Click-A-Brick Welcomes Rise Of Subscription Model For Consumer Products Including Learning Toys

The team at learning toy company Click-A-Brick welcomes the news that the subscription model for household objects is on the rise, even for toys. They say allowing people to rent objects rather than purchasing them will cut down on the amount of waste produced and allow people to better manage their households and lives.

A recent article on the Guardian website says more businesses and consumers are starting to embrace the pay-per-use approach to everyday household appliances like washing machines and kitchen appliances.

Marcel Peters, CEO of Bundles, an Amsterdam-based company that provides high-quality household appliances on a subscription basis, says that giving people the opportunity to rent appliances for only when they need them will lead to manufacturers building better quality components resulting in better quality machines. Peters says in the current model, manufacturers try to produce the cheapest possible machines for people to own resulting in appliances that break more frequently, causing more waste. By switching to what is known as a circular economy, he believes manufacturers will concentrate efforts on building the best quality machines since people won’t be purchasing them, but rather just paying to use them when they need them.

“Customers want solutions for their problems rather than physical products,” the article quotes Peters as saying. “Therefore an increasing number are prioritising experience and performance over possession. With our model, customers experience lower levels of hassle and higher satisfaction. The current model generates an increasing amount of waste. Low-quality products have low levels of reusability, causing material depletion.”

One other company that has embraced the subscription model is Pley, a company based in the United States that rents educational toys to families on a monthly basis. This prevents toys from sitting around unused once children grow bored of them, according to the company’s website.

Giving more people access to learning toys while creating less waste is a great idea, say Click-A-Brick Co-Founders Jason Smith and Georg de Gorostiza.

“It might seem counterintuitive for a toy company to be in favor of people renting instead of owning because for most toy companies, the business model is sell as much as you can and forget about it,” Smith said. “We are more interested in having children learn, no matter if their parents decide to buy or rent the toys. Less waste and less focus on accumulating stuff is always a good thing, as far as we’re concerned. The subscription based model of consumerism is a novel approach to using rather than owning what is needed in our lives, including toys. We could all learn a valuable lesson from that.”

For more information, please visit http://www.clickabricktoys.net/

We Love the Bricks 4 Kidz Franchise!

Click-A-Brick educational building toy for boys and girls

We love the concept behind the Bricks 4 Kidz franchise model. The use of building blocks to teach children science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills is a great idea and shows the versatility and importance of these classic toys.

Check it out:

https://player.vimeo.com/video/143377510

How great is that?!?!?

You get to learn while playing with building blocks! 

The Bricks 4 Kidz franchise offers programs for children aged three to 13 using their own in-house model plans designed by engineers and architects, with themes like space, construction, and amusement parks. The project kits and theme-based models are meant to give children hands-on activities to do as they learn STEM skills.

Being big advocates of children learning as they play, we like the Bricks 4 Kidz concept. It’s a unique way of taking a toy that almost everyone is familiar with and using it as an active learning tool.

It’s exciting for the kids and it seems like a good business opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to do something beneficial for children in their area.

Keep up the great work, Bricks 4 Kidz!

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Building Toy Company Click-A-Brick Pleased With New York Attorney General’s Legal Action Against Mattel, Hasbro And Others

Building Toy Company Click-A-Brick Pleased With New York Attorney General's Legal Action Against Mattel, Hasbro And Others

A decision by New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman to penalize Mattel Inc., Viacom Inc., Hasbro Inc. and Jumpstart Games Inc. for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act has earned high praise from the team at educational building toy company Click-A-Brick, who say children’s privacy online is of the utmost importance.

According to the New York attorney general’s office, the companies allowed third-party vendors to collect and use the personal information of children who visited websites owned by the companies, including sites for Viacom’s Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon brands; Mattel’s Barbie, Hot Wheels, and American Girl toys; Hasbro’s My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop, and Nerf; and JumpStart’s Neopets.

The children’s information was collected and tracked without parental permission and involves the use of behavioral advertisements, which use identifiers like website cookies and IP addresses to track people’s movement online so they persistently see advertisements about products or services they have searched for regardless of what websites they are visiting.

After a years-long investigation, the four companies have agreed to pay penalties equaling $835,000, with Viacom paying the most, having been penalized $500,000, according to the attorney general’s office. In addition to the fines, all four companies have also agreed to step up their efforts to protect the privacy of the children who visit their brands’ websites.

“Federal law demands that children are off-limits to the prying eyes of advertisers,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “Operation Child Tracker revealed that some of our nation’s biggest companies failed to protect kids’ privacy and shield them from illegal online tracking. My office remains committed to protecting children online and will continue our investigation to hold accountable those who violate the law by tracking children.”

The move to not only beef up protection of children’s privacy online, but to penalize the publicize the companies allowing it to happen is a step in the right direction, the team at educational building toy company Click-A-Brick says.

“We’re glad to see the New York attorney general taking this action both as parents and as a toy company,” Click-A-Brick co-founder Jason Smith said. “As a parent, I would never want my child’s activities tracked online. Adults are fair game for advertisers, but I think we can all agree that children should be left alone. And on the other hand, as atoy company co-owner, I like this as a way to help the public reestablish trust with toy brands. When major players in an industry are caught playing dirty, it can affect the entire marketplace and that can trickle down to the little guys. When decisive action is taken and those big players are made to pay for their mistakes, it maintains the legitimacy of the entire market.”

For more information, please visit http://www.clickabricktoys.net/

A Building Block App? Really?

First off, we just want to say we appreciate the hard work and ingenuity that goes into creating an app, especially one that is as obviously complex as the one being created by Lehigh University that is meant to allow children to play with virtual building blocks on a phone or tablet.

The as-yet-unnamed app is being touted as a way to give young children “a meaningful and accessible block-building experience – without actual blocks.” That’s from the actual press release about the app, which is still in development at Lehigh.

The app’s development team went out, studied how children interact with building blocks, and then used what they had found to help them create their app, which is meant to help children develop spatial awareness and help them in their development of geometric abilities.

You can read the full article about it here.

Our question about this app is: What is the point?

What purpose is being served by taking actual building blocks out of children’s hands and instead giving them virtual building blocks that they play with on a screen?

This is an app, keep in mind, that is aimed at preschoolers. The team at Lehigh seems to want people to intentionally take physical toys out of children’s hands and replace them with toys-that-don’t-actually-exist … so kids can play with them on a tablet and learn the exact same thing.

This idea strikes us as being disingenuous at best. 

If you lined up all the childhood development experts who have gone on record saying children should have less screen time and more personal interaction, they would stretch to the moon and back.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Kaiser Family Foundation are just two organizations that have called on parents to limit screen time and get children interacting more with their environment (and the people in it) rather than just putting a screen in their hands.

Admittedly, this app could be useful if parents actually play with it together with their children (although getting out some actual building blocks and playing with kids is still a million times better) and there could be some use if a parent is in a place where taking actual building blocks would be a bit unfeasible (like in a restaurant or some other type of place where they could potentially cause problems).

However, we still firmly believe that if you want to help develop children’s spatial awareness and help them develop their geometric abilities (along with letting them have a ton of fun while doing it, helping develop motor skills, facilitating creativity and doing a whole lot more for them), you simply hand them some real building blocks (preferably Click-A-Brick) and put the tablet or phone away.

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