Ask the Expert: NEW Nordic Inspired Range

15 Feb 2024 | Expert Advice and Opinions, Nursery and Early Years

Often admired for its progressive and child-centered philosophy, the Nordic approach has gained international attention for its emphasis on play, nature, and equality in early childhood education.

We caught up with our Early Years Product Developer Adelle Whitfield to get the scoop on our brand-new Nordic collection. We discuss what influenced this collection and the reasons why we’re so excited to release it to our customers!


What inspired the development of the new Nordic range?

Coloured Detailed Glass Bottles


As a product development team, we are constantly researching the market and looking for new ways to be inspired, so we can continue to bring new and innovative products to our customers. In 2022 we carried out a research trip to Iceland, where we were lucky enough to visit several early years settings and learn about the ethos of early years education within a country where learning through play is fundamental to the development of the children.

The importance of play-based learning was a key focus throughout the nurseries and schools visited. It was great to see how the practitioners supported the children with this by stepping back and enabling the children to play, be creative, communicate and socialize with their friends. The resources used to support this play had an open-ended element to them and were mostly made of natural materials. These resources allowed the children to use their imagination and create the play environment that they wanted to engage in. It was really refreshing to see the children playing in this way and having so much freedom and independence.

After returning from the trip, we felt so inspired. We really wanted to bring some of the Icelandic magic we had found back with us and build it in to our own product ranges for our customers to also enjoy and benefit from.


Were there specific design or lifestyle trends in
Scandinavia that influenced the development?


Girl, taking photo with wooden toy camera


In Iceland the winter months have less daylight hours than in the summer. During the trip we saw how settings overcome the darkness of these months by using resources that create light throughout the year. For example, fairy lights and projectors which are used around windows and within rooms to inject light. Coloured objects are then placed in-front of this light to create colourful reflections, to create awe and wonder. It also encourages children to start to investigate light and shadow as part of their early science understanding.

Seeing how engaged and fascinated the children were whilst playing went on to influence the development of a range of products that our customers could use within light and shadow play. For example, our luminous boulders, light and shadow creators and coloured glass bottles. We also designed a wooden den frame with shelving, which could form the structure for an inspiring light and shadow display within the classroom.


What materials were chosen for this range, and why?


When developing this range we wanted the products to have a very natural, rustic look and feel. But also having sustainability at the forefront of the designs and materials used. We were inspired by the resources seen within the classrooms in Iceland, which were predominantly made out of wood, with a natural, unfinished look.

Sustainably-sourced wood therefore became the key material for this range. We could use this to create the rustic handmade products we wanted to focus on. We worked on keeping the bark detail on some products within the range, and also using a variety of natural woods in different tones. This helped to achieve the rustic/natural look we wanted to achieve.



What unique features or innovations does the Nordic range offer?

Girl, colourful fabrics


The wooden den frame with shelving is a great open-ended structure, and the design was inspired directly from the classrooms visited in Iceland. This was a resource used in most settings. It’s such a versatile piece that can be used to support not only light and shadow provocations, but to encourage children’s imaginative play. Also, it can be used as a cosy reading or relaxation area to support emotional wellbeing. The frame can really transform the classroom, and open up many new play opportunities, so it is a great product to introduce into any setting.



Which is your favourite product out of the new range?

Girl using light and shadow creator


The light and shadow creators are a fantastic resource that can be used both indoors and outdoors. It allows children to create coloured light of different nature and minibeast shapes. They are extremely versatile and can be used in the summer with natural sunlight to cast the shapes on the ground, or in the winter with torches and projectors to create light and shadow displays. 

Make sure to follow us on Instagram for all the latest on our new resources!

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