Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hartia Toys, only at Moolka

When I was in elementary school, there was one particular winter where we had a month of snow days. My very smart mother stocked up on paper toys - toys that required us to cut them out and assemble then before we could play. Just setting everything up could take all day.

I'd never seen anything like the things she found. I think she may have bought them in England. But, Hartia Toys Coupicoles ($15.99) are similar.

These award-winning paper toys keep children entertained and busy while they develop imagination, attention, concentration, the ability to follow directions, three-dimensional thinking skills, and fine motor skills.

Couplicoles (from the French verbs "couper" cut, "plie" fold, and "coller" paste) are made in Canada and, in the USA, are sold exclusively at Moolka.

There are eight designs available: Polar Animals, Insects, Tropical Animals, Martial Arts, The Farm, The Ocean, Vegetables and Exotic Birds. Arielle and I tried out Exotic Birds - of course!

Arielle was very excited to see that the kit contained a cockatoo. A blue cockatoo! What a strange coincidence. She was telling me a few days earlier that she is a grown-up bird scientist, she is going to marry a blue cockatoo and have four chicks. Blue cockatoos are just as imaginary as rainbow ones.

Each box contains twelve sheets of figures to cut and assemble. The kit is rated for ages six and up because cutting the figures out does require at least intermediate scissor skills.

They are classified according to the degree of difficulty (on a scale of one to four). Younger children will need the help of an adult and will gain the skills to work independently as they work through the package.

Couplicoles require a ruler, scissors and glue. I found that tape, an exact-o knife, and paper clips were also helpful. I used the paper clips to hold parts in place while the glue dried.

I wasn't sure if Coupicoles would be too hard for Arielle, and, indeed, they were too complex for her pre-school scissor skills. Instead, we decided that I would cut and she would help with the gluing and, of course, the playing.

These do take time - about fifteen minutes each. The birds, because they are made of paper, are delicate; definitely not for toddler sisters. But, Arielle really enjoys them. I think that after she plays a while, they could also be strung up to make a nice mobile for her room. Of course, eventually, they can be recycled.

I'm saving blue cockatoo for last.

What an excellent and educational way to keep older children busy during school closings or summer vacations. Thanks Moolka!

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