The Oompa Minute
Oompa wants to give a warm welcome to our newest line of French toys by Janod. From food to fashion, we all know that the French add a certain indescribable flair to everything they do. Now the beautiful French style can be seen in this line of modern educational toys designed in the Jura region of France. Check out our newest French blocks, musical toys, puzzles, and more from Janod.
At first Hape Toys caught our eye with their simple style and focus on imaginative, educational playtime. When we learned more about the company, we certainly liked what we saw and wanted to share with you some of the cool things we found! So as Maria from the Sound Of Music would say, let’s start from the very beginning…
Founded in 1986 by Peter Handstein along with his sister Sabine and close friend, Renate Gies, Hape Kindergarten Supply was dedicated to providing German educators with educational play things for their little ones. The company quickly grew and in 1987, Peter moved the company to Ningbo, China.
Once in China, Peter built his own innovative factory where he could embrace ecological, technological, and efficiency practices. Intrigued by the beautiful bamboo plants surrounding Peter’s new home, Hape began to experiment with this highly renewable resource. Soon after, Hape Toys became the first company to offer a full line of bamboo toys in 2005.
Today, Hape Toys creates safe and innovative products while working with local communities in Ningbo, China to build schools and educate the population about social and ecological responsibility. From humble beginnings, Hape Toys is now one of the largest producers of toys made from sustainable materials in the world!
We love simple toys that allow kids to engage in open-ended, intuitive play. Hape offers great baby toys, dollhouses, early learning toys, kitchen play toys, musical insturments, push & pull toys, and puzzles! You can check out Hape’s kitchen line in the video below and all our great Hape products at oompa.com/hape!
As we’ve come to learn over the years, true innovation in the wooden toy industry doesn’t exactly happen every day, or even every year for that matter. In fact, when we think about the fact that wooden blocks have been around for centuries and constitute the simplest form of educational, open-ended play, it’s hard to imagine that anyone could outdo the simple wooden block. And then, we met Tegu.
Surprisingly, brothers Chris and Will Haughey didn’t start Tegu with toys on their mind. In fact, the company began with the simple notion that Honduras needed businesses which offered living wage jobs. Home to beautiful hardwoods, the Country could have been the perfect spot for sustainably manufacturing any number of wooden products. However, the brothers were inspired by classic wooden toys on a trip to Europe and embarked on a quest to breathe new life into an old industry. Today, Tegu blocks inspire children while addressing unemployment, neglected natural and human resources and the need for entrepreneurship in Honduras.
If you haven’t yet seen or played with Tegu blocks, they’re remarkable. Somehow (patents are pending), the Company has found a way to safely and invisibly embed magnets inside traditional wooden building blocks. The blocks currently come in four shapes and all index to a 30mm cube unit.Tegu Design Video – Nate Lau from Tegu on Vimeo. There are magnetic poles running through the blocks, which means that sometimes the blocks attract to each other and sometimes they repel from one another. As a result, the play value is tremendous because the blocks present a child with open-ended creative possibilities — utilizing the right brain — while requiring problem solving for magnetic polarity — utilizing the left brain. The magnetic nature of the blocks means that created structures can defy gravity and allow for cantilevering, too, which youngsters find fascinating. And, if that’s not enough, the quality of manufacturing is fantastic — something we have come to expect from Europe, and yet, refreshingly, something we’re excited to see coming from a poor nation that has great needs. While the blocks are more expensive than your average wooden block, they’re worth every penny. You’ll keep these ones for years to come. And, we think you’ll agree that it feels good to know that each set that’s sold is helping Tegu do good for those in need. We’re delighted to have discovered the innovation that is Tegu blocks and we’re pleased to present you with a product that you’re sure to agree is an instant classic. And to top it all off, unlike your average play kitchen or piece of kids furniture, we think you may just enjoy Tegu Blocks as much as your children do.