Guest blogger, Peter Wachtel (aka) “KID Toyology," is an award winning creative toy and entertainment designer, inventor and teacher. Has designed more than 500 products for the Toy, Entertainment and Design Education industries many of which can be found at http://www.KidToyology.com. Peter was recently the Chair/Academic Director & Design Instructor at Ai Hollywood for Graphic & Industrial Design, and has taught Toy Design at Pratt Institute, Parsons School of Design and Otis College of Art & Design.
“Toys are a way of discovering who we really are, or want to be”.
I’m sure most of us at one time or another have wished to be able shrink down, or grow up to become one of our favorite toys. Either to have its powers, looks, speed, lifestyle, or just to be able to play along side of it.
"All Kids are Inventors".
Growing up, I loved all kinds of toys- cars, trucks, action figures, squirt guns, etc. But I would have to say that my favorite growing up was the Evel Knievel stunt cycle (Ideal Toys) from the 1970’s. Evel at that time was at the top of his game- jumping the Grand Canyon, being on TV and in movies. The Evel Knievel stunt cycle let me be me. Evel had his own helmet, clothes, a cool bike, and an awesome turbo booster- that would propel him at more than 150 miles an hour (scale speed) on his bike. I would imagine myself jumping the Grand Canyon (3 garbage cans) or crashing into a woolly mammoth (my dog Bently). It would crash through anything, and I mean anything! Blocks, bricks, and sometimes your brother. When you wound it up the torque was so strong that it actually peeled rubber!
“Toys teach and affect us as we grow up”.
Each day was a new adventure, and eventually Evel had a camper and accessories. We would play in trees on the roof, and go do Stunt Shows around the neighborhood. You could pose Evel in any position- a handstand, a one armed ride, anything! It could jump ramps, go through water, and go over tree branches. One more great thing- it wouldn’t break- no matter how many times you rammed it into something. Evel gave me a way to be who I couldn’t be in real life, and a chance to play and experiment. Toys in some ways give us pleasure or acting out or imagining new adventures or personalities.
“The little world of childhood with its familiar surroundings is a model of a greater world”. (Carl Jung)
I think toys are a way of acting out who we might want to be later in life, or at least have a want to have fun. As for Evel, he met a fiery demise long ago, and I am getting another one from EBay. For me, what did I become? I became a toy designer, where I can create all kinds of toys, and live out my fantasies in multiple ways every day. I hope that in the future, toys are designed with the fantasy and fun of the past, along with the technologies of the future. Play on!
If you were a toy, what would you be?