What was your favorite toy or game as a child?
As a child, I was more interested in crafts and creating than specific toys. I was more often covered in paint, glue and marker than not. I would use old cereal and cardboard boxes, duct tape, fabric and art supplies to create anything from beds and table/chair sets for my stuffed animals to castles and kingdoms for plastic characters. I did use Lego more to create my own designs rather than what was on the cover of the box
Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry?
Between my sophomore and junior year in High School, I took an architecture class at Columbia University in NYC. I was surprised and inspired by the realization that math and engineering concepts (my academic strengths) can actually work with art and design (my passion). This past summer, I shadowed at an industrial design firm and again, saw how form and function are both important when thinking about designing products we use everyday. At no point in my education had I been taught about how these two seemingly separate disciplines can really be combined. So this summer, I convinced my younger brother to join forces with me and we came up with a product that integrates math and science concepts with art, design and open-ended imaginative play (STEAM). Our architecture kits are made with 3D printed connectors (yes-we make them for every kit) and geometric cardboard shapes that children can use to create anything they can imagine. We engineered the connectors to fit most single-ply cardboard so kids never run out of raw material and also learn about creative repurposing.
What trends do you see in toys or games that excite or worry you?
I can’t say that I’m old enough to see real trends over time but I know that in my family, we almost never played video games and electronics. When we went to a restaurant or traveled, my mom packed playdough and crayons, not an ipad. One thing I’ve noticed recently while traveling is that everyone, even adults are plugged in to their devices and plugged out of reality. They are sitting and walking around looking at their devises, typing, talking and laughing at this little thing in their hands instead of the person next to them. As a teenager, of coarse I do that too, but I think its very important to balance virtual reality with “real reality”
There seem to be a lot of new toys that promote coding, CAD, creating virtual worlds, and computer engineering, which is also very cool but I don’t think it should replace using your hands.