You may have noticed; we LOVE playing with our kids. It’s one of those secret parenting perks – getting to relive your childhood and experience new, fun toys and games without anyone telling you, you’re too old. And call us old-fashioned… but most of the time you just can’t beat the simple things. Manual toys without any screens, batteries or other gimmicks are the best allowing for hours of play without causing a head ache or cluttering up our home. So, you can imagine our excitement when MOLUK toys contacted me asking if we would like to “play” with some of their amazing toys. The bilibo to be specific.
Who is MOLUK?
At it’s core MOLUK is a family business. Founded in 2011 by Alex Hochstrasser, the designer and inventor of bilibo, and his sister Doris Hochstrasser, an architect. Today they are leaders in creating innovative, sustainable toys that invite real interaction, getting kids to use their minds and senses. With countless awards to back almost every toy they’ve designed MOLUK knows their little customers. Ensuring that every product from their range is safe, durable and appealing to kids of all ages. They are bringing true play back into focus and letting kids “do more” in a world drowning in the virtual. They want kids to move, discover, imagine and have fun while exploring the endless play opportunities of the open-ended toys they design.
So what is an open-ended toy?
Open-ended toys have multiple uses and countless possibilities. Traditionally it would be items such as paint, clay, sand, mud, water, blocks, and Legos. These toys aren’t limited by exact definitions and restrictions. They can be adapted and changed and played with in a variety of ways. No fancy rules and instructions are needed, just loads of imagination.
Now, what is a bilibo?
First off let me explain. You get 3 variations of the bilibo:
- the original large bilibo
- the mini bilibo
- and the bilibo game box
We were lucky enough to receive all 3 and boy have we been having a blast creating our own games to play. It was parents vs. kids. Who could come up with the coolest ways to play with our bilibos?
The bilibo for ages 2+ (Currently priced at R390)
Don’t be fooled by the simple appearance. This colourful shell provides the girls (and us) with hours of fun.
There are endless ways to use it but we focused on all the gross motor skills and balancing opportunities – using the bilibo to rock and spin in, hide under, balance on top of and of course Mr. Perfect used it as a helmet – such a boy.
The girls preferred playing peek-a-boo through the holes at their “enemy”.
It can be a chair when reading…
We keep ours in the living room for the girls to sit in while watching TV. They can’t resist the urge to start using their bodies when sitting in a bilibo… Rocking back and forth, spinning or simply balancing. It’s a huge mom win in my books – no more passive screen time.
Don’t think this is only an indoor toy. Definitely not! Play outside too.
We built a cardboard ramp for the bilibo that kept the entire family playing for at least an hour. Fresh air, laughter and unforgettable memories thanks to this simple plastic shell.
Made from high density polyethylene (HD-PE) – it’s basically the safest and most recyclable plastic used making the bilibo durable and shock resistant even at low temperatures. It’s BPA-free, phthalate-free, latex-free and 100% recyclable. Available in blue, red, yellow, pink, orange, green, light blue and purple.
The mini bilibo for ages 1+ (Currently priced at R247.00)
Much smaller than the original bilibo, the minis are perfect for stacking, nesting, scooping and floating.
We even re-enacted Yertle the Turtle stacking our minis on our large bilibo.
The minis can be anything! Cars driven around, little houses, bugs and beetles.
Eliana and Lia found the addition of the minis even more useful for pretend and role play – Preparing soups and salads in the bigger bilibo and using the minis as dishes. Later on during bath time those food bowls become boats. Water play, sand play, these are all you’ll need.
They also loved filling the bowls, spinning them and seeing if anything fell out.
Doing hand-overs from right to left and around your back was another easy idea that stimulates so many parts of the brain while keeping the girls happily playing.
Also made from high density polyethylene (HD-PE) making these just as durable, BPA-free, phthalate-free, latex-free and 100% recyclable. Available in blue, red, yellow, pink, orange and green.
The bilibo game box for ages 3+ (Currently priced at R310)
This box set includes a bunch of goodies:
-6 assorted mini bilibos
-36 coloured Pixel™ chips
-1 elastic dice
-1 Pixel Pouch to store your chips
-An info booklet with some play ideas.
Now we get into the fine motor and advanced thinking skills. Sorting and matching came naturally but other games included balancing a pixel chip on your face, stringing them together, counting and dividing them between all of us.
The girls drew up streets and guided their chips along to the centre into a mini bilibo.
Aiming and flicking chips into the same colour mini bilibos was another fun game. We even made it more advanced by throwing the dice to see which colour chip we needed to flick.
Seeing how many times we could toss the chips from one mini bilibo to another before loosing them all proved very entertaining and so did throwing and catching the elastic dice.
The dice is kind of amazing, even on it’s own, bouncing all over.
So what do we really think?
I appreciate the thoughtful design put into the bilibo and Moluk has reminded us of the importance and wonder that is open ended play. Even Ava was intrigued and couldn’t resist investigating these colourful new toys. searching for the hidden dice and handling the objects herself.
And just look at that face, enjoying the large bilibo too.
I can’t choose a favourite but the game box is so versatile and easy to take along wherever we go – making it convenient and great value for money. Pairing it with a large bilibo is a bonus.
Together we came up with 17 different games to play and we only stopped because we needed some lunch. Over the past few weeks it’s been amazing to see the girls invent new ways to enjoy their bilibos.
What do you think of the bilibo? Would your kids love it too?
Locally get your hands on some Moluk goodies at StraightZigZag.com
Graphics and product images courtesy of www.moluk.com