“Play Power”

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I was invited to a child’s birthday party a couple of weekends ago.  The child’s family and friends are affluent so, as you can imagine, there were some very nice and expensive toys given as gifts.  What particularly caught my eye was the Lego Star Wars Death Star which sells for $399.99 (isn’t the .99 kind of beyond the point once you get past $99.99?).

With all of this abundance, I was delighted to see that someone with more modest spending power had given a balsa wood airplane as a gift.  I think they bought it at a Dollar Store and I sat there mesmerized as the birthday boy spent an enormous amount of time and joy throwing the plane around the yard.  Pound for pound and penny for penny, it was absolutely the best play value at the party if not the most fun.  In fact, I would call that much fun for that little money "Play Power."

Balsa wood planes were certainly the delight of my childhood.  They never lasted long.  Hit the street nose


first a few times and that metal clip at the front would come loose and then eventually fall off.  Still, the thrill of gliding it just right off the hand, the sight of a sudden wind catching it under the wings and lofting it high and fast and seeing it come in for a gentle landing on the lawn is a  lifetime memory.

So I began wondering, what toys offer the most "Play Power" per penny.  That in my next posting.

 

4 thoughts

  1. I love that you are keeping the dialogue going about play value…as our industry more fully embraces our purpose–to deliver play value–we can thrive.
    Nancy

  2. I once gifted a moderately expensive toy to my nephew. He played with it for about 10 minutes, with the box for 15, and then went back to his favourite item- a metal spoon and plate. He gets tremendous kick out of making a racket with these. There is more to this than meets the eye….
    Ajith

  3. Paper airplanes are also great fun, and very inexpensive. Getting the wing size and the weight balance just right is an awesome feeling. If you build them with friends, someone always seems to have a unique design that adds to the fun.
    The simple balloon is also great fun for pennies. Bop it around with friends and try not to let it hit the ground.
    The cardboard shipping box that some toys come in are often far more fun for the money than the toy.
    Does anything provide as much variety and fun as a standard deck of cards?
    Sidewalk chalk is great fun for kids, especially if they have a driveway to lay down their creations. The imagination of the artist is the only limit.
    As far as branded commercial products, Yahtzee is only about $5 and provides limitless hours of enjoyment over the life of the product.

  4. I recently asked my design managers – which is a better inspiration for designing toys….Comic Com or a visit to an Amish community? Who can say but your experience at the birthday party might lend some insight.

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