Curiositoys Curio Pod: Powered by Imagination
Curiositoys Curio Pod: Powered by Imagination
The Curiositoys™ Curio Pod is a 3-D canvas for creative expression & sturdy structure for open-ended imaginative play, made in America.
The Curiositoys™ Curio Pod is a 3-D canvas for creative expression & sturdy structure for open-ended imaginative play, made in America. Read more
About this project
Will the Curiositoys™ Curio Pod Save America?
The Curiositoys™ Curio Pod is powered by the imagination of children. Giving them the exercise they need to develop creative minds.My name is Dave, designer, artist, and doting dad. Inspired by my daughter, I designed the Curiositoys™ Curio Pod to encourage the creative nature of children.
Creativity is vital for the development of happy, healthy kids and their future success. Let’s work together to reverse a trend that began in 1990 of declining creativity scores (CQ) for American children and prepare them for success in the information age. After all, creativity is the most valuable proficiency in determining future success according to recent employer polls.
Children need toys like the Curiositoys™ Curio Pod to help them on their way. My daughter and all the children that tested the Curio Pod discovered the magic of this toy. The Curio Pod transcends the world of toys and becomes an intimate space, personal treasure and focal point of day-to-day play activities that grows with the child. By making it their own, it becomes a source of pride to children.
There are no flashing lights, no cartoon characters, no batteries required and no instructions. Free to express themselves creatively, children invest hours decorating and inventing ways to play with the Curio Pod.
Curiositoys™ Curio Pod is an innovative toy designed to provide value to children and parents on many levels.
• Encouraging kids with open-ended toys to use their imaginations in play.
• Inspiring kids to express themselves through creative arts & crafts projects.
• Engaging kids to stay focused on self-directed play for longer periods of time.
• Captivating kids to learn to be creative problem solvers.
• Offering parents engaging, healthy alternatives to screen time.
• Protecting natural resources and the environment for future generations.
• Supporting American workers and American manufacturers.
Our toys are made in America, hand assembled, kind to the environment and give kids the opportunity for hundreds of hours of healthy, creative, imaginative fun. (Scroll down below the Rewards to learn more about Metamorphic Toys and the Curio Pod)
Video Muisic: "Alive" by Jahzzar (http://betterwithmusic.com) Special Thanks to: Our Toy Tester Families, Mathew Koskinen, Koskinen Video Productions, David Gee, Central Package and Display, Custom Tube Company, Kiddywampus, Ittrium, Paul Markert, Markert Photography, Nicole Howard Claeson, Rachel Duff, Ravi Kalla, Kelly Lucente, Cary Berglund and Bruce Berglund
Metamorphosis of the Curiositoys™ Curio Pod
The Beginning of the Toy
I built the first Curio Pod for my daughter before she turned two. Watching her play with it over time convinced me that all children would benefit from this kind of toy.
During my daughter's preschool years I began sketching design ideas for a Curio Pod product. I also built her several more toys from cardboard and wood, including the first Mailbox and Silly Signs, toys.
The Vision of Abstract Creative Play
My curious nature has led to a lifetime of learning including art school and a twenty-plus year career in product design. My years designing playground equipment provided insight into child development and becoming a father taught me even more. What grabbed me was the ability of children to project their imaginations onto ordinary objects to create nearly anything they needed for play. This inspired the Curiositoys™ vision of abstract creative play.
“Abstract Creative Play” happens when visually exciting abstract forms inspire more creative adventurous play. Giving children the freedom to project their imaginations onto these forms opens up a myriad of play possibilities. The abstract geometric form of the Curio Pod arouses the curiosity of children inviting the exploration that sparks creativity.
Building a Toy Company from Scratch
There would be no Metamorphic Toys without the first Curio Pod, but I felt it was important to walk before I ran. So I decided to launch the start-up Metamorphic Toys (video) with the relatively simple Mailbox and Silly Signs (video) products. This approach allowed me to learn about the retail toy industry while building the basic production and distribution infrastructure for Metamorphic Toys. We are still in the start-up phase, but the product concept and infrastructure are sound.
The unanimously positive response we’ve received for the Mailbox and Silly Signs confirmed my belief that kids, parents and teachers (video) love these open-ended creative toys and persuaded me to move forward with the Curiositoys™ Curio Pod.
I began the design process for the Curio Pod in earnest last spring exploring several configurations and construction details. After a few models and nearly a dozen hand made prototypes I worked with our manufacturer to cut pre-production prototype blanks and assembled them for testing.
With a reliable manufacturer (video) and wonderful hand assembly shop here in Minnesota that I am proud to call my partners, we are ready to begin setting up production of the Curio Pod.
Curio Pod Toy Testing
Volunteer families tested the Curio Pod for eight weeks or more and we returned to film their reactions. The positive results were beyond my high expectations. In eight short weeks kids and parents fell in love with the Curio Pod, much to the surprise of the parents.
Toy Tester Parent Quotes
“Since she’s had this toy about two months, she goes to it all the time so right there is a huge value. She goes back to it time and time again.”
“Our neighbors saw their daughter playing with it and said ‘we want one’. Not, what does it cost, but ‘we want one.’ And I’m sure if I said the price was 80 dollars they wouldn’t have flinched.”
“She’ll probably have a good year or two with this toy and I know it’s going to hold up. It’s super durable.”
“We’ve played with it a multitude of ways: as an art easel, as our house, she likes to toss things through the top hole especially or through the side hole, so it’s been good hand eye coordination practice for us.”
“He likes to make it his little hideaway hut or little nap house or when friends come over he likes to brag about it. it’s a showcase item for him.”
“it’s so light and portable at the same time it’s durable. I’ve slammed that door against things as I’m moving it and nothing, it’s still perfectly fine and it can take a bit of a beating.”
The Heart of the Curio Pod – “Play Value”
The goal in product design is value. When designing toys the goal is called “Play Value” and is evaluated by asking the five questions below.
Here is how the Curio Pod stacks up to these questions based on feedback and observations from the volunteer test families.
1. How many different ways can a child play with the Curio Pod?
- The Curio Pod may be an individual or collaborative art project.
- It has been used as a puppet theater.
- Served as a toy box and treasure chest.
- Transformed into a restaurant for eating lunch and snacks.
- Became a playhouse for stuffed animals and dolls.
- The Curio Pod may be a space suit, robot body, large dress or vehicle.
- Two children used the Curio Pod roof as a slide.
- It was also used like parallel bars for doing dips.
- The Curio Pod makes a great basketball hoop or soccer goal.
- It is a cozy place to take a nap or read or sing songs.
- The Curio Pod may be a space capsule, lunar module or time machine.
Okay, there’s more, but you get the idea.The possibilities are endless.
2. What kinds of play do children engage in and what are the benefits?
The Curio Pod elicits creative expression and self-driven, open-ended imaginative pretend play recommended by early childhood education professionals for healthy social, emotional and cognitive development. The Curio Pod may be played with individually or interactively in small groups. Children engage in active, self- driven play, as opposed to passive or directed play.
3. How long will children spend playing with the Curio Pod continuously?
Our families reported that their 3 – 6 year olds would spend from ten minutes to over one hour playing with the Curio Pod continuously.
4. How many children can play with the toy at the same time?
We saw children happily playing with the Curio Pod alone, but also saw groups of two, three and four children playing or decorating collaboratively or in parallel. We also heard stories of parent and child interactive play and collaborative decorating.
5. How long will children keep returning to play with the Curio Pod?
The younger children played with the Curio Pod every day and older kids played with the toy at least four times a week for eight weeks and counting. Most of our parents guessed that the kids would stay interested in the Curio Pod for six months to three years. My daughter had the very first Curio Pod for seven years and would probably still drag it out if we hadn’t laid it to rest.
The Bottom Line
While our Everythingland™ Mailboxes and Silly Signs have won several awards and received much praise form bloggers and customers, we do not have the budget for sales and marketing for sustainable production and distribution of the Curio Pod. Financially my family has invested as much as we are able to. I need your help to purchase tooling and the initial production run of our best toy yet, the Curio Pod, so that we may continue the journey.
I like the idea of Kickstarter, where one is able to build a ground swell of support by word of mouth from parents and caring wise adults that recognize the natural gift that young children have to imagine and create. The creative minded Kickstarter audience is a perfect place to start and with your help we will build a sustainable movement offering healthy fun toys for kids begining with the Curiositoys™ Curio Pod.
Based on the success of this project I have dozens more ideas for open-ended creative toys I would like to introduce. The success of the Curio Pod will determine the future of Metamorphic Toys.
I hope this video conveys to you the magic that happens between the Curio Pod and young children and that you will help us make the Curiostoys™ Curio Pod a reality for children everywhere.
Risks and challenges
MANUFACTURING: Continuous Improvement
Our current manufacturer of Everythingland™ Mailbox and Silly Signs products is well established and will stamp out the blanks for the Curio Pod at an economical cost. Our current assembly shop will continue to assemble and package our products. We currently have the ability to produce the Curio Pod along with our other products. To become sustainable our production volume needs to increase to cover design, marketing, legal, warehouse and shipping expenses as we continue to streamline our product assembly process by improving fixtures and facilities.
Our manufacturer has already reviewed the finished design and produced prototype blanks cut out on the design table. I have begun to build assembly fixtures for production hand assembly. We will refine the fixtures throughout the hand assembly process and build new ones if it will help to streamline future production runs.
While the Kickstarter project is live I will complete the design of the color carton label, carton printing, assembly instructions and review the final design drawings one last time.
When the Kickstarter project concludes and we have met our goal we will submit an order to our manufacturer for stamping out the corrugated cardboard blanks, tooling and carton printing plates. It will take two to four weeks to build the tooling and printing plates and an additional three to six weeks to produce 2,500 sets of blanks minimum. The entire process will take five to ten weeks.
Color printed labels will be ordered concurrently for the carton that will be finished in two weeks and ready to be used in the stamping process of making the cartons.
Structural paper tubes will be ordered from our local manufacturer which will take less than six weeks to produce and do not require further assembly.
We will work with our assembly shop to schedule the hand assembly and packaging process upon delivery of the blanks and cartons. It will take the assembly shop about one week to assemble and package 500 units so 2,500 units will take five to eight weeks accounting for scheduling delays.
During the assembly process we will submit samples to our independent product safety-testing lab for approval. It will take about three to four weeks to run all of the tests.
We can begin shipping Curio Pod rewards twenty weeks after the successful completion of the Kickstarter project. The most economical shipping service available to us for an individual Curio Pod package is USPS Standard Post, which takes one to two weeks to deliver in the contiguous United States.
MARKETING: Overcoming the Entertainment Paradigm
Finding the right marketing approach to tell our story to parents about the value of Curiositoys™ Curio Pod is a challenge. Infatuation with technology and popular toy marketing has led many to believe that toys should entertain children with flashing lights, sound chips or video screens. We need to build awareness of how developmentally healthy the Curio Pod is and show parents that kids are thrilled by the prospect of filling up a three dimensional blank canvas and inventing ways to play with their personal creation.
PERCEPTION: Overcoming the Plastic Paradigm
Corrugated cardboard is generally perceived as an expendable packaging material. Our challenge is to show people that through material selection and design details the Curio Pod (and future products) is amazingly sturdy and will hold up over time.
SHIPPING: Planning for the Future
Shipping lightweight relatively large products is surprisingly expensive. Our packages are strategically sized to economize on shipping costs. We have learned a great deal about shipping our type of product, but with increased volume we will realize greater efficiencies. Our plans for the future include setting up regional assembly operations to decrease overall shipping costs and leave a smaller footprint.
COMMITMENT: Passionate Belief in Creative, Open-Ended Toys
I have twenty-plus years of experience in product design including manufacturing knowledge and involvement in product marketing. Passion and determination to make this project succeed will drive me to find the right people and resources to make the Curiositoys™ vision a reality.
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