Hi, I'm Eric. I am married to Gena, BUMBY's awesome founder. Gena and I love literature, and we especially enjoy the writing of Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway was a flawed individual, but he was also a loving father to his son John Hadley Nicanor Hemingway. Ernest thought John looked so much like a plump teddy-bear that he gave his son the moniker Bumby.
Bumby was quite the man, even in comparison to his literary legend father. He loved the outdoors and fishing in particular, and he gave Ernest credit for fostering that love in him. Bumby wrote "I know he wanted me to love fishing and hunting, and I believe that he deliberately set about to make me want to do it on my own initiative. Tennis parents and stage mothers should take note. The kid has got to want to do it, not just to please the parent, but for himself [my emphasis].''
So, that's Bumby - a plump teddy-bear that inspired us to name a service for all your lovely little cubs.
For the latest post in Bumby Blog’s Creators Series, we spoke with Eza Borchardt, the woman behind our favorite natural paint and non-toxic art supply company: Le Petit Matisse.
Some of you may have already had the pleasure of discovering Le Petit Matisse’s beautiful paints and expertly crafted brushes in your Bumby Box.
But for those of you unfamiliar with the company, Le Petit Matisse produces non-toxic paints and art supplies that allow your child to safely explore their inner artist.
Eza (who has nearly 20 years experience in childcare and early childhood development) shared with us what inspired her to create Le Petit Matisse, as well as practical tips on how parents can interact with their children through art.
Q. What inspired you to create Le Petit Matisse?
A. My oldest son, who was born at only 26 weeks. I've always believed that art greatly helps in the overall development during early childhood, so I wanted to help him to get caught up developmentally as soon as possible. However, because of his prematurity, I was very careful about exposing him to synthetic & possibly toxic substances. Unable to find any art supplies in the market that were safe to use with little ones, and yet performed well (just in case he created a masterpiece at 12 months), I decided to create my own. It took over four years to come up with the formulations as it is today!
Q. How did you come up with such an adorable name?
A. I LOVE France & Henri Matisse. So much so that I named my son Andre' Matisse (the name also means "Gift of God", which I found quite fitting given the circumstances of his birth). Le Petit Matisse means The Little Matisse, and the little guy in our logo is also my son :-)
Q. What place does art hold in your life?
A. A huge chunk! I grew up surrounded by it. Not just fine art, but folk art, regional art, music, dance. These are all amazing art forms that enable us to express ourselves in ways that words can't.
Q. In what ways have you shared art with your children?
A. Since the closure of our studio in 2015, their exposure has been unfortunately reduced. However, we still have our art books library, and they have art materials openly available to them so they can use as they please. So what if they get a little paint or crayon on the wall? That can always be painted over... but the experience they have at that creative moment is priceless. I also take them occasionally to museums.
Q. What are some ways parents can teach and interact with children through art?
A. I believe that children are not taught art, they are born knowing it. What we adults consider "art" is very different than what kids produce...except abstract art - some works of adult artists out there, I swear could have been done by my toddler!
Parents can interact with children by being there IF they need assistance, and to show how a particular supply or tool is used. However, I encourage parents to allow children to lead their art discovery sessions. At our former studio I always suggested these six points to consider to ensure a pleasant experience for the child:
Q. Do you have a favorite artist or work of art?
A. I like pretty and/or harmonious and colorful things. That's how things look in Brazil, colorful! Some of my favorite artists are Henri Matisse (of course), Miro, Chagall, Kandinsky, Rothko, and so many more.
To learn more, check out Le Petit Matisse's website. You can also find Le Petit Matisse on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
By Isabelle Anne Abraham
With the increasing popularity of online games and devices like iPads, simpler “old-fashioned” toys such as blocks and LEGO® bricks might seem a little underwhelming for kids.
But the fact is that construction play encourages creativity and imagination, and helps to build specific skills such as spatial ability.
Here we take a look at the difference between toy blocks and LEGO bricks, and provide suggestions on how to include each in your child’s regular play schedule.
Toy blocks, also called building blocks or just “blocks,” can be made from different materials such as foam, plastic or wood; and come in various colors, sizes and shapes including square, triangle, cylindrical, etc.
Blocks help young kids to imagine and invent new worlds, which requires a little more creativity from them. When using blocks, you can bring in other materials such as fabrics, figurines, etc. in an open-ended play format. In this way, blocks are mostly unrestrictive and have several benefits:
You can incorporate toy blocks during story time at night, when describing people, architecture and environments that are in the books. In classrooms or kids’ groups, blocks are great for integration into dramatic play. You can also assign children creative projects that involve rewards: ask them to draw/design something on paper first and then build the actual structure with the blocks.
This is one of the most—if not the most—recognized toy brand in the world. LEGO bricks are small, interlocking plastic objects that are durable, engaging and brilliant in color, which make them very attractive to children.
LEGO toys help to develop cognitive skills and fine motor functions such as hand-eye coordination. They are also incredibly enjoyable for parents and teachers, and are entertaining enough to hold the attention of several children at once.
The bricks are a little more restrictive than ordinary blocks because there are a limited number of things that you can build with individuals sets, which are generally arranged according to certain themes and environments (superheroes, famous movies, Western, etc.).They are also usually accompanied by instructions on how to create pre-specified structures.
LEGO bricks are suitable for young ones at various stages of childhood, with product offerings for kids from 0 to 16 years! However, given that they cater to such a wide age range, the ways in which children interact with these toys also vary greatly. The company provides a comprehensive child development resource that specifies LEGO-related activities for different age groups. Here are some examples:
The activities outlined above are general guidelines. If you have certain family traditions, like game night, you can incorporate the blocks and bricks into these. And, if you have your own suggestions for using toy blocks and LEGO bricks in child’s play, let us know in the comments!The activities outlined above are general guidelines. If you have certain family traditions, like game night, you can incorporate the blocks and bricks into these. And, if you have your own suggestions for using toy blocks and LEGO bricks in child’s play, let us know in the comments!