My son was given a collection of toys called “Somewhere City” which was designed by Goran Lelas and featured at MoMA. These delightful critters change parts amongst themselves so you can create other cute critters of your own imagination.
Presently the Somewhere toys sit in my office–I like to call it borrowed–where I appreciate their simplicity, ingenuity and humor, all of which make me smile.
This had me thinking about the deliberate design of some of the other toys and baby gear he's had while growing up. Such thoughtful design offers form, function and fun in ways that make our everyday lives a little more easier, enjoyable and special. For instance the sweet and chewable Sophie teething toy. She somehow makes baby slobber a lot more tolerable. Maybe it's because she's made from 100% natural rubber from the sap of the Hevea tree, or maybe because she is French, as Sophie was born from the imagination of a Monsieur Rampeau who created her in 1961.
The Uglydoll is not so ugly after all. He, she–it?–is charming, cuddly and a refreshingly bright note within a world distracted with perceptions of perfection. In the Ugly universe, Ugly means unique and special. Who needs two eyes when one or none will just do fine with a child's arms around you. One must air out baby once in a while, and the Burley bike trailer design expertly fits a tot's size and toting requirements, so Mom and Dad can get 'em out there. For those of you who take the kiddos on the open road–behind two wheels–you probably know of Burley. Safety is first in the design, then mobility and comfort for both rider and passenger. I like to hear a company puts their "heart and soul" into a design. It makes me believe they have passion for their work and a commitment to those who buy their product. Sooner or later tots head out on the road–AKA, the sidewalk–alone. When it happens, they'll most likely be on a Radio Flyer. Be it wagon, scooter or bike, riding a classic, fire engine red Radio Flyer is a American child's rite of passage. LEGOs are another childhood rite of passage. The name is an abbreviation of the Danish words "leg godt", which means play well, and children certainly do. LEGO's are designed with a child's growth in mind and advances in complexity with a child's dexterity and problem-solving abilities.Whether in a themed set like the one above–Space Police Squidman Escape, (one of my son's favorites)–or a box full of individual pieces, the same simple premise endures: LEGOs give children the power to explore their creativity with their own hands and imaginations. Stepping over the pieces throughout your houses, as well as vacuuming them up is a parent's rite of passage as well. Lastly, at the end of the day, the little one has to get clean, and why not do it cozy, comfy and safe. When a tot is at the size between baby bath and sitting in the tub on their own, this inflatable Duck Tub surrounds him in a buffer zone of cushy air insulation . It's a simple, yet sensible option and the duck shape is adorable. The sensible and darling design protects baby from the hard sides of the tub and seems to encourage a healthy attitude toward cleaniness. All of which, is a joy to behold.
Photos of baby by Doreen Ciesla, 2010. All other photos linked throughout blog.