Today, I got caught in the nostalgic mood, not only because of the fact that as every year I feel almost like an eternal student, and the only thing, which has changed over these years is that I’m on the other side of the desk right now. Every new school year is a challenge, which doesn’t allow my youth spirit to disappear. The older I get, the more eagerly I come back to memories from my childhood … which was a time of total carelessness, a time in which the notions of stress and duty were something abstract to me. Since I’m a golden child of late 80’s and early 90’s, I can still remember well the times, when we used different objects of everyday use as our toys … and our dolls, with their shabby looks, would probably scare off more than one girl coming from the generation of barbie dolls. Being lucky enough to have some family members living abroad, my collection of toys, in those days, wasn’t really shabby. However, I remember best the toys which I made myself accompanied by my mum, from figures made of salt dough or masks to rag dolls in woolen coats.
I’m really happy that in spite of this radical change in times and a totally different generation of kids, which in majority are spoiled by their parents, who buy them various toys in department stores, there are still some parents who want to give something more to their little ones … toys created with love and dedicated especially to their beloved children. Today, I’m happy to present you Monika – the author of a blog Kinder World – who is not only a happy mum, but also a creator of unique toys for the youngest children.
Passion Piece: Could you tell my readers a few words about yourself?
Monika: I think it’s the most difficult and the most disliked question for me … but ok. I’m Monika and I’ve recently started running a blog Kinder World, in which you can find instructions, which are meant to help you make toys and educational aids, mainly out of felt, on your own. My blog is a bit ascetic, as I’m an introvert and I’m a very private person. That’s why, on my blog, you won’t find posts related to my everyday life. However, if you’re interested in getting to know how to create something nice for your child, you’re in the right place. Many people, quite often don’t understand why I do something that takes so much time to prepare, and yet there are so many toys made in China, which can be bought for pennies. If you also keep wondering whether it’s worth it?My answer will be yes. It’s worth making an effort. It helps me to relax after a busy day, and my kids get something that was made just for them. Customization of toys is really important. Your kids will feel special. They will be more willing to learn, and what’s more important, it will be easier for you to notice what is difficult for them. Thanks to this knowledge you’ll be able to improve the toy in the way, which will be more favourable for your kids to learn new things, the ones you expect them to learn.
Passion Piece: What inspired you to set up your blog?
Monika: I think it was the fact that I couldn’t find enough information related to handicraft on the Internet, so I had to learn new things by trial and error. That’s why, I’d like to save my readers all these troubles. Handicraft is time-consuming itself. Why should you waste your extra time on making mistakes? Why should you spend your money on something which won’t work out anyway? I started my adventure with this subject not a long time ago, so I’m still testing the right materials and techniques, which work out best for me. For now I post some information related to the places, in which I order my materials and which materials I use to make different toys. However, step by step I’ll also include articles, in which I’ll review the materials I’ve used so far, so that the readers can choose the best options for them. I’d also like to share more templates prepared to make sensory books, but I must admit that I still lack time for that. My blog is meant to be a manual, a canned text, so that even a person, which assumes that he or she is deprived of any talents, could prepare a toy without any bigger problems.
Passion Piece: How did you come up with the idea of creating interactive toys for kids?
Monika: Many people associate the process of learning with boredom and they treat it as a must. Kids, which are curious about the world and still free from prejudices, are great learners, and that’s the thing I want to use. I’d like my educational aids to arouse curiosity in children all the time. The knowledge obtained during play and practice remains in them for the whole life. I’m also interested in the subject of mnemonics and their use in the process of education, that’s why I try to implement this knowledge while choosing the right colours and elements placed on my toys. Nothing is accidental. Using sensory perceptions has an enormous influence on our memory. So why shouldn’t we take an advantage of that?
Passion Piece: Why is it good to stimulate kids through interactive toys?
Monika: If you want to teach a child anything, you need to make it interested in a given topic. Actually, I think that’s the most difficult task. When your kid gets hooked on something, you’re halfway to gain success. Colourful educational aids help a lot in getting closer to your goal. I truly believe that everyone can learn almost everything. The fact that sometimes a given topic is difficult, shouldn’t demotivate your child, on the contrary, it should be a challenge for him or her.
Passion Piece: What kind of toys do you like creating the most?
Monika: The new ones, which I haven’t had a chance to prepare before. It’s the best time when I come up with an idea for something and I need to work everything out on my own. I need to think of the way in which I should make a toy, so that it functions they way I expect it to work. I love this challenge, whether it works well or not. Waiting for the final effect … making something for the second time is not so fun anymore.
Passion Piece: Is it a good idea to prepare toys together with kids?
Monika: Of course. They really like being engaged in everything that their parents do. My kids assist me in everything I do, sometimes their role is restricted just to choosing the colours or counting the beads. There is always something you can ask them to do. Your kids will see that everything can be done even if sometimes something doesn’t work out. They will know that they can try to make a toy once again. They also get to know that every problem can be solved in a few possible ways.
Passion Piece: What’s the most difficult in creating toys for kids? What advice would you give to beginners?
Monika: Creating templates and adjusting them to our expectations. Sometimes we assume that a given project will be ideal, but after cutting it out of a chosen material it turns to be a failure. You need to prepare everything from scratch again or choose a totally different material. What advice would I give? They should try their skills. Many times, in the readers’ comments, I can see opinions that you envy me my talent and that if you were me, you would fail for sure. And here’s the most serious mistake. I’ll share my little secret with you … I don’t really have any special skills. But I want things to work out. Felt is a really great material and you can deal with it really well. It’s like paper-cutting and adding some new elements, but instead of using glue you use threads.
Passion Piece: What are your other passions?
Monika: I’m a masseuse by profession and I love it. Besides this, I got two more passions from my mum: one of them is love for books, and the other one is handicraft. These are such fixed elements which I always come back to, even after a longer break. I also love all kinds of novelties, I like learning new things. As long as I’m interested in something, I keep learning it. Sometimes my enthusiasm fades away quite fast, but sometimes I deal with some things a bit longer.
Passion Piece: What are your professional plans for the nearest future?
Monika: Who knows! My children are the most important for me right now. The youngest is 6 months old, so I’ve still got some time to think about my future.
Passion Piece: Which motto would you like to share with my readers?
Monika: The impossible I do immediately, miracles take me a little longer.
Passion Piece: Thank you very much for this inspiring interview and I hope that you’ll manage to encourage more parents not only to create toys for their kids, but also to make them together with their kids.
The world of childhood memories doesn’t need to smell with Chinese plastic and doesn’t need to be associated with modeled in factories barbie dolls’ faces. Childhood is a time, which encourages development of imagination and it’s worth taking care of this aspect, so that adult children have something to remember. Believe me, the most memorable things are the ones, which demanded a little bit of effort from us and during which we were assisted by people who were close to our hearts.
See you around!
A website which you should visit: www.kinderswiat.com