Do kids need design?
I think it’s important that children learn the value of quality over quantity. The best children’s products are designed to last for generations, products that will be enjoyed and passed down from one child to the next.
What is your idea of good children’s toys?
Simple is most often the best with children’s toys. Good toys are ones that inspire creativity and imagination, toys that don’t limit their play but expand it beyond measure. (We have written more about this on the Babyccino blog here.)
What can designers learn from kids?
Designers could learn to leave room for imagination in their products. The toys that children bore of most quickly are the ones that take all the imagination out of the play and do the thinking for the child – toys with buttons that make sounds or other battery-operated toys. Designers should learn to create toys that are more open-ended and limitless.
Can you remember your favourite toy that you had as a child?
We had a wooden blocks set in our house passed down from my grandfather. It was a green wooden box filled with blocks of every shape. My siblings and I used to create such fun towers and buildings. (My parents still have this in their home and my children now love to play with it when we visit.) My sister and I also had a big Playmobil dollhouse that we loved and played with a lot. We used to play with all the little Playmobil people and their furniture to create different scenarios.
What games or toys do your kids most like to play with?
My children always gravitate to the toys they can play with together. Schleich animal figurines have always been extremely popular in our home, for boys and girls and across all ages. Building blocks are another favourite. We have a big box of Kapla blocks that are always being used for towers or little enclosures for the farm animals, etc. My girls also really love their tutus and dress-up clothes – again toys that inspire imagination and creative play.
The five most important things every kid’s room should have are …
1. Easy-access baskets for storage so children can access their toys easily and tidy up on their own as well.
2. A selection of children’s books, again placed on a shelf they can easily access.
3. Art on the walls and other decorative accessories that appeal to their interests and hobbies. (I also think it’s fun to hang their own personal artwork on their walls to inspire creativity and make their room feel personal and unique.)
4. A bedside table and lamp so that they can read before bedtime. I always try to find a good, decorative bedside lamp that can be dimmed for times when they need a bit of light at bedtime.
5. A comfortable and inspiring place to play!
And last, but not least: tell us more about Babyccino kids! What got you interested in starting it?
Babyccino is a parenting lifestyle blog and international shopping portal founded by three friends. The three of us met in London in 2005 just after our first babies were born. We quickly bonded over motherhood and the questions, concerns and joys that come with parenting. In 2007, Emilie moved to Paris, Esther moved to Amsterdam, and I remained in London. We started the Babyccino blog as a way to stay in touch with each other and continue to share our parenting discoveries, tips and ideas from our three corners of Europe.
In 2011, motivated by the noticeable increase in new and beautiful brands in the children’s market, we decided to launch the Babyccino shopping portal, offering a curated directory of stylish, independent boutiques. We organize the boutiques into relevant shopping categories and highlight them with inspiring products and editorial reviews. We have always loved supporting independent boutiques, and this was a wonderful way for us to connect shoppers with the products and shops they were seeking. We now represent more than 400 online boutiques from around the world.
Photos Christina Schumacher