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IO Blocks® Chosen for Toy of The Year (TOTY) Finalist in Preschool Category!

Yesterday, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) announced the Finalists for the prestigious 2016 Toy of the Year Awards (TOTY) – also known as the “Oscars” of the toy industry and we are proud to announce that IO Blocks® is in! This year’s record-breaking 711 entries came from over 200 toy companies from around the world. IO Blocks®, has been chosen as a Finalist along with 6 other new toys in the competitive Preschool Category of the TOTYs.



TOTY Awards – Feb. 12th, 2016

Many of you already know our new 2015 open-ended construction toy which successfully marries the digital world with the physical world. Not only does it have digital world roots with its pixelated design and puzzle-like qualities, but it also comes with an interactive build guide when you download the free App. You may not know, however, to look for 2016 extensions which will include Minis and Vehicles (that come with a mini IO Blocks® hero as well as multiple vehicle parts). All IO Blocks® system pieces will integrate smoothly with each other and connect with the secure friction fit system that IO Blocks® is known for.

Aside from its current TOTY Finalist standing, IO Blocks® has received accolades from several other independent reviewer and award teams such as The Tillywig Brain Child Award, The National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval, and the Parents’ Choice Silver Award! See all the independent IO Blocks reviews in previous News on the Guidecraft website.

2016 TOTY Finalist IO Blocks

IO Blocks Chosen for 2016 TOTY Finalist

Between now and January 15, 2016, toy lovers of all ages can visit to vote for favorite toys (including IO Blocks®!), games and properties across 12 categories and enter to win exclusive prize packages. Winners will be announced at the TOTY gala on February 12th (the day before Toy Fair begins) at the American Museum of Natural History.

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Guidecraft Design Team Front and Center for Toy Fair 2016

Guidecraft’s team of toy designers will take front and center at Toy Fair 2016 as customers and Toy Fair attendees are encouraged to touch, play with and learn about the genesis of the company’s new premier toys while making their way into Guidecraft’s 50th Anniversary celebration booth. Guidecraft strives to alter the typical trade show experience, bringing focus on ideas, innovation and great design.

The company’s complimentary concentration on research, development, and the use of mixed materials and manufacturing techniques in the design process is no surprise given its rich history in the early childhood education market. Strengthening this area even further and zeroing in on innovation has been the main focus of company growth under the leadership of President (and Designer), Gary Bilezikian. The residual business successes the company has experienced since then has proven that, if you build it, they will come.


Designers, Shannon Moore and Suvimon Siriwong

The in-depth development process that each new Guidecraft toy undergoes is perhaps more democratic than most, with global design teams collaborating daily. These various representations ensure that international sensibilities, trends and needs are all addressed before a toy hits the worldwide market. This cooperation also includes focus on the ever-increasing STEM (or STEAM) interdisciplinary skill development, which many of Guidecraft’s building toys already inherently possess. To support this idea of interdisciplinary skill development and to create products that incidentally have longevity, Guidecraft has become a company which creates toy systems almost as a rule.  If a new toy is developed, it is done so with a multi-faceted system in mind from the outset.

Guidecraft Sr. Designer, Shannon Moore, team lead for Better Builders and all manipulative toys, describes the reason for designing systems this way, “There are natural systems all around us. We draw so much of our inspiration from our environment and especially the world as seen through a child’s eye. Children innately recreate and mimic what they experience on a daily basis. That may be where the play begins, but the experience multiplies with each open-ended system, allowing a child to be as creative and innovative as possible.”

20151111_144755Andrew Williams, also a Sr. Designer for Guidecraft and team lead for PowerClix® and IO Blocks® agreed and added, “We strive to make each toy system a special one. One that has not only educational properties, but is also visually appealing, fun to play with, and unique in the marketplace.”

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