Toy Blog - Toys, Parenting, and Kids

What is a Bilibo, you ask?

Bilibo is a new kind of toy – the elementary shells leave room for the child’s imagination. Instead of imposing a specific play pattern, Bilibo is open for a wide range of interpretations and encourages children to invent their own games, to play and have fun in an active and creative way. Indoors and outdoors, in the sand-pit, at the water or even in the snow – Bilibo is full of surprises…

Bilibo is a companion for children from the first year onward and inspires a large variety of playing behaviors. According to their age and interests, children will interpret the shells in many different ways.

The soft, round shapes and strong colors stimulate the senses and the child’s innate curiosity. They beg to be touched and handled. Toddlers will move them around, fill them with objects, sand or water and empty them again.

The shells can be aligned or stacked in many ways. Like three-dimensional puzzle pieces, two shells are joined to form a sphere – a friendly face with a broad smile. Playfully the children train their sense of space as well as hand-eye coordination.

When growing older, children will discover new ways of using the shells. Rocking and spinning for instance are great fun and help develop motor skills and the child’s sense of balance.

Role-playing and make-believe games are vital for the child’s social development and powers of imagination. Again, Bilibo shines as a wonderful accessory and is swiftly turned into a cradle for puppets, a turtle shell, a drum, a cooking pot, a ship, or a hill with coves giving shelter to animals… the imagination of children knows no limits…

Invented by child development experts. For ages 2 to 7.

Winner of Dr. Toy 10 Best Active Products and Dr. Toy 100 Best Children’s Products.


Playing – It Isn’t Just For Fun!

I spend three days a week with a class of twelve children, ages four and five years old.  As one of my boys was leaving the class to go home with his mom last week, I overheard her ask her son, “How was your day today?”  Her son replied, “Great!  All we did was play today!”

Playing is one of the most beneficial gifts we can give our children.  While we may look at play as simply the “surface value” of what we see, play is much more than that.  Playing carries with it an amazing number of benefits and learning development strategies which children need later on to help them on their journey of learning.

First of all, playing builds coordination.  Children are more apt to take greater risks when playing, simply because they are taking on the persona of someone or something else when they play (most of the time).  While a child might be too timid to run and leap on their own, they might become the most agile gorrilla when playing in their make-believe jungle.  Playing allows children to try new skills out without feeling pressured or threatened.  There are no expectations when playing, only the imagination and the child dictate what will happen. 

Speaking of the imagination, playing is a huge tool in building imaginations.  Children who can imagine and create will more easily be able to hone in on higher order thinking skills and problem solving skills as they grow.  Children can learn to solve problems in a non-threatening environment.  While playing, children can create their own situations and devise solutions to their problems.

Playing also fosters good social skills among children.  By playing in a positive way with peers, children learn how to appropriately treat others and how they like to be treated as well.  Children realize in a positive environment that good manners and nice words will carry them far in life, moreso than bossy, critical behavior.  Playtime is an excellent opportunity for children to learn social skills that will stay with them forever.

The mom of the child mentioned in the beginning winked at me as she walked out the door to her car.  She knows the power of play and the important skills playtime addresses for children.  Play isn’t just for fun; it is a powerful tool in learning life’s lessons.

The Joy Of Playdough

Playdough – mention the word and most parents and caregivers acknowledge the word with a slight cringe or eye-roll.  We all know what “playdough” means – matted red goo in the carpet, purple stuck in the crevaces of the soles of shoes, an unexpected snack as kids sneak a bit into their mouths, and dried little pills of it everywhere for days to come.  However, playdough is an important tool in child development.  So, before you hide or throw out that malleable substance, take a look at what a wonderful product it really is.

Playdough is an excellent tool with young children for the development of fine motor skills which is crucial for activities such as writing and cutting.  Just the basic kneading of the dough strengthens finger and hand muscles, which is important when building tone for those fine motor skills later on.  A step beyond this is clay, which is a less malleable substance and really gives those muscles a workout!

Children also develop a keener coordination between their eyes and hands while using playdough.  Estimation skills are used when determining how much playdough is needed for a specific task; using cookie cutters and rolling pins aids in planning and creating.  Rolling a “snake” (my two year old’s favorite task) helps kids understand cause and effect and motion as well.

Let’s not forget the creative part of open-ended playdough play!  The only thing kids CAN’T create with playdough are those things they haven’t thought of yet.  How about a purple dinosaur?  Or a green kitty?  Maybe a blue and orange sea monster or a space ship with six engines?  Or, perhaps your child wants to make a whole city?  A race car that can fly and float?  Why not? 

And, if you are really into playdough, making your own is terrific for basic math, language and science skills.  It is quite simple to make.  Here’s a terrific and easy recipe to get you started.  There are plenty of them out there.  Find one that works for you and use it often.  And remember all the good you are doing for your child.  It will make the time you spend cleaning playdough off of shoes more worthwhile!

HOMEMADE PLAYDOUGH:

In a saucepan, combine:
4 cups water
4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1/2 T cream of tartar (can also subsitute with 1/4 T baking powder and 1/4 T baking soda)
4 tablespoons oil

Mix until no longer sticky over low/medium heat.  Turn out on plate or board to cool and store in ziplock bag.  Food coloring may be added for variation, and Kool Aid powder also works well for coloring (and smells great, too!).

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