It was Albert Einstein who made this bold statement. For me, there is much truth to it. We all agree pretend play is important, but why exactly? Well, it's actually a really great way to practice using symbols and broaden children's vocabulary. They learn to play together and take on a different perspective than their own. They get themselves ready for the adult world and build up healthy inner structures they can rely on as they grow older. Best of all, it's lots of fun!
As a parent, it's important to think about how your child will give expression to their imagination. Although every child is different, i've noticed that what comes natural to them is all that is already natural in the world. They are drawn to nature and what comes with it: animals, flowers, trees.... Their wonderful little minds in turn imagine it magical with gnomes, fairies, dragons...
I've tried to be conscious in what to give my children to play with and even went a step further by starting to make toys myself. The Maple Forest animals quickly were born and I felt a need to start sharing them with the rest of the world. Having my own imagination run wild, I have endless ideas about how to support my children's imagination in a natural, fun but beautiful way. But you have to start somewhere and I decided to make the plushies first.
Nothing is more whimsical than watercolor, somehow, this had to be incorporated into the design. This dreamy design also had to be soft and cuddly, but made out of responsible products. After some trial and error I chose Spoonflower to print my designs on. They limit waste and recycle what waste they do have. The ink they use is chemical free and their fabrics responsibly bought. For the arms, legs, tails and ears I chose Robert Kaufman fabrics, a well respected family run company with high quality fabrics. The fabrics I chose are either a 100% cotton or even Oeko-Tex certified.
I use different textures of fabrics to enhance tactile experience. I've seen time and time again how children can fixate on certain fabrics, having the smooth, soft or rougher texture sooth them and give them a sense of security.
The animals are 'play safe', meaning nothing goes into them but fabric and they are washable! The fiber fill I use is hypoallergenic.
It's safe to say a lot goes into making a Maple Forest friend. Probably every maker can agree that especially all the little arms and legs are a paw full. Each of them is lovingly sewn together by myself in my studio from home.
I wanted to write this first blog to give you some more insight in how the Maple Forest world came to be and what thought goes into them. The animals are wonderful companions to play or sleep with. My son chose Fawn who is now a witness to his everyday life and play. I hope you will join in on the Maple Forest story. Have a look at the listings and read about their personality's and adventures. Lot's more to come!
Lot's of love,
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