One of my most memorable finds at Toy Fair isn’t going to be available for sale any time soon. It’s barely more than a fascinating prototype right now, but wow – it’s got potential. Isaac Bowman is a carpenter from Lexington, Kentucky. As a birthday gift for some niece or nephew, he made something he calls a Discovery Box. It could pass as a work of art, but it’s actually a toy. Inside the box, he has a series of playthings. At the center, there’s a marble run constructed of copper piping. On one side, there’s an experiment in electricity, on another side, a checkers board and a set of cork game pieces. Carved into the wood are inspirational quotes, mathematical formulas and funny pictures. The outside of the box is decorated with more quotes and kid-friendly stickers.
Who knows where Mr. Bowman will take this idea. He invested in a booth at Toy Fair, so he must have aspirations, but there’s a lot of work to do before it’s ready for production. It’s hard to tell what age he’s targeting; there’s so much going on inside the box. But if he can find a way to refine and mass produce this sort of creativity, people will buy it.