Brio is so much more than just your child’s first wooden railway set. Born in 1884 the Swedish company has maintained the same clean design language and core principals for over 135 years, to create products encouraging children to open up their own universe of fun where the only limitation is their own imagination. This play based design philosophy is something all Brio products follow.
Through the median of play, growing bodies and brains get all the stimulation they need to develop. Brio toys are designed to support every stage of a child’s development…
From learning to sit to taking those first wobbly steps, every new skill takes lots of practice for children to master and each skill usually develops during specific time periods, these are called developmental milestones. It’s these developmental milestones Brio bases all its toys on.
A baby’s vision isn’t fully developed at birth, so it can only see objects within 8-12 inches away. That’s also why babies love the type of bright, contrasting colours we use in our products.
The same rule can be applied to sounds, since babies hearing is so sensitive, new sounds will spark both smiles and giggles. At about three months, babies will start using their hands to explore different objects. Putting things in their mouths is also something they love doing, allowing them to discover new tastes and textures.
At this age, babies will enjoy playing with objects within reach; touching, feeling, and biting them. The shape and size of things become more interesting too. Tiny object will be visually clearer and fun to pick up. From 9 to 12 months, babies become extremely curios about their surroundings – slamming things together to create sounds. This is also an age where babies fine motor skills are getting more refined, and where they enjoy using their thumb and index finger to pick up small objects.
Children’s motor skills have developed greatly at the age of 2. The ability to focus has increased, so naturally they will discover lots of new ways to play. For instance, children this age like scribbling with crayons and dropping objects into buckets and bowls. Stacking toys that allows children to fit objects inside or on top of each other become very popular. And after the age of 18 months, simple shape sorters or puzzles can offer lots of fun too!
At this age, children’s hand-eye coordination becomes refined, and fine motor skills are improving through handling small objects. This is a period where children will play alongside each other, but cannot share toys or play actively together. Since their hand coordination is at a pretty high level, children this age like to help out in the kitchen; scrubbing vegetables, snapping peas, tearing salad, and peeling bananas. Cutting with safety scissors is also fun. This is also a period when children’s imagination truly blossoms, and where they’ll start enjoying all types of pretend play: such as “playing house” with imaginary friends, dolls and stuffed animals.
During the age of four, problem-solving and creative play becomes more important. Gross motor skills have improved too, and skipping, running and jumping has never been more fun.
Children become very affectionate at this age too, especially towards parents. Strong feelings of empathy will develop, and when playing with other children being able to share and take turns happens more naturally too.
At this stage play becomes richer, and children’s social skills are developing rapidly. As a result, playing with friends is more fun than ever. Activities such as painting with a brush and staying inside the lines challenge their fine motor skills, and many children will enjoy play that gives them freedom to build and construct. 5-year olds take great pride in different accomplishments and love encouragement along the way. But then again, don’t we all?
Numerous studies have emphasised the importance of play, especially unstructured, free play. For babies and toddlers, play has the role of strengthening the body and stimulating the brain. As children get older, play increases their ability to see things from different perspectives and it encourages original thinking. Brio want to draw attention to the role of play in the development and creativity of both children and adults and in 2013 they awarded the Cambridge researcher Dr. David Whitebread for his report ‘The importance of Play’. The report focuses on children’s need to play freely in order to grow and thrive as people, the study stresses that all types of play are beneficial, and that children need to experience a variety of play activities.
Because belief in free play has always been the cornerstone of Brio’s company philosophy it’s what all the products are, and have been always been based on. Every new pull-toy designed and railroad sold continues to honour the importance of play and celebrate the creative child within all of us.
Whats even better is that since 2014, one hundred percent of the wooden toys are made from FSC certified wood. The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council®) is a non-profit organisation that safeguards, monitors and encourages sustainable forest management. This certification means that all the wood used in the products is traceable and that it originates from responsibly managed forests. In addition, the certification also guarantees that the raw materials come from legal logging sources.
Brio is focused on seeing children develop through play, but they should be able to do so in a world where we have taken responsibility for a sustainable future.