Paper Punk founder/CEO Grace Hawthorne calls her paper-based construction toy a "LEGO and origami mash-up," and since she's also a Stanford design professor, she ought to know.
Hawthorne brought her latest Paper Punk product to last week's Toy Fair, and explained how her creation "brings everything I teach in the classroom outside to the masses."
"The activities I run my students through in my Creative Gym course at Stanford are hands-on, quick-fire experiences," said Hawthorne. "Think Iron Chef-like activities with everyday office supplies."
Indeed, Hawthorne's Paper Punk catalog consists of paper-based construction kits from which figures like robots, unicorns and puppies, as well as jewelry, designer dresses and urban buildings, can be constructed via paper-folding, with all necessary items--punch-out paper shapes, stickers, adhesive dots and instructions--included.
"From a creativity research project on my course curriculum, we know that these activities can rewire your brain and increase your creative capacity," said Hawthorne. "I created Paper Punk as a way to bring similar benefits to more people outside the walls of my classroom. While Paper Punk looks like candy and cupcakes—a.k.a., fun so you’ll want to do it--it's really broccoli for your brain: the consumer version of my classroom experience, where a user will be making things with their hands in a scaffolded way that will exercise their brain."
Hawthorne added: "As we increasingly rely on technological tools to discover, seek and share information, there is also a growing disconnect with the tangible world. Through the act of making, people not only change the way they think, they change the way they behave. Making has a magical, transformative power because you're using your hands to think. Paper Punk is a creativity tool that's as much an art form as it is a toy."