About this project
Tobo Track is an exciting new way for kids (aged 3 and up) to build roads and tracks for toy cars and trains. It is based on multiples of one innovative simple piece that can be joined together in hundreds of ways to create a track that goes anywhere you want it to. Each of these unique hexagonal pieces has a straight section, a curved section and an intersection – and can be connected to any edge of any other piece with its innovative puzzle-like connector. It's a fun way to use creativity while playing with toy cars and trains. You can use all your favorite miniature vehicle toys on Tobo Track (such as Hot Wheels®, Thomas and Friends™, Brio®, Matchbox® and more), and an adapter piece lets you directly connect wooden train tracks and LEGO® blocks!
It's as much fun to build as it is to drive on, and it's not just your kids who will love playing with it. Go on! Have some fun with them :)
Tobo Track is the debut toy from Tobo Toys, a company founded on Healthy Play, Sustainable Production and Educational Value.
Tobo Track was entered in some award competitions very early on to see what some toy professionals thought. Below are the awards that it has won so far:
- Oppenheim Toy Portfolio: Gold Seal.
- Oppenheim Toy Portfolio: SNAP Award (Special Needs Adaptable Product).
- Academics’ Choice: Brain Toy Award.
- Parents’ Choice: Silver Honor.
- Creative Child Magazine: Creative Play of the Year Award.
- Creative Child Magazine: Toy of the Year Award.
Apart from the fact that playing with toy vehicles is so much fun on its own, there are so many other reasons that make Tobo Track so special.
Creative Play. While other track toys are generally just single sections (straight or curved), Tobo Track allows you to make decisions and be creative with every piece you lay down. Many options are available every time you add a piece, so the track will look different every time you play with it. It's also great for group play, where two or more can build a track together.
AMAZING Material. Tobo Track is made from 100% wood material that has been injection molded. At first you might not realize how crazy this is, but I can almost guarantee that you've never seen anything like this before. There's a section below that deals exclusively with describing this material and why it's so great.
Use Tobo with other toys:
All sorts of vehicles can drive on Tobo Track, including Hot Wheels®, Thomas and Friends™, Brio®, Matchbox® and any other vehicle that is less than 1.5" wide.
New adapter! Using the adapter piece, Tobo Track can connect to many of the toys your kids already have! (Lego® and Thomas the Train™ - more on this below)
It helps kids learn! Tobo Track helps improve spatial awareness and dexterity (in putting the pieces together), and numbers on the connecting edges can be used for numeracy games, simple addition, dice play and more. It's also great for playing in groups, promoting teamwork and sharing.
Designed in Canada. Made in the USA. I wanted to keep this toy as safe and sustainable as possible. Producing it in North America was the best way to ensure a high quality product, and also helps keep our economy alive.
While there are so many options for putting the track together, it's really simple to do. Check out the video below to see how it works.
The possibilities are endless. The track can loop back over itself, go straight, take curves and the pieces can be laid down in any rotational position. Imagine a honeycomb... just put the pieces in any of the hexagonal spots of the honeycomb. See the video below for some of the type of track shapes that are possible.
Add Thomas the Train™ and LEGO® blocks to the track!
Tobo Track will come with a newly designed adapter. (This is what a good portion of the funding from this campaign will go towards.) This will allow it to join directly to wooden train tracks such as Thomas and Friends™, Brio®, Melissa and Doug®, Maxim™ and more. Once connected with the adapter, tracks from different toys can all be linked together in a mega-network! But wait... there's more! The adapter also attaches to LEGO® blocks so you can build bridges, buildings, and other additions to your track-town.
Whoa. Injection molded wood that contains NO plastics! Not even any plastic binders, epoxies, resins or glues. This is not your wood-plastic-composite patio deck stuff. This is truly something new. I didn't develop this material, but I sure knew that kids toys would be the perfect place to use it. Coming out of a university research project, and fully commercialized, this material could be the answer we've all been looking for to reduce the use of plastic and the dependency on oil that it perpetuates.
In simple terms, wood is made up of two components: cellulose and lignin. Cellulose is the fibre and lignin is the glue-like material that holds the fibres together. Cellulose is used for things like paper and cardboard. When paper is created, the cellulose is separated from the lignin and the lignin is either discarded or burned as fuel. The company that makes the material used in Tobo Track has found a way to process the lignin into having thermoplastic properties. This means it can be heated/melted, squished into a mold, and when it cools down it becomes hard and stable. Just like plastic. But it contains no plastic. Yay!
What does this mean to you? By supporting Tobo, you can feel great about helping bring a product into the world that is:
- safe for kids to play with, and even put in their mouth.
- sustainably produced, from a material that would otherwise be waste → this is called Up-Cycling.
- setting an example that there are natural alternatives to oil-based plastic.
Each edge has a number on it, from 1 to 6. They are there to help make numbers more familiar, and you can play tons of games with them. Here are a few examples:
- say the numbers as you drive across a connection.
- add numbers together when you drive across a connection. 2+5=7.
- add up all the numbers you drive across when going from one end of the track to another (or when driving a full loop).
- if you incorporate two dice when building the track, the numbers you roll are the edges that should be connected together. One roll for every piece that is put down. Then drive on the track you created.
- Inspire and help your kids to create new ways to use the numbers.
Until now, Tobo Track has come with optional green stickers to put on the raised portions of the track piece. Kind of like grass at the side of the road. For this campaign, graphic designer extraordinaire Jesse Mah has designed three new stickers to accompany Tobo Track. This accomplished Vancouver designer took inspiration from the repeating track piece shapes and translated them into abstract representations of three themes loved by children everywhere: Busy City, Ocean Penguins, and Bear Forest. This new sticker set is available in select reward levels.
Besides the joy of helping make Tobo Toys a reality, you'll also receive rewards for your support. I want to make sure you feel great about supporting Tobo, and have laid out some great reward levels for you to pledge at.
There are two main Tobo Track packs:
Tobo-15: This classic set comes with 14 track pieces, 1 adapter and 1 toy car (plus a green sticker set and a mesh cinch bag to carry it all in). Let your track builder imagination run wild!
Tobo-22: This mega-set comes with 20 track pieces, 2 adapters and 2 toy cars (plus a green sticker set and a mesh cinch bag to carry it all in). For the track tycoon, this expanded set lets you flex even more creative muscle.
Below are some of the Kickstarter-specific rewards that you won’t find elsewhere:
New custom sticker set: Add spice to your track with the three new sticker themes.
The K-Car returns: A custom, handmade wooden car in the shape of the Kickstarter “K”. This won’t ever be available again.
Tobo-METAL: Executive desktop toy! This set of 7 track pieces are machined out of solid Aluminum or Stainless Steel and come with a 5/8" polished ball bearing. This limited edition desktop mini-track is precision machined by CNC machine and will only be available during this campaign. Feel the weight of solid metal, and take some time to play during work. Reconfigure the track a bunch of different ways and roll the ball bearing around your creations.
I designed Tobo Track as an alternative way to play with the toy vehicles that I loved when I was a child. But I wanted the new and improved version. One where creativity and variety were possible. One that uses new technology in a familiar and understandable way. And it had to be a simple toy that was easy and fun for even young toddlers to play with. No lights, buzzers, sounds or screens. Just a good old get-on-the-floor-and-play-with-your-hands kind of thing. Welcome to Tobo Track :)
If you know someone who would be just as excited about Tobo Track as you are, please share our campaign with them. Click the buttons below, or use the "Share this project" button at the top. Thank you!
Tobo Track has come quite far already!
I have already paid for the main track piece mold and created an initial, small production run to get feedback from the market. The feedback has been that the price was too high ($50 for 12 pieces) and the offering needed that extra bit of incentive to really make it a winning product. So here are the two main goals of this campaign:
- The new adapter will really expand the usefulness of Tobo Track.
- By increasing the order quantity, the cost to produce will drop.
- This reduced cost means the price of Tobo Track in stores can come down, while still adding value with extra pieces plus the adapter.
That's what this kickstarter is all about. Help me get Tobo Track into the hands of kids everywhere!
How will the funds be spent?
If successfully funded, Tobo Toys will be able to pay for production tooling of the adapter, as well as a large enough order quantity to achieve favourable volume production pricing. This production run will be used to fulfil the pledge rewards, but further funds will be used for accessory items like packaging, cars, mesh bags, t-shirts, stickers, etc, as well as shipping costs. Any funds raised beyond those hard costs will go towards efforts to get Tobo Track into the portfolios of toy distributors and reps across North America
Your support is truly inspiring. Thanks in advance for taking the interest and time to check out this campaign and pledge your trust and support for a toy company you can believe in. It means a lot.
Founder of Tobo Toys
Risks and challenges
As a professional industrial designer, I work every day with clients to turn their ideas into product reality. For more information about me, click on "See full bio" in the blue box at the top of this page.
A lot of Kickstarter projects end up getting delayed due to production issues. I've already worked with the manufacturer that will produce these parts and know them to be not only trustworthy and punctual, but truly supportive. The ownership are personally interested in seeing Tobo Toys succeed and have offered both advice and expertise above and beyond what would be the norm. They have a long history of producing quality product for very large clients and delivering on schedule.
They have done exactly that already for Tobo Toys. Not only did they make the mold for the track piece and mold the parts in the first production run, but they have reserved space for Tobo Toys in their mold making queue and on their production line. The CAD file from which to make the mold for the adapter is in their hands already, so they are just waiting for the signal to put this plan into action! This factory is in Tennessee, not overseas, so there shouldn't be any surprises. Both the quality and schedule have been proven.
The design is already finished, production track pieces have been used and tested, and 3D printed versions of the adapter have been made and used extensively. Furthermore, Tobo Track meets all CPSC and CPSIA requirements for this kind of toy (for ages 3+).
There is nothing left to do except place the tooling and production order at the moment the funding is secured. I will do this as soon as the campaign looks like it will be fully funded, hopefully before it is over.
With the current timeline, parts will be produced by mid-June, allowing the rewards to be fulfilled before July. Summer fun awaits!
Now all optimism aside, the unexpected can still happen. If anything goes awry, I will maintain prompt communication with all backers and make sure that alternate solutions are found as quickly as possible. I'm here to make this work!
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