Toy masters share their secrets with aspiring inventors

27 pupils from grades 9-12 participating in Science Oriented Youth Program meet with 20 of the leading toy designers in the world at the Hebrew University.

Toy inventors meet with students  (photo credit: D. Guthrie)
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 school.”
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 their toys.
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 experts.
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 vehicles.
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.