Founders Of Educational Toy Company Praise Targets Move To Remove Gender Labels

Founders Of Educational Toy Company Praise Targets Move To Remove Gender LabelsThe retailer Target announced on August 7, 2015, via a statement on its corporate web site that it will remove gender based labeling in certain departments. These departments include toys, bedding and entertainment. The decision was made after receiving feedback and suggestions from customers.


The retailer aims to avoid having guests and families feel frustrated or limited by the way things are presented. Signs that offer product suggestions like apparel, where there are fit and sizing differences, will still exist. However, in other departments like Toys, Home or Entertainment, these signs will be phased out.


Jason Smith, Co-Founder of the learning toy company Click-A-Brick lauds the decision. “Suggesting products by gender is unnecessary,” Smith said. “I would like to give Target a standing ovation. Children are children and not every aspect of their environment needs to be organized by gender. Now if only other stores and toy companies would follow suit. At Click-A-Brick none of our toys are labeled or categorized in any manner. Our lines are meant to develop spatial and motor skills – and that has absolutely no relevance on gender.”


The retailer is set to identify areas where they can eliminate gender-based signage in order to strike a better balance. In the Bedding area, for example, signs will no longer feature suggestions for boys or for girls. Instead, they will just read kids. In the Toys aisles, all reference to gender will be removed. The use of pink, blue, yellow or green paper on the back walls of our shelves will also cease. These changes are programmed to be phased in over the next few months.


Research has shown that children can become uninterested in certain toys when they learn that they are associated with the other gender. Studies have shown that children as young as 30 months avoid toys associated with other genders either by type, label or color.


The Co-Founder of Click-A-Brick Georg de Gorostiza extols Targets decision. “ Gender labels matter when children are choosing toys,” de Gorostiza said. “When the toy shelves are labeled for boys or for girls, it simply limits children’s choices. I mean, you wouldn’t offer a child nothing but bananas to eat, no matter how healthy the fruit. Children need variety in their diet. The same goes for their toys and play. We shouldn’t categorize playtime nor make their decisions for them. We must give them the freedom to make choices based on their own strengths, abilities and interests. We need to focus on letting boys and girls grow without being burdened by stereotypes.”


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Learning Toy Company Founders Laud the Efforts of the Nonprofit Playworks

Learning Toy Company Founders Laud the Efforts of the Nonprofit PlayworksPlayworks is a national nonprofit whose mission is to improve the health and well-being of children. They aim to accomplish this goal by advocating for an increase in available opportunities for physical activity. They also aim to provide for safe and meaningful play.The non profit currently serves more than 900 schools in 23 U.S. cities. It reaches over half a million students directly and through its network of professional training services.


The organization was founded by Jill Vialet in 1996. The vision of Playworks is to change the concept of recess. They want to correct the misconception that recess is the most chaotic period of the school day, where children return to class upset and unable to focus. Instead, their mission is to make recess a positive and productive time for all kids.


The Co-Founder of the learning toy company Click-A-Brick Jason Smith praises their mission. “Recess should be fun and energetic and safe and inclusive for everyone,” Smith said. “It should be seen as a healthy and integral part of the school day. It’s a positive experience that carries with it positive effects beyond the playground. I see it with my own kids. I try to provide them every day with unstructured time for them to explore and be themselves. Our toy lines at Click-A-Brick are built on that same concept: allow kids to build and immerse themselves in a world of their own choosing.”

Learning Toy Company Click-A-Brick Impressed With Mom’s Personal Screen Time Guidelines

Learning Toy Company Click-A-Brick Impressed With Mom’s Personal Screen Time GuidelinesThe team at learning toy company Click-A-Brick say they are impressed with blogger and parent Lisa Schmeiser’s level-headed response to the growing concern about young children’s exposure to electronic devices.

In a blog post for the Macworld website, Schmeiser says she has considered all the relevant research and recommendations for children and electronics and has come up with what she describes as “a reduced-guilt screen policy” for her own child that still limits screen time, but allows for it within her own personal guidelines.

Those guidelines (presented as a series of questions in Schmeiser’s blog post) include:

only allowing screen time for her daughter once in a while,


only allowing screen time in mid-afternoon to early evening,


never allowing screen time during meals,


only allowing screen time with apps that offer interactive and creative play,


limiting screen time to no more than 30 minutes per day, and


only allowing screen time when there is a parent present.


“All these questions circle around a few core ideas: Knowing your child’s personality and teaching your child how to treat technology as one well-regulated element in their daily life,” she wrote. “If you don’t want your kid to be a mindless zombie in front of a screen, you can’t mindlessly shove them in front of one.”

Schmeiser said she still considers the recommendations of screen time for children from the American Academy of Pediatrics as being the best case scenario — no screen time for children under age 2, no TV screens in any child’s room, and having a parent present for any electronic entertainment consumption. Despite these recommendations, she says, parents are still giving their children devices to keep them busy, but she believes if it’s done right and parents use the devices together with their children, much like they would a book, interacting with screens can be beneficial for children.

In a debate that sees people taking strong stands on one side or the other, Schmeiser’s development of her own guidelines for screen time for her daughter are reasonable and a good compromise between the inevitability of a child using electronic devices and the recommendations from child development experts that screens be kept away from young kids altogether learning toy company Click-A-Brick Co-Founders Jason Smith and Georg de Gorostiza say.

“We appreciate Ms. Schmeiser’s approach to managing her child’s screen time with her own personal guidelines,” Smith said. “Like her, we believe the American Academy of Pediatricians has the best recommendation for screen time for children, but we also recognize that electronic devices themselves aren’t bad. Some parents use them in what I would describe as an irresponsible way, but that can be true for anything. What Ms. Schmeiser has done is taken the expert recommendations and tailored them so they fit her lifestyle in a responsible way. It’s refreshing to see a thoughtful approach like this that takes into consideration both expert advice and common sense to address a young child’s screen time.”

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Learning Toy Company Click-A-Brick Lauds New Study About Importance Of Reading To Children

The team at learning toy company Click-A-Brick applauds a new study by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center that has found reading to young children stimulates language processing development in their brains, saying it shows the importance of this particular child-parent interaction for kids.

Published in the journal Pediatrics, the study, performed by Dr. John S. Hutton and colleagues, found that reading exposure in children aged three to five years old stimulated neural activity in the portion of the brain involved with acoustic, phonological and semantic language processing.

Click-A-Brick Co-Founders Jason Smith and Georg de Gorostiza say they appreciate findings like the ones from this study, as they are a good reminder to parents to be diligent in reading and interacting with their kids.

“Reading to children is such a simple act, but it obviously has huge benefits,” Smith said. “In fact, last year the American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement that recommended children be read to at home and at least through their kindergarten years, so the benefits are well known. What we recommend for kids who have Click-A-Brick sets is that parents read to their children and then use the sets to build the things they’ve read about. Any books about animals, birds, reptiles and dinosaurs go really well with the corresponding Click-A-Brick sets for extra stimulation and interaction.”

The learning toy entrepreneurs also point to comments that British politician Tristram Hunt made recently as anecdotal evidence that parent/child interaction at an early stage is important for children later in life when they begin studying. Hunt is the Shadow Education Secretary in the United Kingdom’s government and recently said that many elementary school teachers have told him that children are increasingly experiencing developmental delays in their language skills and the teachers blame this on parents interacting with their mobile phones more while subsequently interacting with their children less.

“Most likely, parents don’t understand the cumulative impact on scrolling down their smartphone rather than engaging with their six-month-old,” Hunt told The Daily Telegraph. “Academics are all too aware of how crucial the birth to five age bracket is for the intellectual and emotional development of children. Not nearly enough parents are. Nursery rhymes and fairy tales might be less interesting than Instagram, but a child’s long-term success can depend on them.”

Smith and de Gorostiza say they don’t expect parents to completely drop their phones and tablets in favor of reading and talking to their children all the time, but Hunt’s comments illustrate how important it is to find a balance between screen time and kid time for parents.

“We often hear about how we need to limit children’s time with screens, but we also have to remember how important it is to limit our own screen time, too,” de Gorostiza said. “Although smartphones have been around for a while now, it seems like we’re still going through a transition phase with having them in our lives and we’re all still trying to figure out the appropriate amount of time to be using them versus interacting with the world around us. When I see comments like Mr. Hunt’s it makes me think we all, as a society, need to pull back a little and readjust our focus, so to speak, so it’s more on our kids and less on the screens in our hands.”

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Educational Toy Company Click-A-Brick Lauds New Toy For Children Of Deployed Parents

Educational Toy Company Click-A-Brick Lauds New Toy For Children Of Deployed ParentsThe team at educational toy company Click-A-Brick say Hannah Sage’s Milo the lion toy, which she specifically designed for children of deployed military parents, fills a gap in the market and hopes it sparks the creation of a niche market for these types of toys.




Sage, a toy inventor in the United Kingdom, designed Milo as a way for families to communicate throughout a parent’s deployment. It comes with 24 tokens, which represent each week of a six-month deployment. Each week, a token is hidden somewhere in the family home and a clue appears on Milo’s screen about the location of the token. Once the child finds the token, they plug it into Milo’s base to watch a prerecorded video message from the deployed parent. They then can record a reply video message for the deployed parent, who can access it on an associated website and also use the website to send videos to the family at home.




“Milo aims to be an engaging, interactive method of communication for the whole family,” Sage said in a column for ToyNews.




The Click-A-Brick team applaud the move by Sage to fill what they saw as an obvious void in the toy market for toys specifically designed for children of deployed soldiers.




“It’s one thing to have toys with a military theme like our own Army Defenders line, but to design something that not only keeps kids engaged by being interactive, but also bridges the gap between a parent stationed overseas and their children at home is really impressive,” Click-A-Brick Co-Founder Jason Smith said. “This is something that fills a gap in the marketplace. These children are put into a unique situation and this toy will help them understand and deal with that situation better. We see it as a sort of offshoot of the educational toy sector, as it can be used to teach children of deployed soldiers about what is going on with their parents and teach them about the places where they’ve been deployed to, among other things.”




Now that a toy has been developed catering to this specific market segment, the Click-A-Brick team says, they hope it leads to more toy development in this area and a growth in what they believe will become a lucrative niche.

“This is an area that is ripe for innovation,” Click-A-Brick Co-Founder and Brand Manager Georg de Gorostiza said. “It presents toy makers with a problem to solve in connecting children and their deployed parents in some way and keeping it fun and engaging for the children. We’re sure this will spur some creativity in the minds of toy inventors and it could very well lead to a new little niche in the market. It probably wouldn’t stay little for long, though.”


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Click-A-Brick Applauds Mattel For Turning Classic Toy Into Educational Toy

Click-A-Brick Applauds Mattel For Turning Classic Toy Into Educational ToyThe pair behind educational toy Click-A-Brick is pleased to see a fellow toy brand taking strides to teach children science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills through play with one of its top brands.


Click-A-Brick Co-Founders Jason Smith and Georg de Gorostiza say it’s a welcome sight to see Mattel using its Hot Wheels brand to encourage kids to learn about STEM subjects. The company has gone as far as developing class lessons and activities that use the toy cars and accessories to help teach kids about kinetic energy, how to set up and execute an experiment, and how to convey information in research reports. The lessons, dubbed Speedometry, are available free for teachers to use in their classrooms. There are also activities that parents can do with their children at home that carry on the lessons they learned from the classroom activities.


Seeing such a large brand embrace the concept of teaching STEM to children is an encouraging sign, the co-founders say.


“We always like to see when a toy can be re-purposed, so to speak, into a learning tool,” Smith said. “It’s one thing to develop a toy from scratch that is meant to be used as a teaching device, but to see a classic toy that we’re all familiar with being used to teach kids about things like kinetic energy is amazing. When I was a kid, I used to play with Hot Wheels like pretty much every other boy I knew and I just wanted to have the coolest cars and build crazy tracks that I could send them down, but I never really thought about why one car went further than another or faster than another. I like that my kids, when they play with Hot Wheels, might be asking those questions in a classroom setting and even when they’re playing here at home.”


Smith and de Gorostiza say the Hot Wheels Speedometry lessons are a good way to continue to foster a love of learning STEM skills in children. The fact that toy cars are a classic toy makes it a natural progression from other classic toys that teach STEM skills like building blocks.


“There is a lot of focus on new toys that are more and more complicated to teach kids STEM skills,” de Gorostiza said. “Obviously, toys like that have their place, but we like that these classic toys have so much to offer in regard to teaching STEM skills. You don’t always need crazy new fangled gadgets, you just need to know how to use the toys that children already probably have to teach them these valuable skills. Someday, we’d like to explore the possibility of doing something similar with younger kids, coming up with lessons that can teach them some very basic STEM skills. But, we’re a long way from having the brand recognition that Hot Wheels enjoys. Until then, we’re just happy to offer an educational toy that parents can use to plant the seeds of fascination with the STEM subjects in their kids.”


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Building Toy Company Click-A-Brick Impressed With Mother’s Approach To Toys

Building Toy Company Click-A-Brick Impressed With Mother’s Approach To ToysThe team behind building toy Click-A-Brick says they are pleased to read one Dallas, TX mom blogger’s idea for encouraging natural development in her son while simultaneously cutting down on the amount of clutter in his room and discouraging mess making with toys.


In a post entitled ‘Why I Got Rid of the Toys’ published on the Dallas Moms Blog near the beginning of summer, Denaye Barahona says she was inspired by her son’s neighborhood playgroup, which is run out of a Montessori school. Rather than just having toy boxes where toys get jumbled together, each toy in the schoolroom is kept in its own basket on its own designated spot on the shelf. The school also has a rule that each child should only play with one toy at a time, and put it away in its container in its spot when they are done playing with it. The blogger says she was pleasantly shocked to see that all of the kids were completely engaged in the few toys the schoolroom had to offer and they were well-behaved while playing with the toys and put them away when asked.


The Montessori school’s philosophy about toys is outlined in a post by Stacy Burnett on the I Heart Montessori blog that encourages parents to be more thoughtful in how toys are arranged, displayed and organized. Nothing should be stacked or hidden or kept in cluttered toy boxes or bins, Burnett says. Keeping a small amount of toys in containers that the children can see into, and access easily will encourage kids to only interact with one toy at a time and will discourage kids from making a mess by emptying out their toy boxes as they look for things.


Barahona says she embraced this philosophy and now keeps only a few carefully chosen toys in her son’s room that change as he grows. She outlined how she changed her son’s room from a traditional room to a more Montessori-inspired one. She started with an empty space so she could carefully consider each toy as she added it. She then got rid of the deep toy boxes and replaced them with short trays so her son could easily see, access and put away everything. The blogger then adopted a ‘toy style’ to follow so her child’s toys were consistent. She adopted a toy style of task-based toys with a mixture of open-ended toys. Barahona says she now purchases toys year-round rather than just on Christmas and birthdays and sticks to a one-in-one-out policy for toys, making sure to upgrade her son’s toys as he outgrows them to continually offer a variety of new toys that will facilitate his development as he grows. To keep variety, the blogger says she always makes sure to have the following types of toys: Gross motor, fine motor, plush, stacking, building, connecting, puzzles, pretend play, musical play, art play, and a rotation of books. Finally, Barahona says, she keeps a minimalist aesthetic for her son’s room.


Co-Founders of building toy company Click-A-Brick Jason Smith and Georg de Gorostiza applaud the mother and blogger for what they refer to as thinking outside the toy box and eschewing the traditional messy roomful of toys for a more nuanced approach.


“Because we’re a toy company, it may sound counterintuitive to say we appreciate this mother’s dedication to buying fewer toys for her son, but we really like this approach,” Smith said. “We especially like that each toy is kept in its own container and has its own spot on the shelf, which keeps sets all together and keeps them more engaging for kids. Even though we’re thrilled when parents and other customers buy Click-A-Brick, we don’t just want the kids to play with them for a bit and then toss them into a huge toy box to get lost in the shuffle of a thousand other toys. We’d rather the child decide they want to play with Click-A-Brick, take it off the shelf and build with it and then put it away when they’re done. In addition to cognitive and motor skill development, this encourages them to develop decision making skills and teaches them tidiness and organizational skills.”


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