We did a survey of our customers this month, and we asked for opinions about the kinds of products we should be looking for at Toy Fair. One phrase came up again and again – “open ended.”
So we were on a mission, to find open-ended playthings – toys that can be used again and again, in many different ways, and that inspire kids to think outside the box. Construction toys seemed like a logical place to start, and we found some success, I think.
First, we found Brainnoodles. These jumbo-size pipecleaners are very novel. We thought they looked cool, but maybe too open ended? We brought some home to one of our resident toy testers, and she loved them. They were a magic wand, a pair of eyeglasses, and a bracelet. And that was just in the first five minutes. “Mom, you’ve GOT to sell these at Magic Beans,” she said.
Next, we found Zome. This construction toy is based on some very complex scientific principles (think Leonardo da Vinci), but you don’t need to understand the science to enjoy building the multidimensional models. You can build all kinds of structures, and it’s amazing to dip them into bubble solution and watch what happens. The soap hugs the angles, creating unexpected and beautiful inner shapes.
Last, we decided to try Kapla blocks. These are simple wooden blocks, all the same size, shape and weight. This gives them amazing stability when stacked, so you can build all kinds of things. They are great for kids of all ages, and the constructions can range from very simple to incredibly complex.
More to come…