This summer I did something unthinkable. It was in one of those ‘Mummy’s about to lose her cool’ moments. Thankfully not so much that I regret the consequence of my actions. Far from regret, I feel I’ve transformed my house into a happier home because of it. And all I did was unplug the television, carry it downstairs and plonk it in the garage.
Where it sat all summer collecting dust and still sits now (saved for the occasional kids movie treat.) To fill you in, there was already a curfew on the television during school term time – weekends only. However, I couldn’t help but notice even the smallest time allocation was having a negative impact on my children’s behaviour.
Then, at the very start of the summer holiday, my son got up one morning and, without a single word to anyone, flopped into the chair and flicked on the TV…well I was rattled. Even more so when the dramatic protestations began after I flicked it off again and confiscated the remote. In the end, the TV disappeared entirely.
My husband thought I was crazy taking away the one thing the kids love – and our leverage! But it turned out to be a fantastic summer for us here at home. I wasn’t badgered by the question: ‘Can we watch TV now?’ and they played like kids are meant to play. In an environment screen-free where their imaginations could run wild…
Introducing Tatiana Loof…..a lady who knows the importance of creating an environment in which children love to play
Tatiana has a creative gift which she’s unleashed here in Mallorca. Being a whizz on a sewing machine and having a can-do attitude to make for herself what she sees and likes, unintentionally she sparked her business ‘Tatiana Loona.’
Driven by the frustration of the lack of quality and the inflated prices for certain kids products which are made cheaply overseas, Tatiana set about making her own. It started with a simple bean bag, which led to a baby play-mat for a friend. This got posted on Facebook and in no time at all, requests were coming in from more and more friends for the same.
Her product-line is not vast, but it’s extremely popular: Kids bean bags and tee-pees of various sizes, play mats and changing bags (which also make for excellent family beach bags.) Everything is custom made, using quality materials bought only in Mallorca. Whether you want cosy and furry for indoors or something durable, sun resistant and stain resistant for outdoors – she can make what best suits you.
For Tatiana, when collecting ideas, she never loses sight of her vision:
‘I want to create things which look good around the home but which also allow children to feel relaxed and comfortable when they play. I’ve always been an autodidact – I see something I like and try to deconstruct it in my mind to understand how it’s been made, then redo it myself. I used to collect magazines with my ‘to-do’ ideas. Today I use Pinterest as my go-to site for inspiration.
Any of my products can be used indoors or out, moved around, carried from place to place or even thrown for the inevitable beanbag fight, without ever worrying for a rip or spill!
For me, kids toys are meant to be played with; let them be silly and their imaginations will be set free. I often sit in the teepee reading stories together with my children. It’s about creating a space for them where they can feel totally secure too.’
I can vouch for the versatility of Tatiana’s bean bags. We have four at home and it hadn’t occurred to me how else to use them in anyway other than to sit one. However in our house, they also make fantastic dens and are a pretty neat thing to hide behind during a game of hide and seek!
Operating a business entirely from home and doing it all herself means getting the family involved. Tatiana says:
‘I’ve created this job for myself so that it can fit in with my kids school hours. They see me working, offer me some ideas and encourage me to always make them costumes and create new play spaces.
In fact, they’ve gotten into the funny habit of asking me for anything as Mummy will probably figure out a way to make it into reality! I’d like to think I’ll have a positive influence so that when they are older they will also think creatively first, ‘can I make this?’ rather than always buying from a shop.
With Instagram as my main marketing tool, I’ve had to get used to the constant posting and great personal exposure but the kids sure make it enjoyable – modelling for me and making the whole process way more fun!
Quality is my main focus and I see it as an investment in the future. I feel very strongly about sourcing most of my fabrics here in Spain and every single product is checked thoroughly before it leaves my office.
Of course with any handmade item, every piece is unique; it has its own handmade characteristics, so you know it is made with love and care and not at the expense of another person on the other side of the world.’
In case you’re wondering what’s coming next, we might see some costume princess dresses in the future: ‘Made from soft and beautiful material, not the polyester stuff that looks like it will catch fire just sitting in the sun! Fabrics are such a big inspiration to me – how they look and feel against the skin is so important.’ She also has her bag range in sight to expand for more creative designs. Something we can all look forward to – not just the kids!
Play and why it’s so important
Play is a developmental wonder for kids. There is no agenda, no set time, no limits, nothing set to gain, nothing to win or to lose. It is simply moments of fun freedom for them to do whatever and to be whatever with the simple outcome of enjoyment and happiness. Yet so much can be learned by children through play. Tatiana appreciates the importance of the surroundings for kids to play and also the need for robust, durable products which stand the test of time.
This summer I enjoyed watching my children ‘pretend play.’ Quite often familiar names and situations they’ve experienced in their lives arise, whether they are pretending in person or with their lego people. This type of play helps them understand the world around them, build their emotional security and develop their social skills.
Without TV in the picture, the physical play they had in the pool was enormous – particularly useful during the witching hour before bedtime. Rather than lolling about on the sofa, they often hit the pool to burn off every last ounce of energy they had. Growing and strengthening their muscles and bones at the same time.
Lego was up there in popularity too, adding to the problem-solving skill set, by either constructing with instructions or making from their imagination. Leaving an open box of colouring pencils and paper on the table meant they had the freedom to draw and write whenever took their fancy, helping their fine motor skills and literacy. It’s really not hard to live without screens; create a space where their imaginations can take over and you will see for yourself the benefits of play.
You can see Tatiana’s creations here:
For more information you can contact Tatiana:
Mobile: +34 695 436 333
Written by Gemma Sherlock
About the author
After many years of moving around, Gemma, her husband and 2 children settled in Mallorca.
She loves exploring novels and plays, words and meanings and writing in a variety of ways. Not realising that it was something that she would miss, Gemma is happy to have found a new outlet in Nourish.
Why Nourish the Kids? Words, language and especially writing have always been a focus and priority for Gemma.
She likes to express herself thoughtfully and with clarity whether writing or speaking and enjoys discussing and researching new ideas and topics, particularly when it comes to health and well-being.
Likes: Circuit training, pilates, cooking from Ottolenghi books, pukka tea, hummus, reflexology, the audible app, Spanish lessons at MTA and thoughtfulness.