Eco-friendly and traditional toys for children

Meet sisters Anu Parthasarathy and Rupa Vijendran, who started Redbug Kreative Kits to introduce children to traditional crafts and toys.

If you are a parent who wants her child to do activities that require her to think and use her imagination, you’ve probably scoured the market for suitable craft kits. Yes, there’s a lot of stuff available but after a point, most seem similar, with instructions that are often hard for kids to follow.

It was the search for safe activities and crafts for their kids to do, that drove sisters Anu Parthasarathy and Rupa Vijendran to launch craft kits for children that are not only easy to make but also introduce them to traditional techniques like Channapatna woodwork, terracotta art and so on.

Anu Parthasarathy and Rupa Vijendran, founders, Redbug Kreative Kits. Pic: Reshmi Chakraborthy.

Called Redbug Kreative Kits, the sisters’ aim is to use natural, eco-friendly materials that would also introduce kids to traditional crafts and give them a fun and entertaining activity to do.

Sounds like a tall order? It actually is not. The kits are really simple and aimed at children in the six-plus age group, though even my four-year-old son had a good time assembling his little toy wagon made of shiny Channapatna wooden parts.

Working mostly with eco-friendly vegetable dye pieces made by Channapatna artisans, Anu and Rupa also have craft kits that use traditional hand-dyed and block printed fabric as well as terracotta material. Their plan is to introduce more traditional products as they go along.

The kits are easy to make and come packaged in a neat environment-friendly box with assembly instructions. While parents may need to read out the instructions to younger children and show them how to go about it, the detailed sketch and easy instructions are great for older children.

RedBug Kits consist of simple and conceptual toys, made of eco-friendly material. Pic: Reshmi Chakraborthy.

Among the products, Redbug has bookmarks, fridge magnets, photo frames, jewellery, pencil boxes, charms and even cute butterfly and dragonfly stakes that you can drive into a pot or add to a flower vase.

Priced between Rs 120 to Rs 250 with plans for launching cheaper mini kits, they would also make excellent return gifts during birthday parties. Anu, who has a seven-year-old daughter, feels that kids like simple and conceptual toys. Between her daughter, Rupa’s two children aged 8 and 12 years and other children in the family, they’ve test-marketed their toys enough to get a diverse range of interesting opinions.

Anu says the kits work well not only in keeping children occupied but also as a family activity. “Children don’t appreciate culture or concepts like ‘environment-friendly’ and ‘organic’ until they try for themselves,” she says, pointing out how her daughter now knows you can use turmeric to make the colour yellow.

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The sisters design the products themselves and get it executed by artisans at Channapatna. Anu has a background in design while Rupa has been in software. Their aim is to get materials directly from artisans and NGOs and work in a way that benefits local crafts and craftsmen.

“The initial design process took us two to three months. The important part was to make the craftsmen understand our concept and drawings,” says Anu. The duo believes that craft kits like these are important for self-play and can not only keep the child entertained but also boost their confidence when they create something. ‘I did it myself!’ is a welcome sound for any mother indeed!


  1. sabine calkins says:

    wonderful! elegant, playful designs and the website is great too – I hope this takes off!

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