Contorsionista by Javier Bermejo, Pico Pao
Contorsionista by Javier Bermejo, Pico Pao

A different kind of construction game coming from Spanish manufacturer Pico Pao. The workshop stands out through its outstanding craftsmanship and 'no-rules' approach to play, focusing instead on helping the user take enjoyment from the simple act of experimenting.

Das Mauerspiel (2008) by Christian Lessing
Das Mauerspiel (2008) by Christian Lessing

The old technique of building masonry without mortar requires skill and patience. Comprising of up to 70 different ‘bricks’, the game encourages children to perfect their hand-to-eye coordination and strategic thinking. Das Mauerspiel is hand-crafted in Germany by Lessing Prosuktgestaltung and has received a Form Design Award in 2009.

Multi-View Puzzle (1964) by Fredun Shapur
Multi-View Puzzle (1964) by Fredun Shapur

First produced by Galt Toys in 1964, these geometric-styled puzzles are depict four different scenes : London, Farming, Seaside, Zoo. The innovation of these jigsaws lies in the possibility of collaborative play : players can enjoy building the jigsaw together from any side.

Plus and Minus (1970) by Bruno Munari
Plus and Minus (1970) by Bruno Munari

The visual game 'Plus and Minus' consists of 72 cards, each with a different image. A selection of these images have a transparent background and can be layered to make different, more complex superimpositions and stimulate children's creativity.

Birds on a Tree (1964) by Creative Playthings
Birds on a Tree (1964) by Creative Playthings

Creative Playthings was established by Frank and Theresa Caplan in 1945 to provide simple, solid-wood, throughtfully designed toys. Some of their collaborators included: Vitali, Louis Kahn, Isamu Noguchi, Robert Winston and Henry Moore.

Vache Rouge (1983) - Naef
Vache Rouge (1983) - Naef

Designed by photographer Gérard Pétremand for toy manufacturer Naef, this puzzle is fabricated in Switzerland from Central European maple, and is comprised of six wooden blocks.

Cuboro (1986) by Matthias Etter
Cuboro (1986) by Matthias Etter

Crafted from ecologically harvested beach wood, the Swiss-made maze combines the fun of puzzle-making and marble runs. Children can enjoy creating endless configurations while developing their kinetic awareness and fine motor skills. The set includes 54 environmentally friendly wooden blocks and five Cuboro marbles.

Cubebot (2010) by David Weeks
Cubebot (2010) by David Weeks

Inspired by the three-simensional Japanese Shinto Kumi-ki puzzles, Cubebot is designed to challenge children and adults alike. Made from wooden blocks held together by and elastic string, the robot folds back into a perfect cube.

FaceMaker (2012) by MillerGoodman
FaceMaker (2012) by MillerGoodman

A collection of 25 hand-painted, wooden puzzle blocks that engage children to build a countless variety of unique faces. The Brighton-based duo is particularly focused on creating modern, open-ended toys that appeal to both children and parents as a result of their ability to stimulate the imagination through open-ended play. The environmentally friendly hardwood blocks are printed with non-toxic ink.

Blockhaus by MillerGoodman
Blockhaus by MillerGoodman

Designed as a set of beautifully hand-crafted, modular rubberwood blocks, Blockhaus is inspired by the Bauhaus movement and allows children to determine the scale of the scapes and designs they envision: a mansion, a palce, a tower block, a cityscape, and so on. MillerGoodman creates award-winning modern design classics for the young and young at heart, driven by the art of play and nurturing the imagination.

PlayShapes (2009) by MillerGoodman 1
PlayShapes (2009) by MillerGoodman 1

Driven by the challenge of creating the next classing toy, MillerGoodman created Playshapes, a set of 74 environmentally friendly, consciously produced rubberwood blocks. Children are encouraged to let their imagination loose and engage in the process of understanding composition, color and abstraction by creating unique characters, animals, faces, vehicles, buildings and much more.

Flash Cards (2008) and Floor Puzzles by Charlie Harper
Flash Cards (2008) and Floor Puzzles by Charlie Harper

The ABC set of flashcards - including two large floor puzzles - has been designed by feature artist Charlie Harper. The bold illustrations inspired by the wildlife are aimed to encourage children make letter and sound associations with images.

Riva Aquarama Speedboat (2015) by Madeindreams
Riva Aquarama Speedboat (2015) by Madeindreams

Known in the 1960s as ‘The Queen of the Riviera’, this scale model combines ‘the charm of a collector's item and the fun of a construction toy.’ Children will get familiarized with the technical terminology used in the construction process of the boat and also get acquainted with the materials used in its life-size counterpart.

Blokoshka (2016) by Zupagrafika
Blokoshka (2016) by Zupagrafika

Inspired by the concrete modernist estates in the former Eastern Bloc, this architectural matryoshka consists of four pre-cut and pre-folded blocks, that once assembled can be placed inside one another. Zupagrafika are an independent publisher, author and graphic design studio established in 2012 in Poznań, Poland.

Animal Boxes By Bleebla
Animal Boxes By Bleebla

The designer’s description: ‘The “Animal Box” is a rectangular box with one animated side that shows 10 animals peeking out of its regular geometry. Each animal finds its shelter in the shape of a negative carved in the box, creating a three-dimensional puzzle that explores the solid/void relationship. Out of the box, your imagination will lead the animals to explore the world.’ Made in Portugal.

The Coloring Toy (1955) by Charles and Ray Eames
The Coloring Toy (1955) by Charles and Ray Eames

This timeless toy was reintroduced in 2017 and contains eight die-cut panels, sixteen premium crayons and butterfly clips. The panels can be colored, punched out and attached together, encouraging children to explore shapes and invent characters through imaginative play.

ABC con Fantasia (1960) Bruno Munari
ABC con Fantasia (1960) Bruno Munari

Once again, Munari demonstrates his sensitivity to children’s need for simplicity when facing abstract concepts such as shapes and letters. By devising a collection of straight and curved soft-plastic strokes, the designer allows children to assemble every letter of the traditional alphabet or, why not, make up their own.

Froebel Gifts (1837) by Friederich Froebel
Froebel Gifts (1837) by Friederich Froebel

Initially designed for Friederich Froebel’s Kindergarten schools, the Froebel Gifts sequence is deceptively simple. The set consists of a specific selection of 20 gifts, including physical objects such as balls, blocks beads, sticks and wooden shapes. There are only two rules for play: all parts must be incorporated and a creation cannot be destroyed and rebuilt, but changed through modification.

Play-Modernist-Toy-Exhibition-by-Systems
Play-Modernist-Toy-Exhibition-by-Systems

he Balancing Troupers puzzle consists of twelve anthropomorphized wooden pieces, carved from beech and rosewood, that can be vertically stacked. Shapur created innovative and distinctive design products for international companies such as Naef, Galt Toys, Fischerform, Selecta and Creative Playthings.

Bird Call (2014) by B6 Studio
Bird Call (2014) by B6 Studio

Japanese studio B6 created a collection of five birds, all made from scrap wood resulting from the manufacturing process of xylophones. Each bird produces a melodic sound and has the same size and texture as that of the wooden keys intended for the original instrument. The collection received a Second Grand Prix Award at the 2014 edition of the Newsed Upcycle Design Awards.

The Trinomial Cube by Maria Montessori
The Trinomial Cube by Maria Montessori

The Trinomial Cube is a simple and elegant physical representation of the trinomial formula. The different sizes of the colour-coded blocks help the child first visualize the formula - by systematically deconstructing and reconstructing the cube - before moving on the abstract, on-paper representation.

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