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Creative agencies, such as Nashville Tennessee based MetaCake, are always fun to work with.  Since we're a creative agency ourselves, it tends to be a great mesh of creative minds.  And, everyone involved knows the toy industry well, as it represents  the epitome of the creative process.  So, two creative agencies coming together to develop a toy for toddlers... can it get any sweeter than that?  We think not.  It's this type of project that hypes us up in the early mornings and keeps us going through the late nights.  So, how did we develop a new, innovative toy for the toddler market, when that particular market is already so saturated with great products, you ask?  Well, follow along below to find out.

After a hefty research phase, we compiled the data and found that the toy market for toddlers was unbelievably saturated with products that focus solely on fun and shiny distractions.  Few enveloped fun and early learning into the scope.  As a large group of intellectuals, and ones who love lots of fun, we thought this would be the perfect direction of our focus during the development of our new toy.  We all set out to create a product that would help toddlers learn early-stage concepts while playing.  After producing several form studies and performing user contextual research, we found that we could provide two completely different forms of learning into the product, while still providing a fun interaction for toddlers.

Utilizing a building block form and creating a unique connection between blocks that is right on the brink of a little too easy, yet a little too difficult for toddlers to learn.  Sometimes the blocks click together with ease and other times frustration ensues.  This is exactly what we were after for this particular interaction.  Then we created an area on all four sides of each block where a learning card could be slid into place.  Templates are provided for parents to cut out various cards that can then be placed into the blocks to help toddlers learn early-stage concepts.  Such as the alphabet, addition and subtraction, cards for drawing on, etc.  Anything parents want to put on the cards, they can.  We were really excited to be able to incorporate both forms of learning so seemlessly.

For prototyping, we extensively utilized 3D printing technology.  It is an amazing resource for us to be able to generate quick changes and iterations, and see them come to life that same day.  We could put prototype after prototype into the hands of toddlers to get the quirks worked out quickly and to accurately determine minute issues with product performance.  We also wanted to alleviate any hazards that we may have overlooked, as well as lengthen play time and interest level.  Color and tactility were taken into consideration, as these simple factors have been known to make or break the success of toys.  After everything was said and done, we can honestly say, this toy truly is toddler tested and approved.

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