Spielwarenmesse: Innovative ideas for building block sets & construction toys

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Ravensburger GraviTrax Spielszene
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20. April 2017 / Trends

Innovative ideas for building block sets & construction toys

from Harald Hemmerlein /  Show comments

Toy building blocks come in all shapes and sizes, from simple wooden blocks through to high-tech construction systems. Both children and adults are attracted time and again to block play, a timeless classic. Technical and electronic construction systems regularly stand out amongst other innovations in this area. However, some crowdfunding projects are proving that cables and power are not essential elements of successful new ideas.

Toys sometimes manage to generate an exceptional response in the mainstream media. Take the recent Nimuno Loops example. The Nimuno Loops tape can do everything an adhesive tape should: stick to all imaginable surfaces. Even better: all kinds of connectors can be attached on the non-adhesive side. Blocks like those offered by LEGO fit into grooves in the tape and can thus be positioned in ways that would otherwise be impossible without the adhesive tape.

Anine Kirsten and Max Basler from South Africa financed their block tape idea through a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. The tape has received great attention in the media, which also shows just how much we as adults are open to this whole area as well, a fervent memory from our childhood.

NIMUNO LOOPS - TOY BLOCK COMPATIBLE ADHESIVE TAPE

Controlling physical forces

Ravensburger presented its innovative GraviTrax modular system for the first time at the last Spielwarenmesse® in Nuremberg. Creative modelmakers can use it to build sophisticated marble run worlds. It’s not just about the destination, but how you get there, which means using physical laws skilfully and assembling the various components and spectacular action elements cleverly. Children and adults must overcome new challenges all the time as they plan, test and create action-packed layouts. They must apply principles of magnetism, kinetics and gravity to guide their marbles to the destination.

Construction games are by no means simply static. Vehicles of all kinds have always been popular amongst children, and also adults who never grew out of this fascination either.

The Bluetooth Racing Set can be used to build three innovative vehicles in a new fischertechnik design. The set contains more than 350 components for building a racing car, a roadster or even a wheelie vehicle that travels on its back wheels. The suspension system on the vehicles makes them suitable for any terrain. The vehicles can be operated by remote control or via a smartphone or tablet. The gear motor speed and servo steering angle can be freely adjusted.

Fleece fabric and silicone also prove good construction tools

Toy sellers in this product category are also finding new materials to enhance their offerings. Take Czech company KOSÁČCI - hračky, které letííí, s.r.o., for example, which has come up with PIX-IT. This silicone building kit gives free rein to children’s imagination and also challenges them with set design tasks.

You would not necessarily imagine textiles to be part of building block sets. Polish company JollyHeap Svitlana Sapunova surprised visitors in Nuremberg by presenting soft dice as the basic elements of a magnetic construction system. Strong magnets allow the large soft elements to be combined to create lots of different structures which can fill entire rooms.

Natural and sustainable materials

Wiener Spielkartenfabrik Ferd. Piatnik & Söhne, based in Vienna, Austria, is taking an innovative and sustainable approach to wood as the material for its novel Bioblo webbed building blocks. About 60% of each block consists of wood shavings from locally grown conifers from PEFC-certified sustainable forestry operations and almost 40% of recycled plastic from recycled returnable cups. The material was developed in Austria and is free from plasticisers and other damaging ingredients.

English company Primo Toys is taking a similar route – and dispensing with screens. Its high-quality wooden robot helps children aged just three and older take their first steps in the world of programming. Cubetto is the first system to teach children the basics of programming without a screen. Colourful building blocks allow children to directly experience this area.

Learning programming through Lego

Market leader LEGO is also bringing models to life with LEGO BOOST. The LEGO Group is hoping to continue the company’s success story in 2017 with LEGO BOOST, combining programming with physical construction. The programmable LEGO BOOST robot kit introduces children aged 7 and older to programming with the help of a free app, digital LEGO building instructions and simple programming commands for five LEGO models. This play idea won a ToyAward at the Spielwarenmesse® 2017.

ToyAward Winner 2017: LEGO BOOST, LEGO

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Author of this article:

Harald Hemmerlein

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