If you choose your toys wisely, you would go for quality toys that give you plenty of play time with pretend play. Pretend play is important as it promotes cognitive, language and social development. It also helps the children to be more creative as they role-play.
If that sounds like your philosophy, you might like Apples & Fox toys which are irresistible (and therefore high in demand!). We speak to Apples & Fox founders Selina and Lynn to find out more about what Apples & Fox does and how it was fuelled by the pandemic.
Could you share with us the story behind Apples and Fox?
Apples and Fox was started by the two of us, Selina and Lynn. We’ve been friends since Secondary School, which was ages ago, and we both lived in Perth for a while.
Since moving back to Singapore, I (Selina) would make annual trips back to visit friends, and stock up on toys for my daughters. And as we all know, the pandemic has resulted in zero leisure travel.
One day, I was complaining to Lynn about the lack of affordable, yet good quality, toys in Singapore, and how I really missed the ones in Australia. Somehow, the conversation evolved, and we figured that since we can’t go to Australia to shop, we should be the ones to bring the toys to Singapore. And here we are.
Little Day Out’s Interview with Apples & Fox
What kind of play should parents encourage in children?
At Apples & Fox, we firmly believe that play is so important to a child’s learning and development, especially pretend play.
Pretend play allows children to explore the world safely, and helps the development of various domains. Through pretend play, children can work out something scary or confusing that they’ve just seen in real life. For example, going to the doctor or dentist. By roleplaying, children can become more comfortable and prepared for these events in a safe way.
At the same time, pretend play requires complex social and higher order thinking skills. They learn to negotiate with others, to take turns, to consider others’ perspectives, and develop a plan and execute it.
In addition, they’re developing their language skills as they communicate with others during play. Pretend play also provides children with a chance to develop their creative thinking abilities as they substitute objects to represent other objects, and create their own play worlds, either by themselves or with others.
Our toys are thus chosen to encourage pretend play and creativity. Art and drawing is another great way to develop creativity, and this is why we also carry Tinta Crayons, which are handmade beeswax crayons.
To further inspire creativity, the crayons come in various themes, such as dinosaurs, unicorns, and even pirates. They contain no nasties, so parents can be assured that their child is safe, even if they take a bite of the crayons. (Not that we recommend eating the crayons.)
Can you share some tips on how parents can encourage pretend play?
Here are some tips for parents:
- Parents can help by asking their child to talk about their drawings. Rather than just say “oh that’s nice”, you might want to ask them to “tell me about what just you drew.” Ask them questions, get them to elaborate on their drawing.
- Parents can encourage pretend play by inviting their little ones to recreate a favourite story, or an event that might have just happened. Recreate a doctor’s visit, and take turns with their little one to be the doctor. Parents can even play the helpful nurse as their child sees to a sick doll. Keep it simple – pretend play doesn’t have to be elaborate. Children love repetition, and learn from it. Especially for younger kids, invitation to play could be as simple as asking your child for a cup of tea and a slice of cake. For older kids, it might be to have a picnic, or a tea party.
- Most importantly, be in the play with the little ones and let them take the lead. Parents can ask questions like “oh what should we do next?”, “what’s wrong with Teddy?” My daughter will decide on a storyline before the play, and I am to follow it (but with embellishment, of course). Parents can also use the scenario as an opportunity to reassure children of scary situations, if applicable. Extend the conversation, and parents will get an insight into what goes on in their little ones’ heads. And it really can be so entertaining.
Which are Apples & Fox’s most popular toy sets?
The wooden work from home set has been wildly popular. With everyone working from home, I think it’s great that little ones have their own little set just like mummy and daddy. The screens of the laptop and mobile phone in the work from set are actually chalkboard, so little ones can draw on them. It’s definitely one of my favourites!
The dim sum set, and wooden tea set are also very popular. We designed an exclusive Apples & Fox menu for the dim sum set, so that the little ones can learn the various dim sum items, extend the play and take orders from their parents. My daughters love dim sum, and they’ve really enjoyed playing restaurant with this set.
And really, who doesn’t love a good tea party? My daughters use their wooden tea set on a daily basis, which is testament to its quality and durability. The tea set comes with a tray that has been used in countless ways – from serving food, to being used as a tray for the doctor to lay out her tools before seeing a sick patient. When we let our children take control of their play, the possibilities are endless!
What is your activity of choice with the family on a little day out?
We like getting my daughters out of the house and to the playground. Any playground. It expends their energy, and my daughter likes making new friends at the playground.
We also try to visit the zoo every couple of months. The Singapore Zoo is great! We decide which few animals we want to see, and plan our route. If possible, we will book a feeding session. It’s a shame that the wet play area is closed, otherwise that’s always a fun activity to end the visit.
Check Out Apples & Fox for Great Toys
Thank you, Selina and Lynn! Browse the Apples & Fox website here for their range of toys.
Part of the proceeds also go towards supporting Playeum. Support children’s play with every purchase.