At Natural Pod we design more than furniture, we design experiences for children. Experiences that foster engagement with and connection to nature, that encourage the development of the whole-child and integrate key learning skills. These play experiences not only happen in child care facilities, schools or at home, but also in community spaces such as libraries and markets.
We are excited to be working with the team at River Market on their new children’s play space. The team at River Market, have revitalized a public market without becoming your typical “mall.” They have a wonderful incredible vision called FOOD 360, not only are they are a market, they have edible gardens, provide organic food, and have engaging food festivals. They are becoming known as a gathering place for cultural activities, all organized around food. It is truly a creative and vibrant community hub and absolutely worth the visit.
When you think of play areas in malls and markets, most of them appear uninspired and unimaginative. We want to create a unique approach that engages children and parents to explore play together. Some of the initial ideas we talked about include have nothing literal, but incorporating items around food and musical play (potentially even a stage!).
This is a community space, to be enjoyed by all, and we would love to hear your inspiring ideas and thoughts.
Here is a photo of their existing space:
Kaspar’s blocks are from a fabulous Canadian company, Natural Pod. They’re made of locally sourced wood, with a beeswax finish. (They smell yummy, too.) Kaspar usually builds block towers (and… “libraries”?) while I cook dinner in the evenings. I used to let him watch an episode of Thomas at that time so I could actually get dinner made – he starts to get tired, hungry and thus cranky around 5:30, which can translate to a lot of fussing and not much cooking happening – but that turned into a bad habit, for both of us. So instead of staring at a screen, Kaspar now zens out with his blocks, contentedly honing his fine motor skills (to him it’s just playing), and beaming with pride when I look over the half-divider-wall-thing between our kitchen and living room to admire his creations. Read the full story on parenting.com
When Bridgitte Alomes moved to Vancouver from Australia about 12 years ago, she began a thriving career developing marketing strategy software for various global corporations.
At one point, she was the youngest director and the only female on a corporate team. “That was interesting,” she said with a laugh.
“Being a decision-maker in a male-dominated industry was definitely difficult.” However, she said, it provided her with an incredible amount of learning and strengthened her as a human being, preparing her to join the growing ranks of female entrepreneurs who are leaving the corporate trenches to strike out on their own.
In 2006, she veered off in a brand new direction, co-founding Natural Pod, which designs natural play spaces, furniture and toys suitable for child-care centres, preschools, kindergartens, community centres and children’s hospices.
Read the full story on vancouversun.com
We love to encourage children to use tables, chairs, benches for creative fort, playhouse building etc. The possibilities are endless and we want to share this joy with you. We’re giving away a set of four play clips to our 3000th fan on Facebook and at the same time, we’re giving away a couple of sets to a fans randomly drawn from all our existing fans. If you’re not a fan of Natural Pod on Facebook, connect with us now. It’s that simple. If you’re already a fan, you’re automatically entered to win.
We’re working extra hard this holiday season to make sure you and family are able to enjoy natural play for the holidays. Our shipping and fulfilment team are working 7 days a week to serve you and your community to make sure toys that you order are delivered on time for your holiday festivities. But there are deadlines we want to make sure you’re aware of before ordering. If you want to receive orders for the holidays. Here are the deadlines for online ordering:
Delivery in Canada - Order by end of the day Wednesday, December 12th.
Delivery in the United States - Order by end of the day Wednesday, December 5th.
And of course, shipping is free for orders over $75 for our customers in Canada.
Erica Fiendell, one of our Account Managers at Natural Pod recently attended The Wonder of Learning Exhibition and brought home these reflections from her time there about the wonder of natural play.
In our world of instant gratification and often wasteful consumerism, it can be a little hard to get outside of the need to ‘get more stuff’. Indeed, as a parent, one major challenge I had to face as a new mum was the habit of over-researching and feeling guilty if I wasn’t following the directives for helping my baby meet her development milestones. I had to almost force myself to toss out the books, ignore the noisy, light-up toys, and trust my instincts.
This was what spoke to me most about the Wonder of Learning exhibition. Remember when we were kids? Remember exploring outdoors for hours? I remember bringing home beautiful rocks and shells, lovingly collected for my secret stash of precious objects. I remember gathering fall leaves and making collages. I remember what it was like to explore, discover and be fascinated.
It can be so simple to provide children with the tools they need to discover themselves, and the world around them. Children are wonderfully intuitive, adventurous and confident. The Wonder of Learning exhibition illustrated this for me in such a marvelous way – by simply providing children with a problem to solve or a medium to explore on their own or collaboratively, you allow them to take responsibility for their goals, to make their own wonderful discoveries, and to form their own conclusions.
After all, in a world saturated with information, a little wonder is really what we need,
Erica Fiendell - Natural Play Account Manager
Natural Pod | Inspiring natural play spaces, furniture and toys for children.
Pick up your copy of this season’s Eco-parent magazine. We’re a proud advertiser in this great Canadian Magazine. Copies on newstands now in your favourite eco-stores across Canada.
EcoParent is Canada’s only national print magazine catering specifically to eco-curious and eco-savvy parents. Each issue covers topics ranging from sustainable fashion to parenting, from food to eco-travel, books, health and much, much more! They’re new. They’re independent. They want to make a difference.
Their mission: To inform and inspire with ideas that will help you to make positive changes for your family and your community. To support you as an engaged & conscious parent (or grand-parent!) in raising children for whom social responsibility and environmental stewardship are a given.
Want to see what they’re all about? Their complete 80 page Fall 2012 education themed issue is available for preview here. And we’ve created a 20% discount subscription code for Natural Pod customers. Just type “naturalpod” into the coupon code field of their online subscription page to get your discount (expires Dec. 1/2012).
Entrepreneur Bridgitte Alomes says what the world really needs more of is creative thinkers, which is why her company is focusing on engaging children during their critical developmental years.
Called Natural Pod, the Vancouver Island company designs and builds furniture and toys that support creative and imaginative open-ended play.
Its preschool community tables, for example, are reinforced to become stages. Their benches replace traditional chairs, which can be shifted and turned into any structure children can imagine, from boats to railway tracks.
“We look at things to be open ended and have multiple possibilities,” explains Bridgitte, Natural Pod’s CEO. “When you think of a piece of furniture, the core thing we always ask ourselves is ‘what else can this be?’ ”
Natural Pod’s products aim to inspire natural play spaces through its products. They question what more children can do with their products, whether that be build with them, stand on them or attach things to them.
Read the full story on axiomnews.ca
As an educator, you may be wondering how to transform your classroom or play space into an enchanting learning environment that children love. Studies show that children of all ages benefit from natural play. As an educator, you are in an exciting position. You have the ability to introduce your students to the wonders of natural play and see them thrive. We’ve put together this free downloadable guide to inspire you and to help you bring natural play into your classroom and childcare spaces.
Download Your Free Natural Play Guide for Educators
Have you ever read the book Not a Box by Antoinette Portis? My students love that book. I think because it is funny, repetitive, and something that they can relate to. I love that book too. I love it because I think it teaches my students that a box (or stick, rock, cone, piece of string or paper, etc., etc.) can be used as just about anything that they can imagine. I love that it encourages and celebrates creativity and ingenuity, problem solving, self regulation, self expression, etc., etc.
We have had a LOT of boxes in my classroom. During the last school year they had been rocket ships, cars, boats, zombie castles, animal crates, jails, houses, guitars, gifts, hockey arenas and soccer fields, and once the head of a dragon. There were clearly no limits in my classroom as to the ways in which materials could be used or manipulated in the pursuit of the expression of an idea or in play. The furniture was no exception.
We had a beautiful table and set of benches visit our classroom for a while. The children were very drawn to them, maybe because they were beautiful or perhaps because, if they all squished in and added chairs to the ends, every child in the class could fit at it. It was wonderful to see how it enhanced the feeling of community in my classroom (as well as the beauty). I also marveled at the other, less conventional ways that my students used them.
The table was used as a stage, runway for a fashion show, fort, jail, animal kennel, art studio, kitchen, restaurant, etc. The benches were also used in many ways. Although the chairs in my classroom had been incorporated into play in the past, the benches added a whole new dimension. They became a bridge, bus seats, an ambulance, a stretcher, the patient chair in a dentists’ office, the back bed of a pickup truck, and a platform for building with both blocks and trains. Once a bench was even transformed into the log ride from Playland (with wavy blue cardboard once used to pack pears taped on to be the water) and used to test how different materials (blocks, water bottles, cars, etc.) rode down the ride (and how far they could shoot off the end of the bench).
I think these children are brilliant. I also think that they help me see the world in a new way, and I am ever thankful for that. A box is not just a box and a table is not just a table. I am proud to be part of a classroom where children are free to imagine and explore and so thankful to have the open ended materials, from boxes and sticks, to tables and benches, that they need to take their play to these thoughtful, inspiring places.