I'm in the process of designing a toy and would love to know what you think of it

(27 Posts)
jaybeme Fri 27-Jun-14 11:59:25

I'm a mum to two girls, and I've designed a toy, which I've called Bildy, that encourages both imaginative & construction play. It basically consists of a set of interchangeable panels and connectors that hold the panels together. You can build lots of things from the same set such as a fort, castle, playhouse, car and lots of other possibilities. It's simple to put up and take down, and importantly for me to pack away when they've finished! I've only got it to prototype stage at the moment but would love other mums opinions of what they think of it - is it something you would buy? I'm planning on having a few different sized sets available which will enable you to build bigger dens and maybe a smaller version for older kids too

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Parietal Fri 27-Jun-14 12:15:20

looks nice - I always like den/construction toys.

my questions would be
- is it strong?
- is it easy to assemble? how do the yellow bits hold on to the panels?
- plain panels might be better than ones with specific designs because it gives the child more options
- panels with holes in (real windows) would be fun
- what happens if a child sits on the bonnet of the car? does it damage child or toy?

jaybeme Fri 27-Jun-14 12:35:26

Hi Parietal,

The panels are quite strong, they're not the usual corrugated cardboard, instead they're made of a really thick board much like you get in hard backed books but they're also not too heavy.

It's really easy to put together. Kids should be able to do simple structures by themselves, bigger more complicated structures would benefit from help from an adult. The panels are slotted together with the aid of specially designed connectors. They can hold several panels together at the same at different angles.

I was thinking of including some panels that would be covered with a blackboard paint so that children can add their designs rather than just scribbling over the panels. But would be interested to know if mums think that's right or not?

I definitely want to add cut outs to the windows and circles as port holes - I think it's be great

The structures won't hold the weight of a child really. They'll just fall apart as opposed to breaking, but full safety tests would have to be carried out before it goes to market.

Thank you so much for your feedback, I really appreciate it. I wasn't sure if anyone would respond.


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RevealTheHiddenBeach Fri 27-Jun-14 12:41:11

I would have LOVED that as a child... but I think I also would have tried to sit on it! If it just collapses that isn't too bad, but if sitting breaks it, then I foresee instant tears by boxing day...

some blackboard panels sounds great, but I also like the colourful panel designs, so maybe a combination?

Good luck!

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 27-Jun-14 12:44:12

I also think it is a good idea but that the final construction needs to be strong enough to be sat on/climbed on etc

jaybeme Fri 27-Jun-14 12:58:13

Thanks RevealTheHiddenBeach and ItsAllGoingToBeFine for your comments. Looks like I'm going to have a weekend of testing if it can be sat on! My children have never tried sitting on it so we'll have a go. Bicycle helmets, elbow protectors and cushions at the ready!

We had good fun last weekend making a puppet theatre out of it for my eldest daughters school project. They love it so are always happy to try out new things!

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WaffleWiffle Fri 27-Jun-14 13:05:27

Can it be an outdoor toy?

Or is the material not water proof?

ApplebyMennym Fri 27-Jun-14 13:09:08

I used to have something like this as a kid, can't remember what it was called. But it was plastic, and it could be climbed on, in fact that's what it was made for. We loved it!

Yours looks great, but I'm not sure how much fun kids could get out of building a car (for example) and not really being able to play with it..

STOPwiththehahaheheloling Fri 27-Jun-14 13:09:37

My 5 year old would love this! Would be great if was plastic (sturdy plastic) For outdoor use as we have a tiny house and outdoor use would be the only space ds could use it.

JuniperTisane Fri 27-Jun-14 13:09:55

It looks like a great idea and my children would love something like that but they will - will - bundle into it, roll over it, crawl though it, sit on it, fall on it, fight in it, etc etc etc.

It either has to withstand a reasonable amount of weight or collapse safely without risk of breaking it otherwise it won't last five minutes. And if it doesn't last five minutes I might as well get a big cardboard box.

minipie Fri 27-Jun-14 13:10:19

Looks like a good idea - reminds me of one of my favourite books as a child, Christina Katerina and the Box (she uses a big cardboard box to make loads of things).

It would be good if some of the panels were wipe able - a bit like whiteboard? - so you could draw your own designs on and then wipe off.
not sure about blackboard.

You could have some panels that have small holes in into which you could connect smaller accessories (eg a hole for a small flag, to make a castle; a couple of holes a wire rack can hang from, to make a shop)

STOPwiththehahaheheloling Fri 27-Jun-14 13:10:32

Could you incorporate wheels so it could be a moving truck with one of the panels as a seat?

petalunicorn Fri 27-Jun-14 13:11:58

I think it looks good but agree that a child needs to be able to sit on the car/tunnel.

STOPwiththehahaheheloling Fri 27-Jun-14 13:12:45

Ooh- you could have a series of stories that told of a child making and playing with each design. They could have an adventure in their car and then get home to their house and build a tunnel in the garden.

ApplebyMennym Fri 27-Jun-14 13:14:37

I've remembered what it was called! Quadro bastard expensive but still available.

Oldieandgoldie Fri 27-Jun-14 13:17:40

I remember the eighties one too, black plastic with yellow connectors; Questro? Quattro? Something like that. It could also be made into a slide.

jaybeme Fri 27-Jun-14 13:30:05

I really, really love the story idea - I think it would be great. A friend of mine's a fab childrens author so maybe .....

I've looked into the possibility of having add-ons like signs for shops etc which would fit into the connectors but having holes in the panels to hold things would be great too.

I've been trying to stay away from plastic as its more expensive and really bad for the environment but having it useable outdoors would be great. I hate having lots of plastic toys in the garden as often the kids won't use them. It's great to be able to just set something up when its needed and put it away after.

Which do you think is more appealing - having illustrated panels that can be interchanged to create different structures or leave the panels plain (which is far more cost effective and can be drawn on) or plastic panels which would have to be plain and just let the child use their imagination?

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STOPwiththehahaheheloling Fri 27-Jun-14 13:34:57

I like the idea of illustrated panels personally. With maybe one blackboard panel for dcs to get creative with.

" A friend of mine's a fab childrens author so maybe ....."

It's fate! grin

Parietal Fri 27-Jun-14 13:41:24

quadro was fab, but much more about building climbing frames than houses (at least for me).

BrieAndChilli Fri 27-Jun-14 13:42:46

E had something as a child which was plastic tubes and panels and joints whic clicked together, but it could be climber on, it also came with wheels to make cars etc, you could make a slide etc oh and it also came with a plastic cover that made it into a house type thing

jaybeme Fri 27-Jun-14 13:55:33

This definitely wouldn't be capable of being used as a climbing frame type toy. It's more for creating den type structures to play/hide/sleep! inside and also more importantly for children to use their imagination to create their own structures out of it. But you're all right in that I have to look into the safety issue of children who do want to climb on top hmm

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allotmentgirl82 Sat 05-Jul-14 21:23:36

Your toy looks brilliant. I'm attending a course at the moment to hopefully help me set up my own traditional toy shop. I would love to stock your toy in the future once I've opened the shop (if possible). I want to stock toys that inspire children and are imaginative. I don't want to stock any toys that use batteries.

jaybeme Sun 06-Jul-14 13:09:23

Thanks allotmentgirl82, really glad you like it.

I've entered a competition which will hopefully help me to get the product into production. It would be great if you could vote for me (and anyone else) - maybe even give me 5 stars in the rating? wink www.bit.ly/bildy

Your toy shop sounds very exciting - I wish you all the best for it. Let me know if I can help in any way as I've been through quite a few startup courses myself.

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Buddy2go Sat 12-Jul-14 23:54:13

I love the idea. My boys spent hours building dens that were quite delicate in structure so I think if it's aimed at the right age group not being able to climb on it wouldn't be a problem. I'd definitely prefer no illustrations and no book to go with it. I hate the prescriptive way so many toys are marketed; having to buy certain Lego sets to make certain things and then they can't be dismantled to make anything else, drives me and DH crazy, so different to the hours and hours we spent making and remaking models with generic blocks without instructions.

TortoiseUpATreeAgain Sun 13-Jul-14 00:35:13

Isn't that very similar to Makedo?

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