Scots mums create amazing sofa range kids can pull apart to build forts and castles

By Lisa Hodge

Two Scots mums have invented a child-friendly sofa after dreaming up the idea during lockdown.

Glasgow mums Rhona Madigan and Corrine Spencer were both pregnant during the pandemic and like all expectant mums, were busy preparing for their respective new arrivals.

However the house proud and eco-conscious pair were keen to find stimulating baby toys that would not overcrowd and clutter-up their homes, while also being sustainable.

Rhona, 29, said: "I like to keep my house nice and people would say to me 'good luck with that once the baby comes'. I'd been told that your house is just overrun with giant plastic toys and kids are messy and pull everything out.

"I started looking at play couches because I wanted to have something that was part of our home but also that the baby could make use of. While there are some good ones out there internationally, there's nothing really on the UK market."

Corrine, 31, is a Montesorri teacher at the Montesorri Art School in Edinburgh.

Montesorri is a method of education that encourages hands-on and collaborative play - so the idea of play couches also appealed to Corrine was newly pregnant at the time.

The pair, who are sisters-in-law, got to work designing something that met all their needs and despite both being pregnant, invented the DOVA Sofa.

The modular sofa is made up for eight different puzzle-like pieces which can be transformed into anything a child's imagination desires - like a mini softplay at home, which can then be placed back together to make a family settee.

Rhona, who has an eight-month-old son Max with husband Jack, 29, says the sofa also encourages independent play with learning and fun and best of all - it's super comfortable for mums and dads.

She said: "Like a lot of new mums, I bought max lots of baby toys to play with and set them up in his play room, but actually, he spends all his time with me. So we are up from 5am with Max and the DOVA is great for mum or dad to lay down while he rolls around or climbs or plays peek-a-boo."

The women were keen to make sure that the sofa was child-friendly, but stylish, and most importantly, durable.

Rhona said: "We are really trying to get away from this throw-away toys culture. We wanted something that would grow with our children. The sofa is exactly that, from babies right up to toddler and school age kids can all have fun with it. Even when Max is 18 the sofa can be used for his to have his friends round when he doesn't want to hang around with us anymore."

Corrine, who is married to Rhona's brother Euan Wheatley, welcomed son Spencer eight weeks ago, says the tiny tot is already using his DOVA.

She said: “We thought, rather than having multiple toys which serve different purposes, why not create one that serves them all while saving room?

“We are over the moon with the DOVA sofa. The reaction from parents who’ve seen it has been amazing, but what has been even more encouraging is the response of children."

The DOVA play sofa starts at £385 and comes in 12 colours – all named after animals – with swatches sent out ahead of delivery to ensure the colour is the perfect match.

For more information visit the DOVA website or check out DovaPlay on Instagram.

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