KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – With mounting public pressure calling for closer scrutiny of children’s toys, the Malaysian market has been left with a gaping hole for quality products. From organic produce to ‘natural’ toys and teethers, it’s a market niche that is fast becoming a booming industry thanks to demand from informed parents.
While non-toxic crayons are the norm, what ChubbyFingersPlay offers isn’t. We sat down with founder, Yvonne Kong, to discuss just what it is that puts her crayon creations one notch above the rest.
With a background in IT, Kong never dreamed she would one day be selling some of the best crayons on the market. With two daughters of her own, it’s a project that’s close to her heart.
Referring to her daughters, “They are actually my inspiration and my muse. So actually from the shapes and the design to the colours, I just observe; because kids are natural, they don’t lie.”
And therein lies just why her crayons are in such demand – she market tests products right in her own home, with actual children. The entire idea behind the line stems from her own experience as a mother.
How many times have your children thrown perfectly good crayons away because they had snapped in half? This was a common issue in Kong’s own home, and a Eureka! moment in the middle of the night gave her the inspiration she needed to create a more durable crayon design.
ChubbyFingersPlay began as a DIY project using old, broken crayons. Sorting them into moulds and baking them, Kong found that she could make the humble stick of colour so much more robust and exciting for her children.
While ChubbyFingersPlay also produce regular crayons, Kong prides herself on the company’s natural line that’s made of beeswax. Beyond the non-toxic element, beeswax crayons are perfectly safe; which means that your little one can start out with them earlier in life.
The worry with young babies using crayons is that they will eat them, or get them stuck in their ear or nose. Under supervision, and with ChubbyFingersPlay, these risks are minimised. The packaging of these crayons advise that they’re for toddlers a year and up, but Kong recommends that you introduce your babies to them as soon as they can sit up on their own.
Crayons go far beyond the simple act of getting colour onto paper. There is a process that adults often overlook, where crayons can aid in the development of motor skills and the understanding of cause-and-effect in early childhood.
“They’ve got to look at it as beyond just a crayon.”
“Starting from a toddler, from learning how to hold a simple crayon, understanding what this crayon could do. That actually there’s an effect when you draw those colours,” explains Kong.
“And they will learn about colours, they’ll learn about mixing colours. They learn movement. And of course, because it’s novelty, there are designs.”
What’s interesting is that the novelty of the designs help make these crayons a more multipurpose learning tool. She elaborates, “So, for example, in my Summerfields [range], there’s the butterfly. And you can always build a story around the butterfly – how to make friends with the bees, why does the bee like flowers, you know.”
With her own children, Kong saw how they blossomed through exposure to crayons at a young age. Even between her children, she sees a vast difference. She exposed her younger daughter to them as soon as the baby could sit, and has noticed that her motor skills are more developed than her older daughter who only began to experience crayons at the age of eight months old.
While the results may not be immediate, they will be apparent, “You will see how they learn to hold a pencil. That’s when you think back at the journey they started, and you realise it. And when you compare your child to another child who has not been exposed, you will see why there’s a delay in their motor skills development.”
“There’s so much development, so much of goodness in it.”
She reiterates often that young babies should not be left unsupervised with the crayons. That is not to say that you should pigeonhole what they do with it, “The things that come out of them when you don’t dictate is unexpected. As an adult you would never come up with art like this because we are so set in the way we think.”
Since preventing a teething child from shoving one of these brightly-coloured beauties into their mouth will be near impossible, the fact that these crayons are made primarily from beeswax makes them play safe for young ones. So, should your child ingest a ChubbyFingersPlay crayon (barring the choking hazard), it really does help to know that your child will be perfectly fine. Supervision is still key, but this is certainly a product feature that will give you greater peace of mind. – The Binge
ChubbyFingersPlay will be at BSC’s Seek and Keep from the 14th-16th of April, 2017.