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Your New Pet Velociraptor, Plus 7 Other Toys From the IDEO Play Lab

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Dec 19 2018

At the IDEO Play Lab, we believe that a good toy is one that promotes play. Of course, all sorts of things can promote play—it’s hard to top pots, pans, and a wooden spoon for a one-year old, or a giant cardboard box for toddlers. (Tip: Never recycle those giant boxes too quickly!)

On our team, our currency is joy. In a not-too-far-off and awesome future, I hope parents begin to tell their kids, “You can’t do your homework until you go outside and play for an hour.”

Even though we love those everyday objects that turn into toys, we have some favorites on store shelves too. 2018 was another year of fun in our Palo Alto office—we got to work with toy companies on everything from transformative, nostalgia-based toys to new electronic games. Here are some of those favorites, invented by the IDEO Play Lab.


1. Flipslide

If a Rubik’s Cube and Simon had a baby, it would be Flipside. This fast-paced puzzle game can be played by yourself, against a friend, or with the whole family.


2. Hungry Bunnies

Adopt a (robotic) pet for the holidays. This adorable bunny really eats, but you won’t have to blow your budget on carrots—its favorite food is paper. It also laughs, sings, and comes complete with cuddly, fluffy ears.


3. Scooby Doo Transforming Mystery Machine

Look out, meddling kids! This toy transforms from the classic Mystery Machine into Scooby and the gang’s crime fighting HQ. Perfect for the preschooler who you want to introduce to your favorite nostalgic cartoon.


4. RC Mobile Command Center

More preschool fun, but with Batman this time! Also, a missile launcher. What kid doesn’t want a toy with a missile launcher? And on second thought, what adult doesn’t want a toy with a missile launcher?


5. Creative Cafe Barista Bar

Think Starbucks, but with brighter colors and a kid-safe milk frother. Latte art stencils are included so little ones can create their own designs.


6. Barbie Dream Camper

Barbie’s had a lot of sweet rides over the years, but this one makes road trips a breeze. The camper folds out to a full two feet and includes a play pool that holds real water. After going down the slide, Barbie can dry off roast marshmallows around the campfire. Kids will spend hours discovering all the features of this toy, so a vacation for Barbie means a vacation for parents too.


7. Paw Patrol Flip & Fly Chase

Paw Patrol is one of the most popular (not to mention cutest) shows for kids. Chase the German Shepherd’s vehicle is a dual truck and rescue jet—just lift to transform your truck into an airplane!


8. Jurassic World Alpha Training Blue Raptor

You've always wanted a pet velociraptor, right? Right. Now’s your chance—this interactive toy allows you to train your own pet dinosaur. You can even use it as a guard animal, set to alert you when anyone gets too close to your office—or, uh, your kid’s bedroom.

Header image via CNET.

  • Brendan Boyle

    Founder, IDEO Play Lab
    Brendan Boyle is a Partner at IDEO and his passion for invention drives his responsibilities at the company. He founded and leads its toy-invention studio, known as the Play Lab. Under his leadership, they have invented and licensed over 150 consumer products, specializing in the design of kid-centric goods, services and experiences. He is also passionate about the intersection between Play + Design Thinking and how these two ideas can bring about creative solutions to today’s complex business challenges—so much so that he created a course “From Play to Innovation” that he teaches at Stanford’s d.School and where he was named a Knight Fellow Favorite Professor. He is a co-author of The Klutz Books of Inventions and sits on the board of the National Institute for Play where he focuses on bringing play-based techniques to innovation. Brendan is the instructor for the prototyping course on IDEO's online learning platform, IDEO U.
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