Kids stuff. You feel me?
It’s an f’ing mess. An inherited toy vacuum is now sentient in our living room and sings in Spanish at all hours of the day. There are pieces of things everywhere. And pieces of things missing that are, apparently, critical to the future happiness of a 3 year old. And the moment I swoop in and pack stuff away because the 0-6 months play range is long gone is the moment Lo asks for the wrist rattles. WRIST RATTLES.
Whenever I see or we get a toy that is not rage inducing I get joy weepy. And I want to share. So, here we are.
I’ve been pleasantly put in place several times now by non-kidded friends picking out rad, rad stuff. It’s like they pick what is cool to them and therefore it is just cool. I miss being cool.
So, when an industrial designer friend gave us two puzzles for a first birthday that weren’t ugly or loud I sighed in both relief and in missing coolness. After reading about Kid O, I’m so not surprised their puzzles lured in a cool non-dad guy. Kid O has colorful but not eye-scorching toys. Their hook is toys that are “simple, modern and educational.” Y’all know I love me a serial comma but I can still get behind that sentiment. Simple. Please. More of that.
The site features distinct collections that are all quite lovely ranging from wooden toys to party favors and including those Bilibo turtle shell type seats from Moluk that I am kind of obsessed with but don’t totally understand but may buy immediately. I also love the blog for the line which focuses on play and learning and creativity. Like, I love it.
But cool toys are only cool if they appeal to the wee ones. A mid-century mock toddler-sized cocktail station or a make-your-own-mini-folksy-music-fest kit isn’t any good if the kid won’t play with it.
These two puzzles, one which has her sort by height and one by width, kept her happy and occupied.
Lo, who is obviously a genius, was not great with subtle size differences (nesting was a hot, hot mess of frustration, stacking a bit less so) but was, and is, great with following repeated steps we’ve modeled for her. These puzzles proved a low-risk way to practice and not once did she do the standard frustration response of throwing everything everywhere forever. I figured the Pavlovian puzzle doing would, in turn, foster a better understanding of size differentiation. And it did.
Maybe even better, I’ve found it was excellent practice on speaking clearly to her. I got wildly confused myself when trying to explain that she needs a smaller piece, and then a MORE smaller piece. Or I’d say “that one is too big” and she looks at me like I’m an asshole because, really mom, do you mean the piece is too big or the hole is too big?
Thinking about what I can learn from playing with her or watching her play has been pretty great. I always think about metacognition on her part but hadn’t really started thinking about play-based metacognitive stuff on my part. It had been pretty limited to how I respond to a freak out or how I model civility or compassion for her.
As I reflected on it, maybe trying to explain how to sort the lovely blue shades of tall to small make me a better writer while making me a better mom and her a better size difference noticer. Clarity and conciseness are two things toddlers need and they’re two things writers need too.
So cheers to Kid O, a toy company doing it right and getting it right. Hip hip.