Archive

Archive for the ‘Pull-Along Toys’ Category
13 Jan

Champ the Wooden Pull-Along Dinosaur


It could have been Christmas all over again for all I knew... On Saturday, I got to spend my entire day working on projects. Tools, saw dust, runny nose (its cold out there), work gloves, trying to finish before the sun went down... It was perfect. To add to it all, I got to spend a lot of the day hanging out with my 4 year old nephew. Together we built a wooden pull-along toy dinosaur, which he designed (see drawings below).

I picked my nephew up and we got to work. I wanted him to be involved in making the toy, because he is fun to hang out with, he is a good worker, and I needed his expert design eye to help add the little details. I almost forgot... I needed to barrow some of his Handy Manny tools (see picture below).

I did most of the cutting, while my nephew learned about the different tools we were using. Scroll saw, band saw, drill press, table sander, palm sander, dremmel... He did a great job sanding, drilling, mixing, painting and supervising. At first he wanted his dinosaur to be blue with blue stripes (that is his favorite color), but once he saw the orange paint he quickly improvised and gave Champ (the toy dinosaur) some fierce orange stripes.

It was a fun project and soon the wooden pull-along dinosaur will be available in my Etsy Store to purchase and paint on your own.

See more photos from this project here.
27 Sep

Pull-along Toy Follow Up

Remember the wooden pull-along toy... Well the winner of the free toy from PlanToys sent us some pictures of their cute little boy playing with the doggie toy:

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(photographer Tassi) See more photos of Dallin and the doggie in our gallery or on Tassi's photography blog. Remember to get involved with our current project, designing ride-on toys, to qualify for our next free toy giveaway on October 11th.
30 Aug

Playful Factory: Pull-Along Toy Winners

Drum roll please................. (enough) The randomly chosen winner of the free toy giveaway this week is Tassi Smith (I listed all the comments from the week in order of being posted and randomly picked a number)(#7). She gets the Sit'n Walk Puppy by PlanToys. I know you will have a blast with this little puppy and your kids probably will too. Another drum roll please...........(ENOUGH!) The toy that Playful Factory will be making from this week's designs is CHAMP designed by Fire Boy. Fire Boy is 4 years old and his design Champ the blue dinosaur with blue stripes chomps his mouth while you pull him along. We will posting the toy and a tutorial on how to make your own version of Champ the blue chomping dinosaur later this week. All of the Little Factory Workers did a great job! Participate this week throughout the week to be eligible to win the free toy giveaway this week. Also, submit your toy designs to have your toy idea made into a real toy! Look for this weeks Project Launch later today!
27 Aug

Playful Factory: August Free Toy Giveaway

Ruff Ruff! You can have my favorite wooden pull-along toy for free! This months giveaway is made by PlanToys. A great toy company that focuses on quality, safety, and responsibility. They use rubber trees to make their wooden toys. A company that I truly admire for their innovation and style. This Sit'n Walk Puppy ($20 retail) will be given to one of our lucky Little Factory Workers that has participated in this weeks toy project! That means you have all weekend to work on the project with your kid(s). Read the giveaway rules to find out how to increase your chances of winning. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced on Monday, August 30th. To enter this and future monthly toy giveaways, make sure you subscribe to receive Playful Factory updates through email. Subscribers have increased odds to winning the free toy giveaway. Read more about our monthly giveaways here. Shipping is free within the USA.
26 Aug

Playful Factory: Wooden Pull-Along Toy Concepts

This is my favorite part of the design process! We now get to share our new toy ideas with each other. In whatever form you can, submit your ideas as a comment to this post. Draw a sketch, make a prototype (clay, playdough, paper, etc...), or do anything else that helps others know what your new toy idea is.

Guidelines for Sharing Your Designs

  • Give your toy a name (get creative).
  • Include a brief description about your toy (special features, etc...). Include the age of the designer.
  • Include the name of the designer (it could be fun to make up a "designer" name, kind of like a pen name for a writter).
  • Attach a JPEG image to your comment.
If you need help sketching your ideas here is a free program that makes it easier... Aviary. I prefer their vector editor, but their image editor is also very good. To save they require you login, but I usually just take a screen shot. You can also just sketch your idea on paper and scan it in... or take a picture of it. If you have any problems posting, just email me and I can help with file formats or whatever else you might need: collin[at]playfulfactory[dot]com From the submitted designs, I will choose one to make into a real toy. I also will provide a tutorial on how to make your own version of that toy at home. Playful Factory will randomly select one kid from those that participated to win a free toy! Good luck! Here are a few of my ideas:

Pull-A-Song

Details: Using similar technology as a music box, have the toy make music play as you pull the toy along. The faster you go, the faster the song plays. This could be fun to make multiple modular pieces that you can combine and make different songs with.

Tied Elephants

Details: A family of elephants tied together by their trunks and tails. This toy is fun to pull around and when you get tired you can site and practice your knots... Helps develop the skill to tie shoes.

Putt Putt Pull-Along

Details:This is a two person toy. One person pull the train of cars along while the other putts the ball through the trains. Each train is a different size and the putter will get more points for making it through the smaller train. Keep score and see who can score the most in 5 putts. I look forward to seeing what you come up with!!!
25 Aug

Playful Factory: Safety Tips for Wooden Toys

Wood is a great material to build toys out of for many reasons; durable, low cost, accessible, repairable, and I could go on. With this being said, there are also some safety concerns that must be addressed in order to maximize enjoyment and minimize disappointment. To design the best possible toy, you must ask the best possible questions. Here are some questions that might help you design your own pull-along toy:

Who is this toy for?

Pull-along toys are made for boys and girls, ages 19 months and up. Interest for this toy will peak once children are able to control their walking and start experimenting with running. Clearly it is not limited to this age group. Crawling babies like them just as much as older kids do.

What is the main purpose/function of this toy?

To be pulled around and to motivate toddlers to learn to walk. There is often other functions such as movement, stacking, transporting, etc…

What is not working well with existing pull-along toys?

  • Some pull-along toys have a narrow base and tend to get a little top heavy, causing the toy to fall over. At which point the toy gets dragged around on its side.
  • Some pull-along toys have multiple connecting parts, like a train with multiple cars. The attachment points between the pieces is not secure enough and parts get left behind.
  • Some wheels do not get enough grip on smooth surfaces to spin.

What is working well with existing pull-along toys?

  • As mentioned before, some pull-along toys have secondary functionality. These seem to keep kids interested in the toy even after they are exhausted from pulling the toy around.
  • The pull-along toys that take advantage of the mechanical movement provided by the child moving the toy across the floor seem to really excel!

What is something fun and unique that would improve pull-along toys?

Being able to customize the pull-along toy would be fun… Having interchangeable parts or an ability to decorate your own.

What should my pull-along toy look like?

Whatever you would like!

What safety concerns should be taken into consideration?

Small Pieces: Beware of small pieces, especially with homemade toys. This includes the pull string. This is a real choke and strangle hazard. I would suggest a thicker pull string, about bungee cord thickness. Also, in areas that you have a material change ensure they are fastened together securely. Wood Finish: Ensure the surface is smooth and the corners are rounded. Treating wood products is important because their finishes often wear out over time. Treating them with a natural oil helps to prevent splintering. Even painted finishes will wear out over time. In addition to this, keep in mind that some finishes, even natural ones, may be toxic if toddlers ingest them, so pick a finish that you feel comfortable with. Make Baby Stuff shares some very valuable information about the best natural oils to use as a finish for your wood toys. "Normal use and cleaning can dry out surfaces on wooden toys. This can allow bacterial growth in the cracks and pits that are a natural part of wood construction. Periodic oiling of wooden toys fills the cracks and pits and helps to prevent the growth of bacteria." Oils: Beeswax, tung oil, almond oil, walnut oil, linseed oil, orange oil, and lemon oil are all great natural oil finishes. Paints: Acrylic (AP non-toxic seal), milk paint, water colors, food coloring Please comment with any design or safety tips you may have. What do you like or dislike about certain pull-along toys? What wood finishes do you prefer? What other questions will help us design better wooden pull-along toys?
23 Aug

Playful Factory: Project Launch of Pull-Along Toys

Pull-along toys are a classic. They are designed for toddlers on the go... crawling, walking, and running. You can find them in any store and even on the big screen. Most of today's pull-alongs are made from some type of plastic. My favorites in this genre all happen to be made primarily from wood. Wooden pull-along toys are hard to find, but once you do, they can last a lifetime and beyond. This week we will be designing, making, and giving away a wooden pull-along toy. Keep up to date throughout the week to see product research, get safety tips, submit and see toy designs, see the final design, and get a tutorial to make your own. You will want to participate in this week's design process to qualify to win the free toy! The first step in this design process is to research existing wooden pull-along toys on the market. These are some of my favorites from my research. Feel free to add your favorite via leaving a comment. ^ Sit'n Walk Puppy by PlanToys ($18) ^ Pic Pic the Hedgehog by Vilac ($56) ^ Ma-Me-Pa by Maya Organic Toys ($35) ^ Kiwi by Keko ($36) ^ Theo the Escargot Pull Toy by Vilac ($33) ^ Pull-Along Snail by PlanToys ($18) ^ Caramel Pull-Along Dog by Djeco ($25) ^ Pull Along Helicopter by Brio ($10) ^ Zara the Vulture by Vilac ($70) ^ Pull-Along Catepillar by PlanToys ($16) Next I will be sharing safety tips for designing and buying wooden toys.