As you may have gathered, dressing up is a Big Thing in this house. For as long as Ava has been Ava, she has enjoyed dressing up in all sorts of items. Hats, scarves, dresses, shoes. Her playsilks are one of the most widely used to things we own.
Anything that encourages this kind of imaginative play is going to get a big thumbs up for me. But if it’s organic? And fairtrade? And open-ended? Even better.
I was thrilled when the lovely people at Fafu Play contacted me and asked if I’d like to review some of their products. And when a gorgeous package of wonderful dressing up items appeared, Ava was thrilled too. We’ve been having lots of fun. Cloaks? Hats? Wings? Parachutes? Yes please!
The first thing that struck me about the products was the colour – deep, beautiful rainbow colours. And the second thing was the material – thick organic wools, soft silks, cottons, felts. It was a pleasure to look at and feel these items and my kids delved straight in. Some of the things were a little puzzling at first – and figuring them out was a lot of fun. The rainbow wrist straps were used for magic tricks.
Or a fairy house.
The quirky cotton reversible squares with studs all around were all sorts of things – cloaks, bags, dens, play mats, mermaid tails.
The hat and feet transformed Ava into a dinosaur and a chicken, alongside the odd-shaped ‘chicken hat’ as Ava called it.
The silk scarf was a bandana, a neck tie, wrapping up paper.
And the parachute was used to catch our felt balls, to build little dens or as yet another costume.
We’ve played with these things a lot, and they’ve transformed every time from one thing to another, over and over again – a true sign of open-ended, imaginative play items. Fafu sell these items individually, or in sets – designed for home use or packs for educators. Rather than being whole costumes, they come together or apart to make the possibilities for dress up and imaginative play go even further.
‘When we design our products we put a lot of thought into them sparking collaborations during play. We want children to talk, make up stories, and take on roles to play out those stories together. We want them to build relationships and understand how friendship can change their lives.’
Fafu Play have a wonderful ethos: To never compromise on quality, to celebrate local crafts and materials, to stop child labour, to improve working conditions and to advocate for a more socially and environmentally responsible consumer behaviour. They’re exactly the kind of business that I want to support and promote – a business set up by two people who care, more than anything, about children, about play, and about encouraging imagination.
‘This is why we all struggle with learning things that bore us. The brain reacts to boredom in the same way it reacts to stress and anxiety and fails to reflect on the information and store it long term. We need to engage children in a variety of sensory stimulation and offer them opportunities to explore, imagine, and create.’
All of the items are designed with this thought in mind, after collaborating with many early years educators, such as Naturally Learning and The Organic Child. Their dedication to promoting Fair Trade is really fantastic and the work they do with Folk Nepal (who produce all their products) is nothing short of inspiring. For every product sold, they are able to send a Nepalese child to school for one day, and for every pack sold, this increases to a week.
FafuPlay have generously offered to give away some of their dressing up items to one reader. An EARY dressing up hat, HANDY creative play hands or feet, an ANDY dressing up reversible poncho, a pair of BORDI ribbon bracelets and a set of wings, valued altogether at £75. If you’d like to win this set, please leave a comment under this post (comments are enabled on reviews). In a few days, I’ll select a winner using random number generator and send their goodies off to them.
FafuPlay can be found on Facebook here