Made in the Caribbean isn’t a tag that children often see, but Trinidad-based, brand ESPjr has set about making it one worth spreading.
Channelling the spirit of Caribbean childhood, ESPjr has thrown itself wholeheartedly into designing characters and education and entertainment content for babies and children. With the recent launch of – “Island Babies” – its debut, signature line, ESPjr is on a mission to engage and encourage kids to appreciate the Caribbean’s diverse environment, festivals, culture, sounds and tastes.
Loveable characters – like the baby leatherback turtle, the dancing blue crab, the coconut buddies, and the smiley snowcone – make for cute baby onezies and kiddie t-shirt designs. They also make the leap onto activity sheets and colouring pages to play an educational role.
Giving parents and children a space to shop, play, and download activities together, ESPjr has also created a new content playground – www.espjrisland.com. In this virtual playground, they can explore stories, download colouring pages and activity sheets; view kiddie art, and adorable photos, which are all linked by the Island Babies theme.
Play-based learning is at the core of all the designs, as ESPjr focuses on building strong characters that act as a vehicle for telling stories about local subjects.
For example, through the baby leatherback turtle, children learn that Trinidad and Tobago supports one of the largest leatherback nesting populations worldwide. They learn that the blue crab walks sideways, and even races sideways, at crab races in Tobago. They learn about the many uses of the coconut – from enjoying it as a fruit, and tasting its jelly and milk in ice cream or local dishes, to how the husk and shell are used in agriculture, as potting material.
“Island life is something everyone from the Caribbean, and even tourists, can relate to,” says ESPjr’s Creative Director, Jeunanne Alkins. “It’s a feeling. That’s why ‘Island Babies’ felt like the right tag for us. Our characters provide the perfect vehicle to connect with kids, and teach them about their culture and the environment.”
Learning through play is a term used in education and psychology to describe how children can learn to make sense of the world around them. Through play, children can develop social and cognitive skills, mature emotionally, and gain the self-confidence required to engage in new experiences and environments.
“We employ visuals comparable with popular children’s content at the quality that captivates them,” she says. “We’re merging art, storytelling, and environmental awareness to make learning a more natural process. The ultimate goal is to lead to them contributing to a better Caribbean.”
Carrying big messages, Island Babies’ simple, contemporary designs give adults the opportunity to let the children in their life make a statement. By the increasing demand from local retailers, and the way shoppers have scooped up the apparel at small goods markets throughout Trinidad and Tobago, it seems to be catching on.
ESPjr’s virtual storefront www.espjrisland.com is now live. Parents and children can also look forward to new entertaining material over the next few months.
To connect with ESPjr, visit their website – www.espjrisland.com, tweet them at @espjrisland, or find them on Facebook at facebook.com/espjrisland.