{ All About Playing } interview with Hebe van Asten-Koper



Definition of play: engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose; engage in (a game or activity) for enjoyment; amuse oneself by engaging in imaginative pretence;

Since I make toys – and I’m a mother of a little one – I begin to grow more and more curious about playing. How children these days play, how parents interact and play with them, how can we play in a fun way with them, how playing can help children’s development…

For this interview I have the pleasure to introduce you to Hebe and her family.

Please tell us a bit about you and your family.
My name is Hebe van Asten-Koper – married to Vincent and mom of Otis (3,5) and Noa (almost 2). Vincent and I own and run our webshop CozyKidz based in The Netherlands and we try to be the best parents ever; the toughest job in the world, but at the same time the most rewarding.


Best playground.
We always head out to “Speeltuin Marijke” in our city Lisse. It’s a really old playground in the city center hidden in a square of houses. It took me forever to find it since I’m not a local, but because of the seclusion it’s so nice there. It feels quiet (even with a million kids running around) and you feel like you’re away from everything. The playground is run by volunteers and has a yearly fee for it’s visitors so they can keep updating. But I also love seeing the old items the kids play with. Beaten down bikes that have served many kids before; love it!


In a free day what is your family favorite activity?
Lately in summertime the kids love filling the kiddy pool. They love the cool water splashing around and love it when dad sprays them with the hose. When it’s not hot enough for the pool they love to head out to the playground and just run around doing everything. Noa is very into the swing, slide, sandbox and really wants to learn to ride a bike. Otis loves everything; bikes, slides (especially the high ones) and everything that crosses his path.


How do you play with your kids? With what kind of toys?
I bought Noa this awesome doll house, but it’s not her thing yet. I guess mom was a bit too enthusiastic. Otis is the only interior decorator of the doll house. This mostly involves cars and trucks on the lower level. He does actually creates a living room on the first floor, which is funny because we live in a drive in house, with the garage underneath our living room and kitchen; so he’s actually recreating his own house. At the moment they both really like to play with cars, trucks and balls. And duplo. But oh my; keeping it all together! I’m having nightmare about having to find this one part of the special truck that Otis loves and is in the bottom of our huge duplo baskets. Great stuff, but again I overdid it and ended up with too much which bites me in the ass.

What is your favorite toy? And from your children?
I love wooden toys like the dollhouse and the puzzle rocket from Janod and the cubebot I got for Otis. And they like them too but eventually the plastic toys usually win…


When you were a child what did you play and with what toys? What was your favorite one?
I loved playing with dolls. And my own pram with doll. Walked around the entire neighborhood with it. And like Noa I played with a lot of toys from my big brothers. Their stuff was usually more interesting than mine, especially when you’re a toddler.

What kind of crafts/DIY projects do you like to do with your kids?
I’m not a very crafty person to be quite frank. But luckily the girls at their daycare are, and since they go there 3 days a week they craft like crazy. I have a door full of constantly changing art by our little Rembrandts.

Your children prefer playing or watching tv? What they see in television influences how they play?
They love to play, but after a hectic day they also love to chill our in front of the TV. We got all the kids channels and watch it with them so I know what they’ve seen and can refer to it in later conversations or see them re-enacting the scenes in their play. Otis is getting quite good at that. Noa is now just starting to interact with the TV, very cute to see her talk back to Dora and dance to the tunes.


What is your kids favorite book? And yours (from their collection)?
Otis loves the book named Otis, about a tractor. It has it all; cute story, farm animals, large tractors and his own name! What else can a boy wish for? Actually Otis loves everything with trucks and vehicles in it. Noa isn’t too into stories yet, she’s trying to learn words. But I have some cute books lined up for her. I love books with cute stories about friendship like “The little mouse and his special friends” or the story about the perseverance in “Ik wil de maan” (I want the moon). Another book we love is “Het grote taartenboek” by Thé Tjong-Khing because it has no text and tells so many stories. The kids can create their own. Just like with Flora and the Flamingo and Flora and the Pinguin. I’ve got those 2 ready to go for Noa when she’s ready for it.


Please ask your kids “If you could choose to be a storybook charather what would you be? Why?”
Noa would be Miffy; that’s her best friend. Otis would be Lightning McQueen; sorry not really storybook but it’s his favorite character of all time.

Do you know how does your children play at school?
Otis is a bad boy at daycare. Always plotting things with his little friends. Noa is a real girl playing with the other girls now she has a chance. So at daycare she strolls around with the mini pram (just like her mom) and wants to take care of all the dolls.

Your kids prefer playing indoors or outdoors?
They love the outdoors! So whenever the weather lets us we try to head outside. Since our climate isn’t the greatest we need to take advantage of this when we can! Ofcourse we might skip a day, but we do try!


Does your kids like to create their own activities / games / characters?
They are just a little to small for this. But with Otis his endless creativity I know there will be many own games and characters. He’s a true actor.

Sounds and music are important in your child playing?
Noa loves music! Otis doesn’t care for it too much yet, he still needs to find his sense of rhythm. But Noa had it since she was a baby. She moves and dances and sings; supercute. Otis also sings and it surprises me how much lyrics of Frozen he knows! ;-)

Lovely family! – Thank’s Hebe for sharing with us a little of your world! 
Hebe is the owner of a beautiful webshop and showroom called CozyKidz.


I would really like to know how your kids play? What’s their favorite toy, the one they cuddle at night?
Please leave a comment below.