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Postby lovethelittlerocket » February 4th, 2005, 9:35 pm


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There are a lot of different kinds of toys out there obviously, but there are just so many plastic toys (PTs) being manufactured that it's kind of gross.

Image

Many of these toys are geared into some kind of marketing campaign, designed for disposibility, and thrown away or destoyed in relativly short order. Happy meal toys are the perfect example of what I'm talking about, but I think the same argument (about being disposable) applies to barbies and action figures, playskool full-size doll houses (like the priate ship above) and bigwheels.

I'm not really comfortable about the fact that PTs are the kinds of toys we love to give children, and collect as adults. The main thing that bothers me is the fact that these toys are made of plastic--waste plastic becomes a nasty environmental problem, because it takes forever to break down, and as far as I understand (correct me if I'm wrong) recycled plastic is seriously difficult to work with. There is also the problem of plastic requiring huge ammounts of petro-chemicals to produce in the manufacturing process.

I'd like to see another material come into play, something that somehow fits the character of these toys. I can imagine something decomposable and impregnated with tree seeds. (although I hate to imagine the sad day after spring cleaning when a childs dead toys are buried in a mass grave and watered, but I guess the resulting garden might be something...)

Another thing about PTs, which is evident in the johnny voodoo stuff above is that at best PTs are something that sparks the imagination and creates some movement or humor--but most of these crumby cheap plastic toys were never created for a human purpose. they exist to sell something else, or just sell themselves, to be collected, or for a cheap gumball machine distraction.

how would you get away from that? is it even possible to give a toy a purpose?

are creative toys--such as legos, paints, clay, etc. different from cheap plastic toys? how?

is it better when toys actually engage the kids who plays with it?


....
LTLR

Postby bigshottoyworks » February 5th, 2005, 9:59 am


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Thanks!

the toy market is in a flux, there is no HOT toy this year, everyone is panicking. the stuff that is getting most play is the "DESIFNER to" stuff.
look at www.toytokyo.com and www.kidrobot.com

those toys are becoming very popular with collectors. also people like me who are in their 30s and have kiids want to get their kids "cool "stuff not just teh weekly elmo or barbie......
It is a huge looooong subject I will try to get back to it but now have to get all my stuff ready for toyfair. booth 5854 (in teh designer toy isle)...


traisn are pretty sweet wait till you see what kind of shows and product we have next!


check www.theshowroomnyc for a good gallery layout.....

let me know what you think!!


K

Postby bigshottoyworks » February 5th, 2005, 10:05 am


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i did not catch the post above...

you have to realise that kids will play with sticks and Mud and the box is usually more fun than the toy that it came in.. that is teh big secret of the toy industry...
toys are marketed as disposable items
and there would be no money made if they could not re-hash barbie or GiJoe every earr so youca "collect tehm all".....
New materiials are always explored but as crappy as you think some of that stuff is it needs to pass a lot of tests befor it goes to market... things like breakage,stresspoints mold, choling hazard and small parts, are really tough obticles when you are tryingto pass anew material..

the only real way to create meaningfull objects for children is to be involved in their development the way none of us really have time to...

Postby ykh » February 8th, 2005, 5:38 pm


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"but there are just so many plastic toys (PTs) being manufactured that it's kind of gross."

iirc Little Tikes owes some success to big football shaped toy chest. made from regrind. so ugly brown color from mixed regrind not an issue. smart use of mostly waste plastic.

instead of material, what of the Toy? does it have a life - a meaning - beyond childhood? arent memories associated w it? dont parents save them? how? where? why? and what becomes of that toy? if its passed to another child, a grandchild, is it a consumable? plastic can be extremely durable. if used to advantage, isnt it a better solution? really nice plastic toy can last many years.

is plastic the problem? or is it consumer behavior? reinforced by shoddy goods manufactured cheaply. their intention to spur replacement purchasing. fuel the fads.

Postby lovethelittlerocket » February 10th, 2005, 3:10 am


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ykh: you hit the nail on the head--"shoddy goods manufactured cheaply."

It doesn't matter if the toys are paper or plastic or what; the waste of material and energy is not the only thing that grosses me out, but the way kids become accustomed through these kinds of products to the cycle of manufactured goods through their life: desire and disposal.

Here's bigshot:
the only real way to create meaningful objects for children is to be involved in their development the way none of us really have time to...


do none of us really have time to take with children?

I don't think this is actually true--maybe we choose to use our time that doesn't leave time for the right kind of involvement in the lives of children, but It's also possible that this could (maybe should) change.

I'm still a student, so feel free to call me idealistic, but I'm trying to imagine something that positively affects consumer behavior. I'm interested designing to effect soceity--honestly, it seems impossible to make anythying that doesn't have an effect. Aren't we all kind of interested in changing consumer behavior (even if that only means making them stop at nothing to get ahold of our product?)

So what I'm thinking about doing here is to come up with something that targets parrents' behavior more than the behavior of children. It's probably going to be some kind of early childhood product, something that attempts to create an awareness of the things that we give to children, the materials and the lifecycle of those things.

I've come up with some ideas, but all of them have their flaws:

a bigwheel made from a more durable plastic (I'm thinking the kind of material used in car bodies these days) with a white matte washable finish that accepts crayon or other media--something that could be originally attractive to parrents because of it's sleek white profile, and to children for it's expressive potential, and a solution to the disposablity issue by being something that younger sisters and eventually the kids next door will want to color on and ride. It would be more exprensive to make than the bigwheels on the market, so you'd have to style it for that higher-priced market, but that might work out as a incentive to reuse rather than disposabliity.

another idea is a set of clayworking tools scaled for kids. I could focus on the sculpting tools and the rolling machine (not sure what its called but it re-claims clay, makes it workable again...) although it's meant to relcaim waste, this isn't so much a replacement for a disposable, except in the sense that kids who are hooked on playing with toys that allow them to be creative aren't going to be hooked on toy fads, at least in theory.

the best idea so far though is probably something like a crib--or it would replace a crib (which is definately something that is disposable; I've seen them construced out of that same tubing as lawn chairs) that either becomes a play structure/fort for the kid as it grows up, or a piece of furniture, or both.

I'd obviously love any feedback on the ideas here, but I'd also like to hear what you think about the culture of childrearing, and to know if I'm making any sense with all this buisness about design and the effects on parrents' behavior.

....
LTLR

Postby ykh » February 10th, 2005, 9:04 am


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"come up with something that targets parrents' behavior more than the behavior of children."

children have to learn from someone. :)

Postby bluegrrrl » February 11th, 2005, 7:34 am


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ykh wrote:children have to learn from someone. :)


and it's their parents that buy the toys, anyway :|

Postby purplepeopledesign » February 11th, 2005, 1:47 pm


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Parents buy toys to escape the whining. The smartest parents make sure that the kids less exposed to the advertising. No ads, no demand. No demand, no begging. No begging, no frustration. No frustration, no purchase.

:)ensen.
Those who claim to be making history are often the same ones repeating it.

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