There is no hiding from the fact that we are leaving behind a dying planet for future generations. If we continue to exploit the Earth’s resources at this rate, there will be nothing left for our successors to live off of. However, not all is bleak and grim on this beautiful planet that we call home. Generation Z is more aware of the consequences of climate change. Every day we see so many international as well as homegrown brands moving towards a more sustainable form and approach towards business. We see designers, scientists and artists taking up eco-friendly materials as their medium of creation be it in the field of science, architecture, agriculture, or art. Individually, people are becoming more conscious of the benefits of a sustainable lifestyle and using products that promote a greener Earth.
In that light, one particular homegrown brand that has been making strides in creating a better tomorrow for our future generation, since 2018, is Isha Gopal’s toy store, Bloon Toys. It creates organic, hand-made toys for children with unique and sustainable designs. Bloon Toys is so much more than a company making toys — it is an 'education company' as its founder, Isha calls it. Humans develop motor, social, imagination, and logical skills most during the initial years of their childhood - skills that have a vital impact during their teenage years and consequent adult lives. Bloon Toys create toys that are not just made for recreation but for a child’s holistic development.
For example, one of their products, the Transformable Pikler Triangle Collection is a transformable and adaptable range of climbing frames and accessories designed to see a growing child through all their stages of development — giving them different levels of challenge, adventure, physical and imaginative play. The idea is to develop an indoor climber structure suited for the Indian home, allowing children to climb, at their own pace, explore their own boundaries, feel and overcome their own fear, and become more resilient, confident, and adaptive kids. The toy set enhances not just their motor skills but their problem-solving skills as well as their imaginative acumen. Each toy set designed by Bloon Toys aims at particular education and skill development needs of the young ones.
Every day we are seeing the new generation more and more addicted to screens. But can we really blame them? As more parks and fields are being taken up for construction projects and fit the need for rapid urbanization, there is hardly any ‘outside’ left for children to go play. Playing is a child’s most basic instinct. Children have high powers of imagination and they can use even a mere block of wood works to construct a rich mental world of mystique. It is Bloon Toy’s vision to facilitate those powers that children possess.
In a candid interview with Homegrown, we discussed Bloon Toys and its ethos with its founder, Isha Gopal.
What is the vision of Bloon Toys?
Children learn some of the most important things in life all by themselves - creativity, confidence, and the ability to empathize. These things that cannot be taught can be learned — naturally and intuitively through play. Our role at Bloon Toys is to create an environment that is rich enough for this journey of self-discovery.
How do you locate Bloon Toys at the intersection of design and learning?
We’ve built Bloon Toys to work at the intersection of design and learning - with deep links to alternative education as well as to design so that anything that we create not only reflects the highest principles of child development but is also at par with the best of global design practices, material safety, sustainability and the like.
How do the materials that you use complement the ethos of Bloon Toys?
It is only like this that we can aspire to create materials that can seamlessly fit into the homes and spaces of every child - giving them access to all the play, exploration, growth, and the joy that goes with it. We use natural materials such as wood, wool, beeswax, cork, and natural dyes (indigo, madder, Himalayan rhubarb, etc) that make the toys safe for (often) unsupervised play while also being sustainable.
"Right now, we’re at the cusp of what a lot of people are calling the fourth industrial revolution — driven by technological advancements in artificial intelligence, ‘smart’ systems, robotics, and automation. The World Economic Forum published a report a couple of years ago calling for a re-skilling revolution and listing out the ‘skills’ that would be increasingly important in the future."
Education is not just found in schools and fat textbooks. Education is about being armed with the tools required to function well in life and be prepared for the future. Skills such as analytic reasoning, complex problem-solving techniques, imagination, critical thinking, leadership, and initiative are some of the skills that Bloon Toy seeks to inculcate within the future generation through its eco-friendly designs — skills that are fundamental for our future generation’s germination.
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