The Montpellier company Oppi has just in early May received a silver medal at the Lépine competition for their new collection. She created BEAUTIFUL, bath toys so children can learn to bathe independently. There are three little companions: the Kuji whale with a sensory brush, the Tako squid that makes foam when you blow into it, and the Kaba, the hippopotamus with sensory balls. These are games made in France.
Have you launched bath toys for children in the form of animals?
It is bath toys that develop sensory awareness and autonomy in the bath. They are three rather charming companions. We have a hippopotamus, an octopus and a whale. Each one has special qualities that will really develop sensory awareness and help the child learn to wash himself. It is still a pretty important moment for a child who is also a stage of development in the bath. And it’s a daily meeting for them.
Each animal has its own characteristics. Can you present them accurately to us?
We gave them nicknames. We have the squid Tako. It has a small membrane with small holes and you can make a small rain shower. And if you replace this membrane with another one made of textile that, the kids will blow over the head of it because it has a small opening and it will create foam from above. It’s super fun and it allows you to understand the moment of the bath and accept it a little more.
We have the Kuji whale. And inside there is a small sensory brush that allows the child to already develop his tactile perception. But also learn to wash alone. Understand that the bath is not necessarily just for play. It is a transition because we believe that a child knows how to wash himself, only from the age of six, and it starts at ten months.
And finally the Kaba hippopotamus. There we are more in well-being. It has small massage beads underneath. So it allows the child to play all over the bath. But especially after the bath. We are always in a moment with a little transition before we go to bed. So there, for the little ones, we can awaken and name the parts of the body.
Have you worked with training specialists to design these objects?
We worked with an occupational therapist and a child care specialist named Sonia Krief, who specializes in baby baths, who has developed a thalassotherapy technique. And precisely, we really have this balance in the collection between learning, autonomy and well-being.
Is this educational site very important?
It really is our cornerstone, it is almost our heart of passion in our toys. We have always consulted specialists before designing toys. There we identified the problem of autonomy, with sensory awakening in the bath. It is a daily moment where the child develops every day. Things happen. The child develops in the bath and therefore the products must also develop over time. That is why for us, we really identify these age groups that provide solutions, experiences to let the child develop even better.
Your Oppi brand, launched with your brother, is it part of your personal story?
Yes, it’s already a story of brotherhood. We wanted to create a company that has a commitment and a desire to change things. It also started with a more personal story. When I was younger I had osteoporosis, it lasted for ten years. I had many moments in hospitals where we could escape through the game.
And then when I was a student, it was decided. I went to Barcelona to solve this problem. I studied product design and was passionate about therapeutic design. I made a first game to help autistic children with connection, language without speaking. I had worked with an autism specialist. So with my brother we said, but it’s great, why not continue? And then, after that, one led to the other, we developed our brand, and it created a little bit. Here we are going to tell the DNA of a story so far the whole brand.
Interview by Morgane Guiomard
Image credit: DR.
Interview with Hansel Schloupt, co-manager of Oppi at France Bleu Hérault