sensory exploration, role playing and interaction with others.
History has given a few obvious classics. Building blocks can be so much more than towers. They can be cars, gates and trains. Villages and cities. Snakes and elephants. castles and dungeons. Pathways and roadblocks. Another homemade toy is the cotton reel – which can be turned into anything from wheels to french knitting.
Today I would like to introduce to you the Bilibo. This is a dome-shaped bucket/recepticle, with a wavy edge and two holes. It’s hard to describe for you because it’s not a “thing” that we are familiar with. In it’s very uniqueness comes the challenge – what is it? What can I do with it? How do I play with it? And through these questions, the child starts to explore the essence of play. Although not a classic, it will be lauded in the future for its unique contribution to development in a technologically focused world. To read more, go to http://www.bilibo.com
What can you do with your Bilibo? Who can you be?
What toys would you nominate as classics? All suggestions welcome, and happy playing!