This week at Modern Kids Design, we spotlight bObles, one of our favorite makers. Their furniture is a great addition to any kid's room. We love that it's good looking, functional and, frankly, fun, with an emphasis on fun. What really sets bObles apart, though, is that they make furniture that supports children in developing their motor skills.
To support families in helping kids develop their motor skills, the company came up with what they call tumbling icons, which is another way of actually describing their furniture. When you look at these “icons” at a glance, you may think that they serve as room décor or toys, which, happily, they do. However, when you take a closer look, you will also see that each icon helps the kids in different ways — rolling, crawling, jumping and balancing. The thing that is neat about it is that the kids can interact with the furniture, have fun and get a bit of workout for their bodies. As you will see below, some fun examples are the chicken, the fish, the crocodile, the elephant and the worm.
According to bObles, the fundamental idea is that the furniture “represents natural and basic elements in a child’s motor skill development.” What that means is that it’s made to be moved, flipped, and played with in order to get kids to move their bodies in healthy ways. An added benefit is that the fun shapes and colors encourage children to get hands-on and reinvent their world, challenging them to let their imaginations roam. At Modern Kids Design, we love a modern spin on old-fashion imaginative play!
Now here is their backstory — bObles was started in 2006 by Danish Architect Bolette Blædel and her sister Louise, who is a designer. A new mom at the time, Bolette found a lot of children’s furniture in Denmark to be miniaturized versions of adult furniture. To her, that meant that designers were not really taking into account a child’s natural tendency to interact with their environment and learn through play. It appeared as though they used the same models and styles utilized in adult furniture. So, Bolette teamed up with her sister Louise to create furniture that really considered the needs of children. bObles allows kids of varying ages to literally flip their environment upside down through imaginative play challenge their bodies in the process which supports motor skill development. Here is an explanation and a few examples:
Many of bObles simple shapes are made to look like animals. Chicken is a small arc that can be flipped over for some fun rocking or balancing action. Laying on its flat side, chicken can be used as a seat or a stepping stone in a larger obstacle course of brightly-colored foam creatures. Chicken is great for infants learning to navigate the world on their bellies or for toddlers who can’t sit still. It can be used for tilting, balancing, sitting, rocking, or tummy time. The possibilities are endless!
The Fish comes in two varieties, a small and a large version. Both provide fun opportunities to roll around. Fish can be used for rolling, balancing, and stepping. Multiple Fish can form fun obstacle courses and stepping stone games that will challenge children as they practice jumping and stepping.
bObles took the bite right out of this this Crocodile, In fact, he’s so nice, he’ll let little ones walk all over him! Perfect for teaching stair climbing or adding an incline to baby’s day, Crocodile allows children to wrangle a reptile while learning how to balance and walk up steps. Combine Crocodile and Chicken for a fun seesaw or use two Crocodiles for some exciting stilts.
This adorable Elephant functions as a fun rocking horse as well as a comfy seat or piece for pulling up. Babies will enjoy lying on their bellies as they grab hold of Elephant or rocking back and forth or side to side between Elephant’s legs. And like the other bObles items, it is fun for kids of different ages. Elephant also makes a fun jumping off point and an excellent seesaw for balancing.
The Worm is a cylindrical piece that can be used for rolling and balancing, and as a chair. Worm features one flat side and one curved “face” which keeps the worm slightly off balance, challenging older children as they sit on it to play games or use it as part of an obstacle course. Worm is 10 layers deep, making it one of the taller pieces in the bObles set and a fun jumping off point.
We hope that you enjoyed learning more about bObles. And, in case you’re wondering, the featured picture, while not described above, is the very versatile Anteater and can serve as a table and chair set among other things. It's lovely, functional and fun.
Well, that's it for this week. We plan to return to our Green Your Room series later this month. Thanks for reading and, as always, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you think and what you'd like to read about on the blog.