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Animal Stackers

Winner - Gold

Competition: Spark:Product
Designer: Dan Nguyen
Design Type: Children's Toy

Team Members:
Dan Nguyen / Stanford University
Melanie Nacouzi / Stanford University

Walk into any toy store and it is immediately clear where you go to buy toys for boys and toys for girls. Whether it’s by color, type, or subject material, the toys are organized in such a way that divides the gender line. Certain themes become pronounced in each of these sections; for example, boys like building things and tearing them down while girls enjoy telling a story and role playing. The Animal Stackers toy offers a simple and elegant solution that bridges these gender boundaries and encourages children to play with each other.

Animal Stackers are animal-shaped building blocks for both boys and girls. The toys are designed so that they can be stacked together in a variety of ways, such as to form a larger shape or to build the tallest tower. Each block comes in the form of a familiar animal to promote imaginative play. The pieces are colorfully painted to represent a multitude of different animals from insects to land animals to sea creatures; more than enough for each child to have a favorite! Because of the collaborative nature of the toys, children are encouraged to work together and play together. From an parental standpoint, the stacking toys teach fine motor control along with important concepts such as balance and spatial logic. The recognizable forms allow for their use in identification games during child development. Most importantly, parents no longer have to buy separate toys for their boys and girls.

By crafting them from only renewable wood sources, Animal Stackers will offer a sustainable alternative to plastic toys. The blocks will be an all natural product colored with non-toxic paints and dyes so children of all ages can play with them. Animal Stackers are educational and fun, a toy that boys, girls, and parents can agree on.