Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |  Volume 6, Issue 36, Tuesday, September 13, 2011




Baby's eyes. Have you ever stopped to wonder how much curiosity they hold? Baby's eyes; fascinated, mesmerised, inquiring. A pair of a baby's eyes reflects the passion and keenness with which they look to the world around them.

This keenness and fascination towards everything is probably a reason which makes babies and toddlers such eager learners. And learning is vital; your child's learning starts at age zero.

Woody, a toy company in Bangladesh, facilitates that to a huge degree. The company manufactures and sells wooden toys that are not only fun to play with, but have immense learning value too.

The primary ages of one's life is important for developing some of the most basic skills, without which leading a life would be difficult. Once we learn them, we may never stop to appreciate these tiny gifts that make simple things -- like walking and cycling -- doable.

Woody toys help a baby learn 'simple' tasks. These tasks require skills such as hand-eye coordination and motor skills, and these skills, acquired while playing with toys, make the learning process fun and easy (and hence Woody's slogan goes “the fun approach to learning”).

But how? Kawser Hassan, the founder of Woody, an engineer with a passion for carpentry, seemed to browse around his office to find the answer. And in a moment he came up with Woodpecker in Motion, a toy that was sitting on his desk.

The toy had a vertical pole to which a woodpecker was attached. If you release the woodpecker from the top, it pecks its way down to the bottom, owing to some interesting spring-work and simple mechanics. Kawser smiled.

“This toy has positive implications for a toddler that many grown-ups may not even realise. It teaches a toddler about the science of motion, helps in cognitive as well as motor skills development,” he informed.

Put very simply and broadly, motor skills are skills that enable movement of the body (e.g. you'll need motor skills to walk or crawl). Woody also offers a bunch of push along/pull along toys that teach such skills.

Bilbo Catcher is yet another interesting toy, comprising of a stick with a cup on one end and a ball attached by a string that hangs from the stick. The challenge is to toss that ball into the cup on the stick. Not an easy thing to do! This play, apart from teaching motor skills, also helps the child smoothen hand-eye coordination.

Not just hand-eye coordination and motor skills, Woody toys also allow your child to be creative and imaginative. The nature of the toys is such that it gives the child freedom to invent and discover. Most of these toys have multiple uses and there are numerous ways of playing with them.

For example, a Flexi Twistable Car has its parts built so flexibly that you can bend it all around and make several models of the car.

Woody is a social business -- the proceeds go to the funding of social development initiatives. The toys are fairly and reasonably priced. You can get them at Panjeri Book Superstore in Shantinagar, the showrooms of Nagordola, Kumudini, Jatra and various other stores.

The company uses recycled wood and hazard-free, non-toxic paints in their toys so that it's totally safe for the children.

By M H Haider
Photo courtesy: Woody


Tea for two

Moyuri is a shop my family members, like my aunts, and old friends always speak of where one can get various essentials from frozen food to perfumes, wrist-watches, tea-sets and what have you. For my guests I get the shingaras and kebabs from the frozen section, which caters to vegetarians as well as meat lovers. The prices are reasonable and the items have always been fresh so far. Their selection of pickles or chutney ranges from mangoes to olives.

Imported coffee and tea like Earl Grey and Maxwell, as well as fancy French and U.S. brands are to be found here. Ladies' wrist-watches and delicately painted tea-sets for gift items for marriages or birthdays are also available.

Cutlery of various shapes, sizes and brands are there too. They have different floral and geometrical motifs and are bound to beckon one and please the buyer in a quick rush. The working woman is always in a tearing rush today. This is to get a good bargain with mad spiralling prices that boggle the shopper of the 21st century. Even on weekends, there are other essential chores to be done.

This is despite helping hands -- who can't always be expected to be at your beck and call -- as they were some decades back. Yes, the Eid bonus is there. But they cannot keep up with the mind-boggling spiralling of prices. Overseas, in places like the U.S. or in cities of Europe, or even in Aussie land holidays like Christmas are associated with widespread sales encouraging people to splurge on gifts.

But in South Asian countries, especially in our precious sub-continent, we only see the escalation of prices. Yes, those who earn money willy-nilly, or are rich enough to shop at Bangkok, Singapore or Indian malls; or have saved wisely in stocks and shares; or have family income from benevolent ancestors; or some flourishing business -- do not have to get blue at the gills at the thought of yet another festival to face bravely.

Even with aching feet and suffering back, snacks for the occasion must be made, and proper gifts for the favourite aunt must be had. Of course there are gift shops galore in the city but at Moyuri, one can get the inviting brand of tea or chocolates, which cousins and uncles can't resist. Toiletries like imported Yardley, Boots, Marks and Spencer soaps, colognes or fancy talcum powder are here for the taking.

Even dainty china and cut-glass curios, cheese, ready and rolled out dough -- for pizzas and singaras to be made at home, with yummy, grated cheese and flecks of minced meat and thinly sliced season's tomatoes, and shelled-peas from the freezer are there for your asking. Bags of rice, pulses, fresh ginger, garlic and onion are there to be yanked back -- with some help from the shop assistants.

Yes, Moyuri sure is a dependable outlet for the budgeting buyer.

By Fayza Haq


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