Experts in child development say that toys should allow kids to use their imagination to the fullest. For child development experts, a piece of wooden block is a much better toy than a fancy, fully detailed plaything. While many of us might actually be raising our eyebrows at this notion, there is sense in the idea that simple is better. If the toy is so detailed, kids no longer have to use their imagination or, at the very least, will only use a fraction of it. Hence, we are essentially robbing them of the opportunity to hone their imaginative, creative, and problem solving skills which might affect the way they perform later in their lives as grownups. Moluk knows this very well. So, when they designed, manufactured, and finally released the Bilibo, many were wondering just what kind of toy this is.
The Bilibo: Back to Basics
The Bilibo, for all its design simplicity and unpretentious styling, is simply incomparable in its ability to stimulate imaginative thinking. Looking at it, you will never believe that it is actually one of the best loved baby and toddler toys today. It doesn’t resemble any plaything that we know of. When laid on its bottom, it looks like a funny looking, odd-shaped soup bowl with three wavy contours and two holes for slotting your fingers. When flipped over, the Bilibo looks like the trench helmets of World War II soldiers or even the helmet of a big bike rider in California. Flip the Moluk half shell on its side and it does look peculiarly similar to the half shell of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Can you see where we’re getting at? Because the Bilibo is magically attractive, superbly shaped, and so deceptively simple, it allows different individuals – kids – to conjure different images. And this is the essence of imaginative thinking. It is up to kids to come up with their own unique ideas on how best to play with the Bilibo.
Made by famed toy designers in Switzerland who worked cooperatively with experts in the child development field, the Bilibo can be seen as the half shell of a giant, colorful clam as it comes in a variety of colors. The wavy lid of the Bilibo forms an excellent “seal” when another Bilibo is placed on top of it to form a sphere. This Moluk toy is primarily intended to arouse children’s curiosity and even intrigue while commanding the attention of everyone that sees it. When used at the beach, for example, other beachgoers will simply be curious to learn what it is. At the children’s playground, a little kid sitting in an overturned shell before rotating it on its center will showcase the product as a highly mobile merry-go-round. In school or even during naptime stories, the shell can be used as props either as a cave, a house, or even the shell of a turtle. There are simply a lot of things that children can do with this product from Moluk. This is why it’s been called the toy that is showing toy giants that there’s nothing better than going back to the basics of toy design.
The MolukBilibo is made superiorly kid-safe materials that have been tested to be free from lead, BPA, phthalates, and even PVC. The polyethylene material offers durability and strength including excellent shatter proof properties which can be translated as a great heirloom gift to future generations. Knowing the stringent standards of Swiss authorities, the product has also passed and actually exceeded the standards of both European and US regulatory organizations. The product can be easily stored since one can simply stack one shell on top of the other like we normally do with our dishes.
Despite all of these “features”, there are quite a number of consumers who think lowly of the Moluk product. With a solid amount of Amazon reviewers, seven percent or roughly 65 individuals rated the product at a measly 1.0. We examined closely the nature of this negative experience and found out that their kids simply weren’t as excited or interested on the product as they would have hoped for. Some parents even argued that the Bilibo is a very expensive plastic while others say that it failed to stimulate the imagination of their children.
We are not advocates of the Moluk product as we would like to present an honest evaluation of such products in an objective manner. It is clear that the Bilibo is not your typical toy and that it doesn’t actually resemble anything. But this is basically the idea of having to use one’s imagination. Give a child a very simple object. If he or she can make something out of it or even use it for a different purpose, then imagination is at work. If, however, the child simply isn’t interested because it is so simple, then he or she is simply not using his or her imagination. What the child wants are toys that do not require imagination. Again, this is not in defense of the product of Moluk but rather an expression of our understanding of child development.
Why Bilibo and Similarly-Designed Toys are Better for Kids
It is fairly obvious that there will be individuals who don’t think of the Bilibo or any other similarly-designed toy as particularly helpful in advancing the development of kids as young as two years of age. We just would like to reiterate the stance of leading childhood development experts in the use of simple toys as a means to stimulate imagination among children. Here are some of the reasons why Bilibo and similarly-designed toys are better for kids.
- Engages young kids in physical activities for optimum physical development – The unique design of the Bilibo allows for tons of fun. The good thing is that it can be used both for indoor and outdoor activities. And because the Bilibo is predicated on the use of kid’s imagination, the more active the imagination is, the more physically engaging it becomes. This helps address the growing concern on the sedentary lifestyles of modern kids. By encouraging them to be as creative as they can be in the use of the Moluk half shell, they will be using their muscles and improving the overall efficiency of oxygen delivery, both requirements for optimum physical development.
- Encourages the use of kids’ imaginative abilities – Contrary to what many people believe, simple things can provide the most stimulation to use one’s imagination. This has been proven time and time again not only by renowned child development experts and by researches but also by ordinary parents. It should be made clear that “imagination” in this sense is the ability to create mental images from something so ordinary and so simple as a Bilibo half shell. The point is when the brain has to work hard thinking about how to use the Bilibo or even what to make of it, it already constitutes imagining. It should be understood that the word imagination comes from “image” which is technically the formation of images in the brain. That said, the Bilibo can actually stimulate the brain to create a variety of mental images that concern the perceived use of the toy. This is imagination in its purest form.
- Supports creative story-telling and role-playing activities – Because the Bilibo’s usefulness is predicated on the ability of children to imagine things, roles, and circumstances, this Moluk product can be a great instrument in creative story-telling or even as props in role-playing activities. Again, everything hinges on the ability of kids to imagine. Role playing has been dubbed as a critical activity for kids to act out their worlds or their perceptions of how the world should operate. It thus, reflects their view of the world. And when kids tell stories it talks essentially about the complex cognitive processes occurring inside the brain. All of these are supported by teMolukBilibo system.
- Fosters social relationships – Since the Bilibo is essentially a multifunction tool for kids’ playtime activities, it becomes a critical instrument for their social development. When they engage in role-playing activities, they essentially lay out the rules for cooperation and teamwork which is also predicated on excellent communication. This helps foster more positive social relationships.
The Bottom Line
The Bilibo may only be a colorful half shell but it is this simplicity that allows it to work its wonder. By keeping the design as simple yet functional as possible, kids will be enticed to use their brains to come up with ways to enjoy playing with it. This is the very essence of imaginative play.