Design and build your own toys!!!
We design toys together by sharing; toy reviews, toy research, toy safety/design tips, d.i.y. toy tutorials and toy design concepts. Share your comments, opinions, ideas, sketches, etc... and entered win the free toy giveaway! In addition, each new toy design idea you submit will have a chance to be made into a real toy in our Playful Factory! Get involved now with our current toy design project.
08 Mar

Great Toys – Pop Toob

I found a great toy today! It seems like I played with one of these as a kid, but never realized it was actually made for kids. I found these at the local grocery store for a dollar a piece.

I love the ‘play-ability’ to cost ratio! I gave my nieces and nephews several of them and they played with them for hours… turning them into marble runs, telephone lines, whistle wind mills, and more!

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The only downfall of this toy that I can see is that they come with a barcode sticker attached to one end… while removing it leaves behind that awful sticky junk.


24 Dec

Play from Scratch… Build Big Ideas

A great new site to check out, follow and buy cool DIY toys too!… Play from Scratch. A fun company with a great mission…

“We want to inspire kids and adults to build big ideas through open-ended creative play. We see the world as a place full of possibilities and resources that can be used to solve problems and create fun.”

Inspire


23 Aug

Cool Kickstarter Toy Project


Back their project here.


03 Jul

Bubble Jet Stream Paper Airplane

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This fun project was the brainchild of one of the kids at Playful Factory Camp. We did not have all the supplies needed to prototype the idea at Camp, but I have since built several. It is a fun toy and hopefully this video tutorial will help you build your own.


03 Jul

Chalktrail – Ride and Draw

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In 2012 a great kickstarter project was successful and is now doing rather well… All because their idea is awesome! By combining two of the greatest outdoor playthings, a bike and sidewalk chalk… you get CHALKTRAIL.

Having a toddler age son that loves riding any type of vehicle, I look forward to seeing the two piece chalk version that doubles as training wheels.

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14 May

Little Monkeys Make Us Smile

So proud to be related to this little monkey.

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07 May

DRAWNIMAL

A fun new app for kids that like to doodle and learn the alphabet!

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I love the connections between physical and digital play that this app inspires through the simple use of pen, paper, and iPad. The pairing of doodles and alphabet learning is spot on… the two become interests right around the same development stages.

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The ‘add-on’ alphabet game reminds me of the game we used to play in church as kids… one person starts by drawing very abstract doodles (a half circle or three dashed lines)… then the second person is challenged to turn the scribbles into a masterful drawing.

What a fun idea! Thanks for making it and for making it look great too.

Made by three guys that sure seem to be having fun! Check out more about this app here.


06 May

Stamping my way to graduation

I only have a couple of more weeks of school. After graduation I am hoping to get to spend some more time back at Playful Factory. In reflection, I have been looking at my projects, very grateful that I been able to have so much fun during my two years at IIT Institute of Design (Chicago).

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Here is one of the projects that I am just wrapping up. It is a game to help people better understand another culture, specifically ‘Childhood in India’. The game is called Bachpan (means childhood in Hindi). It is played by rolling colored marbles from house to house within an apartment complex. This symbolizes the open and friendly social play structure found throughout much of India. Friends quickly blur into being your extended family as you ‘roll around’ together. You will learn this and many other characteristics of Indian culture through the eyes of six kids.

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One of the really fun aspects of developing this game was getting to learn about wood block stamping. It is an Indian traditional method for making patterns on fabrics. They make some really amazing patterns, so I decided to mimic some for the decoration of this game.

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I made the stamps by laser cutting into wood. I then wetted the stamps using normal stamp ink.

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You can see more projects from my graduate school days here. There are several stores on Etsy that sell these wooden stamp blocks if you are interested, but I found making the block to be just as much fun and stamping. Also, I had fun collecting inspiration art to inform my design… check out my pinterest board.


15 Apr

Designing the CHORE out of it!

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Let me start by saying that I am a fan of a good healthy mess. There is just something great about a giant pile of toys left over from a serious play session. I also enjoy a nice tidy space that allows room for a totally different type of play. In one of my classes this semester I got focus on the fun topic of cleaning up toys, as we explored various prototyping methods.

How can we make cleaning up toys more like the fun we have while playing with them?

I explored two very different approaches; 1. Clumsy Ninja – A tablet app using augmented reality and persuasive interactions (digital prototypes for younger kids). 2. Toy Trapper – A kit of toy trapping parts that allows you to devise their own toy gathering mechanism (physical prototypes for older kids).

Clumsy Ninja – Your toy tidying ally.
As you help train the Clumsy Ninja, he helps you be motivated to clean up your toys. He also helps increase your ability to clean up by dividing the task in to smaller manageable exercises. All of this is baked into a fun mess-fighting game.

Read more about this project here.

Toy Trapper – Get them before the mess gets you. (tag line needs some work)
While on the hunt choose how you want to trap your toys… you’re the expert! This trapping kit comes with all the pieces you need to make endless combinations of toy traps and it comes packaged in a giant bear trap. OUCH!!!

Thanks for letting me indulge by sharing some of my recent work. Hope you had fun checking out. What fun projects have you seen lately? What are you designing?


15 Feb

The Scared is scared…

the Scared is scared from Bianca Giaever on Vimeo.

Great video created based off of an interview with an amazing kid. By Bianca Giaever.

“I asked a six year old what my movie should be about, and this is what he told me.”