- YOU can design a toy or game
- Think beyond the path
- Come up with lots of ideas before settling in on one
- Make new connections
- Pitch It!
4. Rolling Hairball Poster (Click Title to Download PDF of Poster)
I use this poster to to demonstrate how a toy/game concepts can come from everyday life. (As well as show how you can present your concept for the fair). I tell the story about the time my cat dragged a ball of yarn up to my room and left it for me to find when I woke up. I associated the ball of yarn with the cat which made me think of a hairballs. Then I imagined the hairball had a personality and could engage in play. I gave it a face and attributes and voila—The Incredible Rolling Hairball was created! I encourage kids to combine objects, words, textures and materials visually and see what kinds of combinations they come up with.
My game StoryPlay is also another avenue that helps kids make connections between new things. One of the games in StoryPlay has players randomly selecting 3 tiles and then arranging them in any order they want and then drawing what that object/person/place/thing might look like. Because you never know what words/images you are going to get, it breaks you out of your conventional thought patterns and leads you to create NEW combinations that can lead to a new toy/game concept.
Gina Manola is an inventor and the owner of CALICO, an award-winning design studio located in Urbana, IL. Gina has developed successful products working with the leading children’s book illustrators, museums and licensed brands in the world. Her games are Parent’s Choice Award and Oppenheim Toy Portfolios Best Toy Award winners. Her work has been honored by “100 Best Children’s Products” and “10 Best Socially Responsible Products.” In 2009, she published “Notable Novelists™”celebrating important 20th century authors and is launching a new creative play line playPlay™ in stores this summer. Gina received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a member of Women in Toys and actively involved in promoting the Young Inventor Challenge program by working with kids to help them bring their own toy or game concepts to life.