This week, my new friend Jessica from Mama May i is joining in the fun here at KID independent with her beautiful range of handmade learning toys. Jessica is inspired by the Montessori and Waldorf teaching methodologies and her products are imaginative, natural, and good old fashioned fun. Check out our review below.
As a mum in the modern technology age, I must admit that I’m constantly reminding myself to switch of the computer, put away the iPad, and turn off my phone. It’s so easy to get swept up in screens, losing hours out of your day. Trying out these Mama May i products with the little people in my life this week, and seeing the looks of concentration and smiles of achievement on their faces, was a timely reminder of the joy of simple, creative toys.
The Mama May i products are created with wood, painted with a soy-based, water-colour wash, and lightly coated with beeswax and jojoba oil. We tried out the Pocket Place, Make a Match, and (my favourite) the Coloured Cups and Balls Playset. The kids engaged well with each activity and happily chatted away while exploring alternative ways to work with each set. It was such as pleasure seeing them excitedly improving their skills with ongoing practice (such as enhancing fine motor skills and learning about colours, numbers, and matching… to name just a few).
It’s clear to see the fun learning experiences that these toys bring in to the household, but the connection between parent and child is something so precious… it was my favourite part of this review.
The verdict… simple, creative, and so much fun.
Jessica’s story starts a long time ago, with a creative spark that grew over many years.
“I’ve been a Mama-soul, educator, and designer as long as I can remember. Since I was a wee one. I graduated from Drexel University with degrees in Psychology and Studies of Media Art and Design. I taught Art-on-a-Cart at local schools during my university years and took as many developmental psychology and learning classes as I could…”
Learning and through play were somehow etched in my heart from a very young age. My partner and I began our family soon after I graduated. It was my goal to stay home with my children some day. While my little one napped and slept, I tinkered with ways to connect through play with her. It wasn’t long before my amazingly supportive family and friends told me I should sell my creations. Not knowing the future of this notion, I would spend my free time taking photos, writing descriptions, and creating a look to my work. Before I knew it, I had my first sale and Mama May I was born.
I was incredibly excited to see there was a need for simple, beautiful, hand crafted learning toys and that I could create a space for loved ones to explore ways to connect through play with their little ones. As my daughter and family grew, so did my product line. My children inspire my creations – and they are the cutest little product-testers!”
Jessica is a mum of three, Layla (7.5). Lillian (4) and Lincoln (2). She draws her inspiration from the world around her, and says, “Not a day that goes by that I am not inspired by my life. Seeing things from my children’s perspective. Catching the beauty in a shadow, reflection, cloudy sky, starry night, a butterfly’s dance…”
“Our every day adventures excite and inspire me to learn with my little ones through exploration – to connect through play. My children inspire me to make/create/do. If there is a skill I want to teach them or reinforce I try to come up with a way to “play with the idea”. I try to think of practicality, simplicity, open-endedness, durability, skill-building, learning-experience when I come up with new ideas. I jot them down, prototype them, play with them, tweak them if needed, and take them to market”.
Here’s a few fun facts about Jessica, in her own words:
I am a homeschooling (unschooling) Mama! It can be a challenge to juggle all the things and it may not be forever (we reevaluate every year!), but for right now this is the perfect learning environment for our little ones. I am humbled and overjoyed to be such a big part of the learning journey.
I love photos, graphics, quotes, the perfect font, and magazine clippings. I used to write poetry from magazine clips and phrases when I was in high school and I had magnetic words strewn all around my bedroom walls when I was in school (on cookie sheets I turned into magnetic word boards!)
I am currently learning to take time out for me and nurture myself…and remember all the little things that have always enkindled a sense of joy within. For a few years I felt lost in my Mama-journey…like that was one of the only roles I was playing. It is beautiful and I love that role but there is so much more to me a I’m enjoying the path to self rediscovery after some very chaotic years.
I have been breastfeeding now for 7.5 years without a break in between (I am reminded as I look down at my 3rd nursling!)
The Mama Mayi range features bright, lively colours with bold crisp graphics, and is designed to provide a texturally diverse and sensorial experience. You can view the full range here, or visit Jessica on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for all the latest news.
*Note: KID independent was provided with complimentary Mama May i products to try. This review represents our personal opinion. We think these products are genuinely lovely.