Modern Toy Design
Modern Toy Design requires a multifaceted approach since there are many criteria one must consider when designing a child’s toy. The criteria includes not only the purpose of the toy, the look or style of the toy, but also if the toy is safe, etc. In the next few posts on this website, I would like to share with you my philosophies and thoughts that went into designing the toys for sale here at PlyPlay Designs. I also encourage everyone to leave comments and share their thoughts.
In this first post, I would like to share with you what I feel makes a great toy in regards to how it gets played with and what makes it ‘fun’. The purpose of the toy, if you will. Therefore, I ask:
What Makes a Great Toy?
I thought I knew what made a great toy. My toy design philosophy came from watching my children interact and play with the myriad of toys they own. A long explanation of my design philosophy can be found on our FAQ page here. To summarize my philosophy, I found that the toys my children play with the most are the ones that do not limit their imagination. These are the toys that are not bound by specific story lines or predetermined outcomes and or endings. Therefore, my toy designs are more like the great / most popular toys of the past, the ones that stood the test of time. Toys like the hula hoop and the Frisbee. These toys were simply designed, but opened up a world of imaginative play. That to me, is what makes a great toy.
I recently received a comment from a guest named Funniey. Funniey described the evolution of toys in parallel with the evolution of automobiles, computers, and TVs. Where the technological advancements and availability of materials have improved all consumer products. Funniey’s conclusion was:
New strides in technology allowed [modern toys] more interactivity… and, sometimes, less imagination
Funniey’s comment made me question, is this interaction from a toy required to keep our 21st century kids interested? It is evident that the most sought after ‘toys’ this holiday season where electronics that are interactive, from iPhones and iPads to video gaming systems. But are these examples of great toys, or has the consistent integration of interaction found in today’s Modern Toy Design a detriment to our children? If these examples allowed for user programming and development of their own stories/games, I could see a greater value for these ‘toys’. But as they stand now, I see them as constricting our children’s imaginations. Isn’t it part of our jobs as parents to cultivate a child’s imagination? What do you think?