Greetings, Learning Expressions readers!
If you’ve taken a look at our Facebook page lately, you’ll have seen that we are currently celebrating ZOOB Week! For those of you that don’t know, ZOOB is a building set with a difference. Rather than remaining static, ZOOB pieces move after children put them together; this innovative design allows youngsters to manipulate and play with their creations after their builds are complete. ZOOB products are popular picks at our Learning Express stores because they integrate learning and play—allowing for creativity, experimentation, and discovery.
Children have been sending their unique creations to the ZOOB website for the past eight years. Now, for the first time ever, kids get to design their own ZOOB product. The ZOOB Inventors’ Contest lets children submit their own designs, then people from around the world will vote and the company will incorporate the winners’ inventions into a special 2012 product. The product will feature pictures of the kidventors, their creations, and the stories of what inspired them. Pretty cool, right? We certainly think so!
As part of ZOOB Week, Learning Express stores will be hosting ZOOB-A-THONS for aspiring kidventors throughout the country. During ZOOB-A-THONS, stores will provide children with all the ZOOB pieces they need to build. In keeping with the Inventors’ Contest rules, each creation may have up to 100 ZOOB pieces total—with a limit of 20 of each color. At the end of the ZOOB-A-THON, each child’s invention will be submitted to the contest. Needless to say, all our fingers are crossed that a Learning Express customer will have his/her build featured on a 2012 product!
But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s see how ZOOB shakes out using the Learning Express 3F’s of toy quality—form, function, and fun! Today we are reviewing the 125-piece ZOOB set, however you can also get ZOOB in many different sized sets, from 15 pieces all the way up to 500 pieces. In fact, on Wednesday we’ll be giving away a 500-piece set on our Facebook page!
This part is pretty simple! ZOOB consists of five differently shaped pieces that you can build with. We love that the 125 piece set comes with a reusable storage box so we can easily keep track of your pieces and use them again and again. You’ll also find that each ZOOB set includes how-to guides designed to help you get started (and the people who make ZOOB include just the right number of models—enough so that kids can learn all the ways the pieces go together and get some experience with 3-D modeling, but not so many that kids won’t use their imaginations to invent their own creations).
Though there are only five ZOOB pieces, you can snap them together in 20 different ways. The original inspiration for ZOOB came from the nucleotides that make up DNA. Based on the way things connect, move and transform in nature, ZOOB captures dynamic movement, unlike traditional “stacking” or “hub & spoke” construction sets. ZOOB also appeals to boys and to girls, which is something we really value at Learning Express. Best of all, the fact that ZOOB moves once put together means that kids can interact and play with their creations long after they’ve finished the building process.
ZOOB is one of those rare toys that allows for both directed and open-ended play. If you’re in need of some inspiration you can turn to your handy instruction manual—but if you’re already feeling inspired you can free form build to your heart’s content!
This is always my favorite part. And who better to help me demonstrate ZOOB than my eight year old
blogssistant nephew, Charlie? This week, I gave Charlie two ZOOB related tasks: complete a “directed play” build (from the instruction manual) and complete an “open-ended play” build that adheres to the Inventors’ Contest guidelines.
Here is Build #1: Directed Play
The Crown (aka my new “Thinking Cap”)
In keeping with the rules of the Inventors’ Contest, Charlie put aside 20 pieces of each color to use. Then, he let his imagination run amuck. The result? An awe-inspiring rocket ship.
So there you have it, Learning Expressions readers! I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a bit more about ZOOB and I very much hope that you’ll be able to attend a ZOOB-A-THON at your local Learning Express Toys this week!
Bye for now!