Forest — A New Toy Arrives in Pok Pok Playroom

September 2, 2021 • 3 min read

While there’s no replacement for the fun and freedom that playing outside and being in nature brings (something we recommend kids get to do as often as possible), sometimes it’s just not an option. For those moments, we created Forest.

In Forest, kids will navigate through the woods while discovering creatures, critters and surprises as they go. Just like every other toy in the Playroom, they have the space to explore Forest however they’d like, honing a wide variety of skills such as collecting, sorting, memory, cause and effect, storytelling and creative thinking (among others). They can move rocks, bushes, flowers and bugs at free will, seeing how the environment reacts to their movements and how their actions may affect nature.

Exploring the environment provides amazing groundwork for developing curiosity and naturalistic intelligence, especially in young children. Even though it’s in a digital space, Forest affords children an opportunity to develop empathy and an understanding of the natural environment that surrounds them, hopefully inspiring them to go outside and explore.

Forest, the newest toy in Pok Pok Playroom.

These bugs are intelligent!

For the first time ever in Pok Pok Playroom, we are using artificial intelligence to teach the forest creatures how to find their way around. This makes the forest floor come alive and feel as realistic as possible without changing the way open-ended play works (allowing children to be in charge). We’ve mapped every inch of the forest, from the ground all the way up to the treetops!

Each bug and animal in the forest simulates a living creature — they eat when they’re hungry and hide when they’re scared. Whenever a bug sees a tasty snack or decides to hide under a log, it consults the map and searches every possible path to find the most bug-like way to get to its destination. The result is a delicate ballet as each creature transitions from predator to prey in this dynamic world. The weather in Forest changes over time too, bringing with it gusts of wind and the calm pitter patter of rain.

Bugs going about their day during light rainfall.

Behind the Scenes

We started developing Forest a few years ago, and it was fondly known by our playtesters as “the ladybug toy.” This spring our team refreshed our perspective by reigniting our own passion for the outdoors and digging into nature first hand — we went hiking!

The sounds that you’ll hear in Forest were recorded on this trip in the woods (and subsequent other visits). The creatures are all inspired by real-life bugs we encountered there too, some of which landed right on us! The plants, trees, flowers and pond are all direct reflections of the nature we found around us, too.

The Making of Forest, mini documentary made by our team.

We’ve been so inspired by the unique approach of each child who plays with our toys, and can’t wait to hear what families like yours think of this new addition. We’d love to hear your feedback, see your play videos and hear your ideas with us — say hello at or on social media @playpokpok.

Forest is available now in the latest update of Pok Pok Playroom!

Join our community to get insights from our educators and take a peek behind the scenes into our toy design process over on our Instagram!