A unique project has resulted in the first interactive, didactic toys for kids inspired by Croatian heritage being produced.
HAI (Hrvatske autentične igračke) or Croatian authentic toys, is a project which was conceived to design interactive, didactic toys inspired by Croatian heritage and bring Croatia’s rich cultural heritage closer to the children of preschool age.
HAI, a collaboration between the design studio and Povucizakulturu association, has resulted in 30 prototypes being made with four toys inspired by Croatian heritage produced for sale.
Zvutka – inspired by Croatian folk costumes and dances.
Pagus – inspired by Pag’s lacemaking history.
Čičulin – inspired by old times when Croatian families traditionally decorated bread for Christmas at home.
Znatiželjna nit – inspired by knitting, this toy allows kids to knit in 3D.
Didactic materials are designed for pre-schoolers and young children with an aim to develop skills that are essential to growth, as well as to explore Croatian heritage through the act of play. The importance of play is unquestionable throughout our entire life, but it is especially important in the early age when it is an essential tool to acquire knowledge and skills important for building identity and social awareness,” Tanja Tandara from the Povucizakulturu association explains, before adding.
“We often see play as an act contrary to work, although it contains most of the same elements: motivation, orientation, interaction, and reward – in a sense of enjoyment that derives from doing what we love. We can conclude that playing is as serious and responsible as work, especially considering that through play children develop in all aspects, as integral beings.”
Tandara says that by researching the existing market of toys helped them define new criteria to stimulate the development of new values and experiences of play, mainly by encouraging self-esteem, inventiveness, and creativity.
“In so doing we tried to avoid instant solutions, and ‘completeness’ of products and the designed collection of toys interprets different values of heritages such as mythology, life habits of our ancestors, embroidery and stitching techniques, and values that stem from our relationship to nature.”
“By designing original products following proposed criteria we tried to subtly intrigue children to explore our rich heritage, but the true values will be discovered through the interaction of play. Thus children will be able to spontaneously acquire knowledge, skills, and values such as honesty, trust, creative communication, problem-solving, and skills that will make them more self-assured, motivated, they will learn how to collaborate, share, win and lose.”
If you are interested in ordering any of the toys, you can contact Tanja via email at: [email protected]