Monday, May 20, 2024

Pune Architects Script Success With Eco-Pleasant Academic Toys


Toy Trunk, a Pune-based startup based by architects Priyanka Mangaonkar-Vaiude and Ajay Vaidya, is altering the way in which we perceive toys for kids between the ages of 0 and eight.

Not solely are their handmade toys designed “following intensive analysis on motor and cognitive growth of youngsters”, however in addition they work with conventional artisans to make them with non-toxic and sustainable eco-friendly supplies like wooden and lac.

“The experiences kids have in early childhood form their mind and the capability to be taught, get together with others, and reply to each day stresses and challenges. Toy Trunk has been constructed with a imaginative and prescient to unfold consciousness amongst dad and mom and guardians about how toys can contribute to the general growth of a kid,” says Priyanka, chatting with The Higher India.

“Additionally, to qualify the ‘handmade’ declare we make, some toys could require fundamental machine reducing when it comes to their base form. Nevertheless, fine-tuning, shaping the perimeters, colouring, detailing, assembling, and ending is all accomplished manually,” she provides.

Co-founders Priyanka Mangaonkar-Vaiude and Ajay Vaidya

Discovering inspiration

Priyanka, a educated architect and inside designer who additionally specialises in craft and know-how, has greater than a decade of expertise within the greater echelons of Indian academia.

Again in early 2020, whereas writing a analysis paper with a fellow architect Minu Joshi for a convention at IIT Bombay, Priyanka took the instance of reviving conventional woodcraft practised within the Konkan area of Sawantwadi in Maharashtra — well-known for making toys.

“Completely different revival methods have been proposed on this paper, and each of us thought ‘as a substitute of simply discussing these, how can we implement them?’. And that’s how the thought of the Toy Trunk was initially born,” remembers Priyanka.

Nevertheless, inspiration additionally got here near residence.

Within the midst of the primary wave of COVID-19, Priyanka’s son had turned three. She was discovering it very tough to maintain her son away from the display screen through the lockdown. It was very disturbing to see her son getting hooked on cell phones, tablets, and TVs, which may severely hamper his psychological in addition to bodily development and studying capacity in the long term.

“I discovered a real lack of applicable toys which may have interaction him. This pushed me to analysis youngster growth and strategies/instruments that enable for the holistic growth of a kid in a enjoyable and simple approach. I discovered that toys are the most effective instruments one can supply to a toddler throughout their early phases of growth, as in addition they entertain,” remembers Priyanka.

Connecting the dots, she considered redesigning conventional toys made by these artisans as instruments that would assist the holistic growth of a kid. Furthermore, in the event that they have been made by these artisans, it may play some half in preserving the normal woodcraft, in locations like Sawantwadi, alive.

Ajay, an architect and concrete designer by commerce who specialises in human ergonomics, additionally observed how the arrival of on-line schooling through the pandemic had led to elevated display screen time for folks and kids, resulting in disengagement. In his condominium complicated, Ajay additionally noticed that infants and toddlers have been now not happy even by being seated in entrance of a display screen.

“Youngsters should be engaged in numerous methods off-screen. When Priyanka and I joined fingers with our widespread imaginative and prescient, we participated in ‘Toycathon 2021’ — a nationwide competitors organised by the Union Authorities in January 2021,” says Ajay.

Their entry made all of it the way in which to the ultimate spherical, and barely three months later in April 2021, Toy Trunk was first established. They launched their web site in Might 2022.

Check out these eco-friendly toys
Eco-friendly toys by Toy Trunk (Left: Threading shapes; Proper: A baby taking part in with rope stilts)

Using analysis to make toys

Neuroscience analysis tells us that about 85% of an individual’s mind growth occurs by the age of eight. Throughout this era, the speed at which neurons are produced within the mind is excessive. These neuron connections are the results of learnings achieved by means of expertise. Subsequently, offering the proper instruments which is able to give the required experiences on the proper age throughout this era is essential.

Listed below are among the toys that Toy Trunk have that help such growth within the early childhood interval.

1) “Youngsters be taught to manage their physique actions by the point they’re three years previous. Youngsters between three and eight years are thought of to be studying with associates of the identical age. Throughout this time, their social abilities are growing, and therefore, offering such alternatives ensures the advance of social abilities,” explains Priyanka.

“Our fake play kitchen set is likely one of the greatest instruments the place kids be taught contemplating others’ views, language abilities, negotiations, and problem-solving talents, based mostly on the observations made by them each day. Moreover, the thought behind growing a kitchen set was sparked when my son identified that the normal toy kitchen set he had lacked the tools that one makes use of in a kitchen each day at the moment,” says Priyanka.

“This made us realise that her son’s present picket kitchen set wanted a variety of modification in its design and measurement in order that he can relate it with those that we use. Additionally, the data of ergonomics and human physique proportions which we realized in structure assisted us in deriving the proper measurement and proportion of every utensil for that excellent grip,” She provides.

“Whereas designing the kitchen set, we made many iterations and examined them with household and associates earlier than reaching the proper measurement. Relatively than utilizing lacquer color for its end, we determined to make use of darkish and light-weight color wooden to make it extra interesting,” says Priyanka. 

This kitchen set is part of Toy Trunk's eco-friendly toys collection
Toy Trunk’s picket kitchen set for kids is a part of their assortment of eco-friendly toys

2) Apparently, Priyanka sends her son to an ‘unconventional college’ the place the main focus is on experiential studying, not like typical faculties. “Right here they first concentrate on the event of muscle tissue from the shoulder to the fingers earlier than taking over the duty of writing,” she notes.

“On this context, what we want is a device that enables kids motion of those muscle tissue. For instance, threading exercise, which helps in growing the pincer grip, is an important talent {that a} youngster wants earlier than he/she begins utilizing a pencil. Within the case of our threading form and lacing beads toy, the kid is made to make use of each fingers to weave a form. This helps them to develop the proper hand and finger actions,” she provides.

“Our threading shapes toy develops bilateral motion in addition to hand-eye coordination. It additionally teaches them to determine elementary geometric shapes. This improves present threading toys out there that take a look at solely unilateral hand motion,” claims Ajay.

3) There are some conventional Indian picket toys obtainable which might be additionally developmental instruments, however there’s a lack of information about their objective.

“A peacock wobbler is an instance of 1 such toy. This toy could be very useful in growing the stomach time of a two or three-month-old toddler. Typically, at this age, a toddler begins crying once you put them on their tummy as a result of their neck and shoulder muscle tissue should not but totally developed. However extra tummy time helps in growing their neck and shoulder muscle tissue which additional assist them to boost their head, roll over, sit up, crawl and stroll,” explains Priyanka.

“Having one thing which has a vibrant color and dynamic motion whereas on the stomach diverts their consideration from the ache and helps them to take pleasure in this time. We took the idea of the identical toy however improved it by modifying pointed shapes and including enticing colors, which made our toy extra fascinating to oldsters or potential dad and mom,” she provides.

4) “Within the first three to 4 months, a toddler learns principally by means of contact and listening to sense. Therefore offering completely different audio stimulation is essential on this interval. At Toy Trunk, we offer varied forms of rattles to help this growth. We have now redesigned the dumbbell rattle in such a approach that it’ll not hurt the little fingers of the new child,” says Ajay.

These eco-friendly toys are being made by artisans
Conventional artisans at work making these eco-friendly toys

Sustainability first

Each Priyanka and Ajay strongly affirm that “each toy at Toy Trunk is made utterly with sustainable supplies like wooden or material, thus preserving the youngsters at bay from plastic toxins and different chemically manufactured toys.” Even the colors used on the toys are constituted of lac with pure merchandise like turmeric used for pigmentation.

“The choice to make toys out of sustainable supplies like wooden and material is impressed by a number of elements. Apart from the apparent environmental causes, the artisans we work with have been historically utilizing these pure supplies for years collectively. Additionally, picket and material toys made with pure supplies are protected, in distinction to plastic toys, that are produced utilizing chemical substances and ‘acceptable quantities’ of poisons within the manufacturing course of,” explains Priyanka.

“Wood toys have pure textures which stimulate the kid’s senses to ask them to the touch, really feel and discover the floor space. In the meantime, the fundamental shapes of the toys assist the event of your youngster’s hand-eye coordination,” claims Ajay.

Who’re these artisans?

“From our printed analysis work with the Faculty of Design, IIT Bombay, which noticed us  learning the Sawantwadi toy cluster, we learnt that conventional Indian toy clusters have been dealing with a wide range of points. So, we determined to revamp and repurpose these toys and started working with them and the Channapatna toy craft cluster as properly,” says Priyanka.

Channapatna, a spot close to Mysore, has a toy craft cluster of over 3,000 conventional artisans engaged within the manufacturing of lacquerware constituted of vegetable dyes.

“Conventional apply entails lacquering of domestically obtainable ivory wooden (domestically generally known as hale wooden) for making toys, however at the moment in addition they work with different woods like neem wooden (domestically generally known as Gauda neem), beech wooden, and rubber wooden. The artisans don’t use any non-toxic colors or uncooked supplies, therefore making the toys protected for kids,” says Ajay. In 2005, these conventional picket Channapatna toys have been conferred with a GI tag.

One artisan that Priyanka and Ajay met once they visited Channapatna in September 2021 was grasp craftsman B Venkatesh of Sri Beereshwara Artwork and Craft. Since their first encounter, Venkatesh has accomplished six orders for Toy Trunk.

“We make handmade lacquer picket toys with domestically obtainable woods — like hale wooden (ivory wooden), gauda neem, beechwood, and rubber wooden. Historically, we’ve got been making rattles, tops, kitchen units, trains, automobiles, spinners, yoyos, cup-and-balls, wobblers, dancing picket dolls, and so on. Presently, I’ve 30 artisans working with me,” says Venkatesh. 

“Sooner or later, we want to unfold and apply our leanings, and design developmental instruments in numerous toy craft clusters of India with respective supplies. We want to play a bigger constructive function in sustaining and enriching these crafts sooner or later,” notes Priyanka.

How are artisans making these items
Artisans working in direction of making these eco-friendly toys a actuality

Enterprise mannequin

“Toy Trunk at present makes use of the D2C (direct-to-consumer) enterprise mannequin through which we promote our merchandise on to customers. This consists of promoting toys on-line by means of our web site and aggregator marketplaces similar to Firstcry and The Nestery. We purpose to be on extra standard e-commerce platforms like Amazon India, Flipkart, and Jiomart quickly,” says Ajay.

How do they work with artisans?

“We work with them on a per-order foundation. After we want extra stock, we create a purchase order order with the grasp craftsman who employs these artisans. We observe this technique since it’s straightforward to speak the design and handle the fabric required, the supply time-frame, and so on. The grasp craftsman pays the artisans in accordance with the order. We’re at present working with two grasp craftsmen,” notes Ajay.

To this point, the bootstrapped startup has launched 24 merchandise and is seeking to change into a model with a turnover of Rs 1.5 crore by the top of the yr.

“Apart from fulfilling customary enterprise targets, nonetheless, we’re at present choices for incubation and funding. In the long term, we wish to collaborate with extra artisans and enhance provide chain effectivity and likewise construct a sustainable and accountable enterprise,” says Priyanka.

(Edited by Pranita Bhat, Picture courtesy Toy Trunk)

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