Kids/Babies Toys

XYZ shows that its hip to be square among building toys

The Premise. Children play with toys to learn fundamental skills they will need later in life. Building toys are particularly beneficial for kids, teaching them rules about structure and space. 

The Product. XYZ is a building toy comprised of squares that interlock together at their edges. They come in different colors and are large enough to easily create a life-size structure. Made of a recyclable material, these blocks are not only environmentally friendly, but also extremely strong. Part of the campaign features a creator standing on a four tile block with ease.

The Pitch. The campaign video for XYZ shows a few of the hundreds upon hundreds of ways that the tiles can be used. It shows the versatility of the product featuring smaller structures like laptop platforms or larger products like robots. The rest of the campaign goes into XYZ’s backstory of how the idea was conceived during a university project. This London-made product hopes to raise £30,000 in a 30-day Kickstarter campaign.

The Perks. For an early £20 or regular £25, backers can enjoy the basic cube kit which comes with six tiles. Different tiers offer different amounts of tiles. The Designers pack comes with 50 tiles of different colors for £50 early or £60 regularly. Higher tiers offer tiles that glow in the dark and change color. The highest tier of £500 give backers enough tiles to make a robot. All tiers have estimated delivery set in September 2014.

The Potential. The toy building market has seen numerous products looking for crowd funding recently. These products will either use three-dimensional blocks like CubeCraft and Snaak or will use a series of connectors, such as Strawbees. XYZ is unique in that it uses flat tiles which may not allow for the most elaborate of creations, but does allow for functional objects, such as the laptop stand. It also has potential for making larger structures, allowing children to really let their imaginations run wild in building forts for them to play inside of. All in all, this flatter product offers a new shape to the somewhat crowded toy building market.


Snaak is not your child’s building block toy

editors-choiceThe Premise. Lego lovers, rejoice! This new interlocking toy is going to be one of the coolest inventions of this century. Legos have held their place in the toy-building history, but it’s time to develop something new for a generation of kids who live on computers.

The Product. The Snaak is made up of 64 interlocking transparent cubes that can be arranged in thousands of different shapes. By twisting and turning each cube, you can create almost infinite designs, and transform the blocks from one shape to the other very easily. They used the number 64 because it is the first number that is both a perfect square (8×8) and a cube (4x4x4). This leads to the many, many possible combinations of shapes. They supply the mathematical forum that tells the user how there are more possible combinations of this toy than there are atoms in the universe.

The Pitch. This Kickstarter video is made entirely out of stop-motion, which is essentially a series of still photographs run together very quickly. This really shows off a lot of different shapes, and because it is a black background with just the product and the hands, it really showcases the Snaak. However, the photos move very fast, so it’s difficult to tell exactly how you would move the pieces to configure the shapes. That being said, it does make you want to get your hands on one and play with it.

The Perks. Beyond the $25 early bird special, you can donate $45 and get a multi-colored Snaak (and pick the order of the colors), and for $100, you receive five of the Snaak sets. This toy is complex enough that it will entertain kids who are used to playing computer games, and you won’t be losing all of the pieces. This is also great for adults who like to do Rubiks’ Cube type toys that love the complexity and kinesthetic properties of toys like this.

The Potential. Snaak has broad appeal and even some potential prototyping functionality beyond its entertainment value. It’s easy to see it showing up in a wide range of retailers from Brookstone to Toys R Us. One gets the sense that once people get a taste of Snaak, they may be back for seconds!