What makes a perfect toy? Toys can serve different functions in a child's life, and each function probably has its own standard of perfection. For infant toys, things get much simpler. I would propose that the perfect infant toy meet the following criteria:
- It exists to be held, fiddled with, and mouthed.
- It is decorated to be examined at close range but comprehended from a distance.
- It is joyful.
- It is quietly noisy, providing aural stimulation for the user and pleasant background noise for others nearby.
- It is small.
- Its price reflects its value, and it is inexpensive in that it poses a gentle but effective argument for simplicity.
- It is designed for the future; that is, it is made of safe and sustainable materials, and durable enough that, combined with the other above qualities, it insists on being passed on to another child, not discarded, after use.
- It makes adults as well as babies smile.
- There is something inexplicable about it.
Moby is made of wooden discs and beads on a cord, with hemispherical tail and head segments. It costs about $10. Here, that inexplicable criteria is met in small, subtle design choices: the bright yet slightly washy paints that allow the wood grain to show through, and the balance between color and wood left in its natural state; the neatly carved and painted eyes, and the straight slot mouth that forms an illusory smile when viewed from the proper angle; the balance and tension of parts that allows it to hold any curve but fall out of it with a nudge, and to balance on the flat bottom of its tail.
Haba makes many lovely infant clutching toys out of wood, rope, and fabric. Many of them meet most of the criteria above. This one is perfect.
We're giving away a Moby clutching toy to a ZRecs reader.
- No purchase necessary.
- One entry per per person.
- The deadline for this giveaway is 5 p.m. CST April 17, 2008.
- Include your email address if you don't mind it remaining on this post indefinitely. We'll post the winner's name to PRIZEYWinners on Friday, along with the names of three alternates, and contact any of them who chose to leave an email address. All four should email us at the provided address as soon as they see the announcement or receive the email.
- If the winner does send us their mailing address by 5 p.m. CST Monday, April 21, the prize will be awarded to the first alternate that provided this information.