On the first day of their toy-design class, 8th grade students were given a prompt to reflect on their favorite childhood toy. Feelings of nostalgia filled the room as students reminisced about their precious LEGO set, Shopkins figure, or Barbie doll (a few fan favorites). CEL teacher Tess Ramsey then asked, “If you could own a toy today based on your current obsession, what would it be?"
Creativity was unleashed! “Next thing you know, we're in the classroom prototyping an all-pink feminine version of Chewbacca, a Crockpot for a baby, a John Deer spin-off tractor with 14 wheels, and whatever else the students were dreaming up!” says Ramsey.
After analyzing existing toys and learning how to design, prototype, and market a product, each student created a one-of-a-kind action figure that comes equipped with 3D-printed accessories, packaging designed in Adobe Illustrator, and a vacuum-formed blister pack.
Welcome to the (SCH) market: Singing Kermit, Gilmore Girls Swan, Micecraft Steve Harvey, Minnie the Pooh, EMOtional Support Care Bear, The Prophecy of Sabrina Spellman, iPad Kid, and many more! [Be sure to scroll through the “toy catalog.”]
Bootleg toys provide a creative outlet and can be used as a political tool for artists and makers to express what they think is missing from popular culture. Ramsey notes, “Some artisanal toy makers sell their products for hundreds of dollars to art collectors and fanatics, solidifying the need for more diverse, quirky, and meaningful toys that better represent the public. This project has given my students the space to develop their own artistic voices while learning important design, prototyping, and business skills.”