Close-up: On the birth of Manipuloo
Manipuloo is an original design produced by Nathan for the
development of young children’s fine motor skills and body-
Monique Deusin is the publisher behind the project that has conquered the hearts of children in schools and kindergartens alike.
Here she explains to us how the game came into being.
How did the Manipuloo
range come about?
Our aim was to create a set of manipulation material for children that was both good fun and highly educational. The material had to be tailor-made for activities teaching children motor skills and dexterity via activities that encourage autonomy and social skills and bypass any sense of failure.
We drew up a very precise technical remit listing
the main fine motor skills that we wanted the material to develop, skills like stacking, interlocking
and threading and screwing and fitting pieces
together. The materials also had to be
hardwearing and comply with security regulations for use in schools and playgroups. We next called
up a design agency to give us some suggestions.
How did you work with the design
The agency gave us a number of ideas in illustration form. We selected one of their ideas and,
together, started refining it. Manipuloo was born of their close collaboration between our own teams,
with their extensive teaching expertise, and the
design agency, whose focus was more aesthetic
and technical. The firs ideas to emerge, for
example, offered no possibilities for screwing.
We asked them to include the “screw tops” that
are now an integral feature of the kit. The bases,
with their dual poles, also came out of this consultation phase. We effectively wanted a kit that encouraged a wide range of dexterity using a single object.
How long did it take to achieve the final result?
Manipiloo was one year in creation. Once the design phase was complete, we tackled production which raised a number of important questions like what plastic to use and how to make the material as tough as possible. Creating new games is a much more complex process than it might first appear.