From 26th to 28th, March, 2019, a group of Japanese faculty from Tokyo Gakugei University paid a visit to Hape China, bringing lots of new creative ideas for Flexistix. The group comprised Professor Etsuroh Tetsuya (president of Children Institute for the Future in Tokyo Gakugei University), and 7 of his university students. Professor Tetsuya is a famous art educator researching play art and exploring children’s natural creativity.
The first day, Professor Tetsuya came to visit Hape Group in Ningbo and did an introduction presentation to all attendees. He presented a lot of new Flexistix shapes and also shared stories of some excellent play events created by his team in Japan, which explore new experiences with daily material such as mirrors, sunshine, newspapers, etc. Professor Tetsuya believes Flexistix acts as an essential bond as well as a toy to help children communicate and collaborate with each other and even with different generations. Inspired by him, Peter Handstein (the Founder and CEO of Hape Group) also delivered his view; “Perfect design is to provide solutions to customers’ needs. And toys should never be finished, the last page of a toy’s guidance book should be your own creation by imagination.” Flexistix is the exact toy to help explore the imagination and creativity of children.
A strong curiosity and intense interest prompted the group to visit the Hape Bamboo Research Center. Professor Tetsuya and his students had an in depth tour of the traditional hand-made production process of bamboo products. The artisan showed his exquisite technique, which really caught the attention and impressed all. Within a few minutes, a simple piece of bamboo was made into an exquisite bracelet. It was an interesting fusion of Chinese and Japanese craftsmanship.
As everybody knows, bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. Made from bamboo, Flexistix is an environmentally-friendly toy which has garnered numerous children’s appreciation. As a toy manufacturer that produces the highest standard of developmental green toys for children, Hape is and will continue to lay emphasis on bamboo-made sustainable products.
Another highlight is the building event in the Access International Academy Ningbo (AIAN). With a large box of Flexistix sticks and joints, their plan was to have an interactive event with children at school. The event consisted of two parts, namely, the bamboo sticks event and the newspaper sticks event. Professor Tetsuya and his students played together with children in AIAN with both Flexistix and newspaper sticks. They got to see how sticks and paper can be used to construct different shapes. Children really got into the activities and had fun, while we saw the imagination from the expressions on their faces. In the end, all participants were proud of their creations and there was a fantastic sense of achievement.
Flexistix, as a STEAM toy made from sustainable bamboo, has really anchored itself between education and play fun for children. Furthermore, it is a successful cooperation between university and enterprise, aimed at improving the quality and play fun value of our STEAM toys after absorbing children’s ideas. In addition, it serves as the bond of communication between Chinese and Japanese cultures.