Ever came across a quiet book for toddlers? And wondered what is the big deal about it? Well, here’s the big deal.
Think of one thing that has changed for your children against your own growing up years, that isn’t necessarily good for them? Most parents would agree that it is the way children are engaged today. See a toddler about to throw a tantrum? Toss the mobile in front of him and voila! He is happy again- though I would argue a more apt word here would be ‘distracted.’ The baby refusing food? Let the bright lights cast the magic spell! There! The bowl is empty.
The real-toy industry is facing a formidable rival in the digital toy industry. There are about 48,000 developers that focus only on developing apps for kids. Scientists have long warned us about the dangers of using our phones and tablets. Unrestricted media usage has been linked to sleep disorders, depression, aggression, mood disorders, obesity, poor performance in school, and social dysfunction. Worse, attention-deficit problems surface much later.
Motor skills in babies and toddlers- both fine and gross develop through a range of little things they do with their hands. Snipping, pasting, matching up, fixing- these are little things that foster new neural connections in their tiny brains.
Priya Ravishankar, like every mom, wanted something to combat the digital temptation, and simply got down to trying a few quiet book page ideas for her daughter. Her daughter loved it, and Priya ended up founding a company called Cubs And Calves, that supplies quiet book for toddlers and babies in 6 continents and 38 countries around the world.
"Quiet books are one of those rare toys that do the least and inspire kids to do the most."
Kidskintha had an exclusive conversation with Priya on her amazing journey so far. Read on:
Hello Priya. It’s lovely to be able to talk to you.
Likewise, Devishobha. Thank you.
You are the founder of Cubs and Calves, the maker of quiet book for toddlers. What are quiet books and why do you think quiet books have caught on?
Quiet Books are Interactive Fabric Books for children. They keep the child engaged while they pretend play, learn colors, shapes, sort and count, pair and match, work on their fine motor skills, explore different textures and materials. Each page, typically, has an activity to do and a skill to work on.
Quiet books are one of those rare toys that do the least and inspire kids to do the most.
They are so much fun! And unique. A true keepsake. Easy on the environment, easy to carry and store. Imagine a shelf full of toys in a fabric book that you can carry anywhere!
How did you get started with your venture? What was the inspiration behind making fabric books for babies?
I stumbled upon a quiet book online and wanted to make one for my daughter.
When I casually posted it on Facebook, I didn’t know what would come of it. But to have several hundred people contact me and request one for their child blew me away.
In the process, I realised that the options to buy a good quality quiet book for toddlers in India were limited, not easily available, affordable and accessible to many. Why not fill this gap, I thought, make my own line of locally made quiet books. It was important to me that everything be made right here in India to support the local economy. And that’s how Cubs and Calves was born. I shipped the first order from a small space with big dreams.
How do you decide on quiet book patterns for babies and toddlers?
Well, it depends on the age group we are designing the book for but typically the activities are around skills such as sorting, matching, pairing, counting and those that strengthen hand dexterity, fine motor, concentration, focus, imaginative play, order, logic and reasoning, aiming for a target, vocabulary, sensory perception and independence.
Imagine tying shoe laces, working with zippers, learning to button and unbutton different snaps, telling time, solving puzzles – all by turning pages of a book!
"When you buy a Quiet Book from Cubs and Calves, you are buying something that is carefully handcrafted by these passionate hands, who love to make this world a better place for you and your little ones."
Are there different themes for the quiet books one can find on a Cubs and Calves shelf?
Yes! Cubs and Calves books are inspired by nature, arts, travel, stories and music. So you’ll find a lot of these on our shelves- nature-themed books, maps, animal-themed ones, vehicles, sing-along books and so on.
Music has always been a central ingredient in my design, not only in terms of children’s music and folk music (which I am very interested in) but also in the sense that when I create a quiet book for toddlers, it is to me a matter of rhythm, of music. And in all our books, music plays an important role. I think every book brings its own music along, and then, when the child starts to explore the book, he/she too hears it.
How many people are usually involved in the making of a quiet book in your organization?
We are a very small startup, still finding our feet. Cubs and Calves is currently managed by three partners. We have a couple of production units in Delhi and a design studio in Mumbai.
Our artisans are our most important assets. When you buy a Quiet Book from Cubs and Calves, you are buying something that is carefully handcrafted by these passionate hands, who love to make this world a better place for you and your little ones.
Do you see demand from other countries for your books too?
Oh yes, very much! Cubs and Calves books have made their way all over the world – 6 continents, 38 countries and still counting.
In fact, we have just partnered with a retail organization in Europe and are thrilled about Cubs and Calves‘ presence in the EU market.
What is the best way for parents/teachers looking for these books to reach you?
The books are available on our website – www.cubsandcalves.com and on online portals such Amazon.in, Amazon.com, Flipkart.
Cubs and Calves are offering a special 10% discount for Kidskintha readers. Avail it through the form below and get the checkout code delivered to your inbox!
How do you manage your day between running Cubs and Calves and raising your own children?
It is a bit insane, to be honest. I’m still learning. But it has rendered me a more patient person. My daughter saves me from a lot of drivel and I have become more selective. How much time I will spend on a particular task, whom to meet when – you become more conscious of these things because now you are doing many more things at once. So you start to use your time more wisely. I have also learnt how to ask for help. Perhaps this is the best time to introduce the word “sisterhood” in our conversation.
How does your typical day look?
This routine is working now – I am up early and like working on the designs then. We have breakfast together and then my daughter leaves for school. Yoga for an hour and then I head to work. Pick my daughter up from school, we have lunch together and I head back to the studio once she naps. I try and finish up my work by 7 pm or so and then it’s family time, dinner, books, bed.
What is the one habit of yours you recommend for every entrepreneur?
I’m not sure I should answer this yet. But this is what I tell everyone – Read. A lot.
What is your vision for the future of Cubs and Calves?
Think of a compass. One leg of the drawing compass is fixed in one spot. For us, that is quiet books. The other leg draws a huge, wide circle around this one and hopefully, we would have trail-blazed a Quiet Book industry, making beautiful, sophisticated quiet book for toddlers, babies – as functional as they are stylish. We like to think of our books as a special range of developmental toys accessible and affordable and accessible to all children across the globe.
Cubs and Calves are offering a special 10% discount exclusively for Kidskintha readers. Avail it through the form below and get the checkout code delivered to your inbox!