We’re living in a digital age and technology skills are crucial for children's successful futures. But with screens found everywhere and digital toys quickly becoming the norm, children need balance in their play if they are going to develop to their full potential. Simple toys made from natural materials can help kids stay grounded in the physical world, helping them develop all parts of their brains.
Wooden toys like our Akamina Puzzle allow kids to use their imaginations. We designed the Akamina Puzzle specifically to grow with your child and to encourage interaction. We’re thrilled that it boosts imagination, improves hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, and even helps children develop reasoning and problem-solving abilities. Playing with wooden toys like the Akamina Puzzle promotes countless skills that are valuable for both physical and emotional development.
The word Akamina is the Kootenai tribe's word for “valley”. In one of our favorite places on earth, Waterton Lakes National Park, there is a pass, a parkway, and a lake all called Akamina. The mountain scene represented in this puzzle was inspired by our love of the mountains and our time spent in this beautiful part of the world.
The Akamina Puzzle is more than a simple puzzle. Each piece has been carefully crafted and intentionally designed to give you and your child an awesome play experience. While each piece is designed to fit securely into the puzzle, the shapes were also specifically chosen to transition seamlessly into open-ended play. Don’t be surprised if your child ends up creating tunnels, tools, and other toys out of the pieces.
We designed the Akamina Puzzle with the wife-husband duo who own a graphic design studio called Fell. As engineers, we wanted to make sure the puzzle was durable, fun, and something that could help children develop STEM skills. Fell brought beautiful design to the table and, after 12 prototypes and tons of design decisions, we are so pleased with how it turned out.
The Akamina Puzzle grows with your child and is engaging for kids of all ages.
- Babies can play safely with the rounded pieces and uses water-based paint that is safe for even the smallest baby. The puzzle is made of solid beechwood, a material commonly used for wooden teethers. This means our puzzle will last through any amount of drool! Plus, the shapes of the pieces are designed for small hands.
- Toddlers can use the different shapes for creative, open-ended play and even start to piece the puzzle together.
- Older children can level-up by turning the pieces colored-side-down and putting it together using only the shapes as a guide.
- We’ve even had some heated competitions among adults timing each other to see who can put it together fastest. This puzzle is a win for the whole family!
Play at a young age helps children’s brain development. One study showed that girls are more likely to play with soft, plush, or fabric toys while boys play with hard, plastic, or wooden toys. This means boys typically get more practice with skills like spatial thinking and fine-motor development. And it’s no surprise that what our children play with then affects what they want to do when they grow up. #stemisforeveryone
We believe all children should be allowed and enabled to learn these skills, so we intentionally designed this puzzle to promote spatial thinking and to be gender-neutral. Then what’s with the pink sky, you ask? Women and men alike can enjoy the beauty of the mountains or a perfect pink sunset. The colors we chose reflect nature, not gender stereotypes.
We believe that, since the toys you buy for your child end up becoming part of your home décor, you should love the way they look. That’s why The Akamina Puzzle comes in three beautiful color options. When you support this campaign, you can select the color that best fits your style. The three options are:
Here are our favorite features of the Akamina Puzzle:
- It’s made of solid beech wood, the kind of wood most commonly used for teething toys because of its durability
- It’s painted on the top with water-based paint to be safe for little ones
- The rest of the wood is unstained, leaving a natural wood texture
- Because the paint is only on the top, you can turn the pieces over for a natural look and an extra challenging puzzle
- The high quality materials to ensure this toy will last through years of play
- The rounded edges are safe and comfortable to hold
- There are three color options to choose from
- The puzzle measures about 10 inches by 10 inches by 1 inch thick
- It comes in a canvas drawstring bag for easy clean up and storage
We are Amy and Charles Wood and we started Tinkerton together. We are both engineers and Amy recently finished a PhD. We love designing products that we feel have a positive social impact. We have two daughters, ages 3 and 1. Like all parents, we’re anxious and excited about their future and feel a strong need to fill the world with the kinds of toys we want them to grow up playing with. Already, we watch in amazement as our children interact with the Akamina Puzzle, us, and each other. Their creativity and imagination with the puzzle has exceeded our own plans for the design, and we are thrilled to see their minds at work when given an object that encourages creativity.
When we first became parents, we had such a hard time finding toys that were open-ended, gender-neutral, and beautiful. We loved the idea of wooden toys, but most were either out of our price range or made of a soft wood we knew wouldn’t last. We searched and searched for a great set of wooden blocks that weren’t covered in characters and that fit our budget. We simply couldn’t find them, so we designed our own! Our blocks have simple, modern, all-white letters and numbers. They are unstained, so they look beautiful whether they are stored neatly in the bag or strewn across the floor for all to see. After a year of success on Amazon, we are now ready to start offering more products that meet these same requirements of affordability, beauty, and fun.
This is the first release of the Akamina Puzzle, but we've had lots of feedback on our blocks. Here are some reviews:
We already have a manufacturing partner and have received production samples from them. Once the project is funded, production will begin and will be completed in September. The puzzles will then be shipped and should arrive here at the end of October. Fulfillment of orders will take place over the following weeks, making this a great option for Christmas gifts!
Flat lay photos by Ellie Cox
Lifestyle photos and video by Kelsey and Dylan Bitton
© 2018, All Rights Reserved. Afton Company LLC DBA Tinkerton Toys.
Risks and challenges
We've already had experience designing a product, partnering with a manufacturer, and delivering that product to customers so we are confident we can do it again.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)