The Bleebla range of animal blocks are the work of Portuguese architects Ana Ferreira and Luís Leite. The range includes traditional wooden puzzle blocks, an animal stamp kit and several designs of lacing toys, valued for building children's fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Made from PEFC-certified European sycamore, the products are also packaged in FSC- or PEFC-certified cork or recycled cardboard boxes or wrapping. The whole range is absolutely charming, and every item is designed with sustainability and durability in mind so it can become a treasured family heirloom.
Ferreira and Leite first developed their Animal Box creatures for a 2009 exhibition showcasing Portuguese design. After keeping the project on the back burner for a few years, they have now expanded the range and released it commercially, having carefully researched local sources for the raw materials and packaging. They aim to gradually expand the collection to bring together a series of products associated with the themes of jungle, sea, farm, and forest.
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The traditional wooden puzzle blocks come in the themes of jungle and sea. Each creature slots into its custom-carved home in the accompanying cork storage box. The Silhouette jungle set features smaller blocks, but comes with cork landscape elements to really set the scene for creative play. Starter kits of just two smaller-sized creatures and a unit of cork landscape are also available. The animal stamp kit (at time of writing temporarily out of stock) expands on the animal block theme, but reinterprets it as a wood-block relief printing technique for budding artists.
The adorable Woodla lacing toys come in sets of two and feature woodland creatures in keeping with the forest theme. Each set comes with two wooden toys, dress-up sets made from a 100% wool handmade fabric and 100% cotton lacing cord. Children are also free to create their own costumes and attach them to the wooden toys.
The Bleebla range is available direct from the Bleebla website. Prices are in euros, but the exchange rate is currently very favorable, so prices start at around $25 for the two-piece Silhouette starter kits, ranging up to around $148 for the full Animal Box kits.
Photos by Bleebla