Jordan M. Willing confronting protesters at Toy Fair
Today’s political climate being what it is, a protest demonstration came to this week’s Toy Fair trade show at New York’s Javits Center.
Three angry rubber duckies picketed the Blue Marble, Inc. booth showcasing Blockaroo magnetic foam builders--where CEO and founder/creator Jordan M. Willing was beating back charges that his new product will take away the bathtub jobs of rubber duckies everywhere.
Billed as “STEM for early learners,” Blockaroos are soft magnetic foam construction toys for toddlers. They employ a patented magnetic connection system such that they always attract, thereby permitting easy connection for young children.
Blockaroos also rotate 360-degrees, further facilitating construction of objects including buildings, airplanes and robots.
“I grew up a Lego kid, and liked their open-ended play value,” noted Willing, who sought to create a STEM toy for youngsters. “Now I’m the parent of a six-year-old who’s too young for Legos and can’t put the pieces together. So I wondered: At what age do you introduce a child to STEM? I felt it was never too soon.”
Willing’s goal, then, was to devise “the earliest STEM toy.” Hence, Blockaroos, which are advantageous in that “the magnets spin inside—so there’s no polarity issue. They’re also big, colorful and soft, so younger children learn stacking, color and shape recognition, while older ones learn construction and engineering.”
That the building blocks also make great bathtub toys—to the rubber duckies’ chagrin—was “completely unintended,” said Willing.
“I was playing with my kids and found they float in the bathtub—and are the ultimate bath toy! And not only do they float, since they’re magnetic, they stick to the walls of metal tubs. And bath toys are just plastic by the pound and end up in the trash.”
Indeed, the Blockaroo website urges players to “Share the fun when you’re done!”: As they’re “made to last for years,” if kids ever outgrow them, parents should consider donating them to friends, family, or a local preschool.
“We’d be happy to take them back, too,” says the website. “We’ll sanitize used blocks and donate them to a happy home!”
And Willing pointed out one attribute of Blockaroos that has adult appeal.
“They click when you connect them, and make a great fidget toy for us,” he said. “So in our opinion, Blockaroo is a supertoy!”