Toy inventors meet with students .
(photo credit: D. Guthrie)
Playing with toys is not just a kid’s game. At the Hebrew University Monday, 27
pupils from grades 9-12 participating in the national Science Oriented Youth
Program, met with 20 of the leading toy designers in the world. The pupils,
having spent the last few weeks inventing toys and games, and then designing,
developing and building them, got to share their creations with the toy chiefs
who came to visit.
Five of the toys and games experts came from the
Canadian toy company Spin Master, one of the largest such firms in the world,
which has developed toy hits such as Bakugan Battle Brawlers, Liv Dolls and Air
Hogs. Another 15 other inventors came from different companies around the world
to lend their expertise to the proceedings.
Dividing into different
groups, the pupils – who came from Ramle, Ma’ale Adumim, Jerusalem and the
periphery, presented the toys and games they had created to the inventors, for
their comments, criticisms, advice and counsel.
One game lauded by the
inventors was Balancing Marionettes, essentially a stuffed female puppet which
those playing, principally girls, have to dress and load up with jewelery,
handbags and other accessories – all the while making sure that she keeps her
balance and doesn’t end up flat on her back.
“Encouraging girls to study
science is really critical to opening them up to the possibilities which they
can take advantage of in the world of science,” said Dvora Lang, director of the
Science Oriented Youth Program at the Hebrew University. “We integrate complex
scientific content within gender studies that enriches the girls lives and makes
them see what’s possible.
There are more and more girls coming out from
the Science Oriented Youth Program who take up science studies at high
Spin Master founder and CEO Ronen Harari took the opportunity to
speak with the assembled youth and shared with them the company’s inventive
process and the innovative and creative thought which their designers put into
The youngest participant, a ginger-headed 12 year old, turned
out to be the creator of the game which received the most attention from the
He invented a Sweat Polygraph, designed to detect whether a
player tells the truth or not by the amount of sweat he produces when asked a
series of true or false questions.
Another group showed off its magnetic
racing cars, which can compete against each other using magnetic force. The
inventors, particularly impressed with the invention, recommended that the group
develop the game further and design a whole series of racing
Spin Master was founded by three Canadian Jews, including
Harari, and as such, the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University decided to
take the toy masters to Israel to inspire new and creative thinking in the
participants in the program.