Characteristics For A Good Toy

Trying to find the perfect toy for your child can easily be overwhelming, especially with the abundance of the many toys and games for kids. So what makes a good toy? What are children going to learn from playing with this game? Here is a simple graph of what you should look for in a toy. Any other characteristics you’d like to add?

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Characteristics For A Good Toy


Revisiting Classic Fun Toys: Furby

OK. We know that the Furby has a contested place in history of classic fun toys. It is, to this day, the best selling toy in toy history. Furbies come in a variety of colours and personalities. Between 1998 and 2001, 40 million Furbies were sold. Furbies also got very expensive, very fast. Originally priced at 35 $, their value climbed up to several hundred dollars during the Christmas season.

What was Furby?

Furbies are round, plushy, electronic toys. They looked like a cross between an owl and a potato, with large round eyes, and even larger ears. They also spoke their own exclusive language of called Furbish. Essentially, Furby was the first domestic robot sold to kids, and it was wrapped up in a furry and colourful exterior.




Why we loved it?

Back in the day, we seemed to think that Furbies were pretty cool. Besides being the first domestic robot, Furbies came with different personalities. Their personalities did vary according to how you treated them. You also had to wean them off of their pre-programmed language Furbish, and teach them English. Despite all the attention and care that they required, training a Furby was very rewarding. If you trained them properly, they became loving and affectionate creatures who interacted with you in English. Furby also taught us how to solve problems with gentleness and love. The only way to properly re-train them was to hold them and pet them on the head to show them affection.

What happened to Furbies?

Giving Furby affection was fun at first, but they also became very demanding if they weren’t shown instant affection upon demand. They were needy, and if they didn’t get the attention they requested, their attitude would erupt and wreak havoc on us. Many of us came to resent our Furbies. However, Furby was revived in 2005 and became a classic fun toy. They are now pre-programmed for English, and Furbish is now a dead language. Furby has also gained popularity among members of the hacking community, who often program them to do inventive things.


Marissa Cristiano, Guest Blogger,

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Do Our Favorite Childhood Toys Foreshadow Our Careers?

A BBC article written by Vanessa Barford about the role children’s toys play in career choices made me think back to my own childhood favorites.  After 5 minutes of sifting through memories of Hawaii barbie, Parcheesi, Skip It Ropes and magic kits, I finally remembered it: my dress-up trunk.  It was a big wooden box that had been hand painted by my mom (who, by the way, has an imagination that could rival Willy Wonka’s).  On the trunk’s front panel, she had painted a beautiful princess with the head of a lioness.  Regal and foreboding, the princess stood proudly in the middle of an enchanted forest; her expression was frightening and inviting all at once, and I remember believing that when I opened the trunk, I was entering her world.  Thinking back to the countless hours spent creating characters and concocting elaborate stories, I can’t help but laugh at the fact that my favorite childhood past time did, in fact, foreshadow my career.

I became a professional dancer when I was 17, and from that point on, my livelihood depended on how well I could embody a character and convey a story to an audience.  In my 30s, I entered the business world where my dress-up skills are decidedly less useful. However a healthy imagination and creative thinking are scarce resources in the corporate realm, so in some sense, my days of dress-up have given me something of an edge.


Curious about whether the play-things of my colleagues also foreshadowed their career choices, I approached Frank, MakerBloks’ founder and CEO to ask him what his favorite toy was as a kid.  He puzzled over the answer, but eventually it came: “my micro-machines.”  After a quick Google search, I recognized the itty-bitty cars that were peddled on commercials by the speed-talking dad.

I didn’t see an immediate connection between Frank’s boyhood obsession and his current career, but after a few minutes Frank walked back over to my desk with a guilty smile on his face. “I remembered another thing that I really, really loved.  When I was 6, me and my friend David used to recreate the Ghost-Busters outfits.  We designed jackets and built proton packs, we even made a ghost-sucking machine out of Legos.  We built the proton guns out of whatever we could find around the house, I remember using twirly whirly sound hoses for the nose of the guns! When we had our outfits on, we would go around the neighborhood and burst into depanneurs, bakeries, whatever shops were open, and we’d loudly vanquish their ghosts!  We must have looked insane.”  So it turns out Frank’s career does echo his childhood games.  Frank is a builder and a maker.  Sure his tools have changed from twirly whirlies and Legos to 3D printers and… well, still Legos, but he was a maker as a kid and he’s a maker now.

Sophie, our Community Manager took a pause to remember her most prized girlhood possession.  “Barbie…yep, definitely Barbie.”  When I probed her to tell me what she used to do with her Barbie, Sophie began to recount all the dolls, bears, and action figures that Barbie would hang out with.  It turns out Sophie’s Barbie was something of a socialite!  It’s not a long leap from socialite Barbie to Community Manager.  She then developed a passion for science and had her entire room decorated with planets and stars. Sophie’s penchant for building followings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and pretty much every online outlet, makes her our socialite of social media.


The funny revelations about how each of our childhood games foreshadowed elements of our careers could likely be found in most people’s lives.  We’d love to hear about your favorite childhood toys and games and how they connect to your work today.  At MakerBloks, our job is to provide a learning game for your child that inspires their mind to work creatively and resourcefully.  Our hope is that the next generation of artists, scientists, engineers and techies will think back to their childhood MakerBloks, and realize that they were a small clue to a big future.


Malika Srivastava

Love, The MakerBloks Builders

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Revisiting Classic Fun Toys: The Tamagotchi


In case you don’t, here’s a recap. Tamagotchis looked like small eggs, that you could attach to a keychain with a digital screen and three buttons. Inside the digital screen lived a small creature who had been deposited from an alien species. Now, because you purchased this Tamagotchi from Walmart, it was your duty to raise this foreign creature to adulthood and independence. You probably owned one and if you didn’t you, probably begged your parents for one.


Tamagotchis had great colourful designs and were probably one of the first handheld devices ever made. Tamagotchis themselves needed their owner to survive and made them feel needed. Parents loved them because they were fun toys teaching children about responsibility: In order to keep the pet alive, it had to be fed, taken care of and toilet trained. Essentially, kids learned parenting.


As kids, we loved our Tamagotchi, and we had to take them everywhere with us or else in half a day they would die. This became the undoing of Tamagotchis. Teachers and educators became worried about Tamagotchis as a distraction for children. Educators also feared kids becoming territorial and having ownership fights at school over Tamagotchis. Although they became depopularized in North America, the Tamagotchi brand is still in existence and has produced quite a few models since. Newer versions have improved the “work/ life” balance of having a Tamagotchi. Kids can turn the Tamagotchi off while they go to school, without the Tamagotchi dying (kind of like sending your kids to daycare while you go to work during the day).

The possibilities for Tamagotchis have also expanded. They can now “bump” with other Tamagotchis to text, and even go on dates. More bumping results in more points which allows the Tamagotchis to purchase jewellery and shoes. Their quality of life has also improved. Now, they can enter their own world, and no longer live in their own self-contained vacuum. If you don’t take enough care of your Tamagotchi they can even pack up and move house if they want to.


Marissa Cristiano, Guest blogger,

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