Tag Archives: peter a wachtel

How has Designing Toys Changed?

“In The World of Limitations, there is a Universe of Possibilities and a Galaxy of Opportunities”.

By Peter A. Wachtel, Chief Creative KID @KIDToyology® (designer+inventor+teacher+writer=creator)

Many of us (at one time or another) have asked “what happened to the good old days”. It is no any different in the toy industry. Ten or fifteen years ago there were more than triple the amount of toy companies as there are today. What has changed? Everything. The economy, technology and the internet, as well as people’s lives. However the need for good, creative, fun, affordable and reliable toys for kids and themselves is still here.

Technology, the internet and today’s fast paced lifestyles has given us the need for more sophisticated toys that really challenge our imaginations, skills and knowledge. Toys have become more than just a fun thing to pass the time, but a way to learn and grow and experience life. In the past a toy would take up to 2 years to take to market. Now, toys are conceived, designed, manufactured and distributed within 6 months. Toy designing has changed by ways of safety, style, play value, manufacturing, retail distribution, cost, as well as brand awareness. The designer must think like a kid and an adult at the same time. Today’s designers have evolved as well. They now must be not only a designer, but also an educator, a marketing person and sales person- “An all in one design machine”.

I used to think about the possibility of becoming a child psychologist, a neurosurgeon, or a lawyer. I never followed those career choices but, I took what each did best- listen, think, learn, hand skills, knowledge, history and the ability to prove your idea worthy. All skills needed when we design, invent, market, sell, teach and write about toys- we are a “Jack of all Trades and Master of even more”. Toys have become a way of life and not just a profession for us. We as designers are here to inspire, entertain and innovate the world. Everything that is around you is worthy of exploration and use. Our kids and our futures depends on it. Here are ten features of a “Good Toy” that have stayed with us over the years.

Ten Features of a Good Toy:

  1. Fun to use
  2. Interesting to the child
  3. Is safe and durable
  4. Stimulates creativity and imagination
  5. Encourages inquisitiveness and resourcefulness
  6. Is a tool for learning
  7. Is challenging yet not frustrating
  8. Invites repeated use
  9. Involves child interaction
  10. Addresses developing needs


@KIDToyology® Playful Product Design & Innoventionhttp://about.me/KidToyology