Must have travel accessories
By Michelle Rae Uy
Woozy Moo takes discrimination out of playtime. (Courtesy Woozy Moo)
As travelers, we know how tedious long flights or car rides can be for our kids. Toys are an integral part of our family vacations – to our kids, they are distractions from idle moments and for when the adults need some R&R. So why not choose toys that also function as effective learning tools, instruments that can help mold our kids’ young and impressionable minds and become free thinkers in the future?
Finding such toys is easier said than done, however, with big toy companies often dictating what our kids should and shouldn’t play with. And with so many prejudices in the world – whether it’s manufacturers marginalizing what our kids can play with or it’s magazines promoting unattainable so-called role models and TV shows and movies dictating our kids’ identities, we do what we can as parents to not just protect our children from them, but also to raise individuals who are not driven by such biases.
It’s a good thing there are companies out there who are helping parents to create a better future where our kids are free to be their individual selves without judgment. One such company is web-based toy store Woozy Moo, born out of founder Hai Tiet’s frustration with the big players in the toy industry “controlling the fun.” Woozy Moo prides itself in promoting “fun without discrimination,” working on the idea that kids should be able to play with toys that promote independent thinking and do not suppress their identities.
Woozy Moo handpicks every toy it carries on the site, making sure that every single one is eco-friendly, thought provoking, well-built, and, of course, non-discriminatory. On WoozyMoo.com, girls can be superheroes, adventurers and builders, science and learning is cool and very much encouraged, and special needs kids need not be limited during playtime!
MiniTime chatted with Woozy Moo to find out more about what makes them better than their big league competitors.
MiniTime: What’s the idea behind Woozy Moo? How did it come about?
Woozy Moo: The idea of Woozy Moo really came about from our founder Hai Tiet (pronounced “Hi T-eat”) when he was working at the United Nations. Hai was working in the education sector of the UN, so he worked with a lot of kids, teachers, parents, and policymakers. He saw that children at a very young age are put into “boxes,” where they are supposed to think and act a certain way. In addition, he saw that for kids that don’t fit into these “boxes,” there were also very limited opportunities for them. He found out that the toy industry (which you would think should be an innocent industry) is quite marginalizing and reinforces these “boxes.” They make and sell only toys that they think will sell, and they are quite adamant about this. This include pink princess dolls for girls and blue armored trucks for boys. It is very rare that you find good-quality special needs toys out there let alone a toy store that carries eco-friendly toys or toys that empower girls to be leaders. Frustrated, Hai decided that although the UN does excellent work in the policy world, change had to occur during playtime, so Woozy Moo was born.
Girls can be superheroes! (Courtesy Woozy Moo)
MiniTime: What makes Woozy Moo toys different from most toys out there and how can they help our kids in their development?
Woozy Moo: Since our mission is to provide kids playtime without bias or any limitation, we provide only toys that promote a bias-free playtime. You won’t find “girl” or “boy” toys at Woozy Moo. We believe there should be no designation. All Woozy Moo toys either teach kids amazing things, empower them to be fearless and leaders, and/or made of sustainable materials. In addition, we also categorize all toys on our website by themes to help parents pick out the best toys for their little ones. For example, in the “Smart Toys” theme, parents can rest assure that these toys help kids challenge themselves in unconventional ways where normal toys fall short. For example, our Q-Ba marble run toys and Keva brainteaser toys challenge kids to think outside the box to engineer contraptions and structures all while having fun.
MiniTime: How do you decide which toys to carry on your site? Do you have a careful selection process?
Woozy Moo: Here at Woozy Moo, most of us come from a humanitarian background. We all are either educators or social workers, so we all have a background in child development. In turn, we have a careful selection process when curating toys and use a four-step guideline in toy selection, which is listed below:
- Does the toy present any cultural or gender bias that would limit a child’s development?
- Does the toy challenge us to think or learn new things?
- What is the philosophy of the manufacturer? Safe and eco-friendly? Believe in gender equality and equal opportunity for all?
- Is it fun?
MiniTime: What’s next for Woozy Moo?
Woozy Moo: We really believe that kids should be able to grow up in a safe environment that is free from any bias, and our first mission is to tackle down the toy industry and break the boxes that they put kids into. We know we are not alone in this fight as many parents have been really supportive of Woozy Moo and thanking us for taking on this mission. We want to continue the fight in making the world a better place for kids. First toys, but perhaps maybe bias-free books and clothes next!
So go on. Inspire your little girls to take the on adventures in your family travels with fun and fearless toys like Goldie Blox’s fun Zipline Action Figure, encourage them to accept and love their unique personalities with body-positive dolls like Arklu’s Lottie, the Robot Girl, and stimulate their creativity and intellect with easy and fun to assemble science kits like Green Science’s Tin Can Robot. Woozy Moo offers a world of possibilities for your kids and moves them to be greater than society’s expectations of them. There’s no better place to find the perfect toys, whether to take on your family vacations or to play with in the comfort of your own home.
Michelle Rae Uy contributed this to MiniTime. She is a travel writer based in Los Angeles and MiniTime’s Head of Content, who spends her free time on adventures and film photography.