Mom of two Jennica Garcia-Uytingco is a known advocate of natural play in raising her daughters Mori, 4 years old, and Alessi, 1. When Mori was a toddler, Jennica and husband Alwyn would let her explore her surroundings and make something out of found things in and around their home, such as dried twigs or leaves. Mori also only played with wooden toys, which are made of natural materials, and read books with her mom to pass the time. In the Uytingco household, they strictly follow a no-battery-operated-toy and no-plastic-toy rule.
However, because parenting is ever-evolving, Jennica is bending her rules a bit to keep up with the times, but without compromising her beliefs and principles, of course. Case in point: she and her firstborn Mori have taken a liking for Hatchimals, a line of robotic toys that “hatch” from an egg.
Hatchimals were the bestselling toy of 2016, and they continue to be kids’ favorites to this day. Every Hatchimal comes in a plastic, egg-like contraption, which takes anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes to hatch. Fans say the waiting part is half the fun of owning one.
A “Hatchimal” is actually a cute animal plushie. The owner takes care of it as it goes through the different stages of “life”: egg, hatching, baby, toddler, and kid. It lights up and changes colors to indicate how it is feeling, and you can even teach it to say words.
“Magiging bisyo ata namin mag ina ang pagbili ng Hatchimal! Pati ako eh nae-excite sa kung ano ang makukuha ni Mori pag binuksan na namin ang itlog,” Jennica captioned a photo of her daughter holding up a bag decorated with Hatchimals stickers.
And although she is finally breaking her “no-plastic-toy” rule (“This is the first plastic toy that I bought for Mori kaya nahuli na kami sa pag collect”), Jennica knows how to keep playtime an interactive activity. Instead of letting Mori tinker with the Hatchimals by herself, she found a way to bond with Mori and her robotic toy.
“Mori doesn’t know that we can crack the egg open right away. To prolong the excitement, we make a nest for it first by foraging sticks and dried leaves then when she wakes up the next day, we crack it open,” she said.
One of the things people admire about the Uytingcos is how they’ve always maintained a simple lifestyle, and are instilling these values in their children. In the same photo, Jennica pointed out that the hard case bag Mori put the stickers on is a giveaway (read: free) from a cousin’s party at Jollibee. It’s proof kids don’t need an expensive toy to be happy.
“Hindi ko binibili yung packs of 6 ganyan or yung sets na may iba pang toys na kasama. In the event that we’d buy the ones that comes in packs in the future, I will give it one at a time and keep the rest for the following weeks.”
In reply to a commenter on her post, Jennica also mentioned that even if she treats Mori to an occasional Hatchimal, she holds back from giving her too much, not only only so they could save on money, but also so her little girl could still find pleasure in simple joys.
“Mori is 4 now, yung saya niya sa isang piraso o dalawa pareho lang naman.”