box caret-down caret-left caret-right caret-up cart check-o check chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up de document Dot dropbox en es external-link facebook FlagCreated with Sketch. fr google-plus image instagram linkedin pinterest rss search twitter user youtube
News » Guidecraft Celebrates 50 Years of Making Toy Systems for Change

Guidecraft Celebrates 50 Years of Making Toy Systems for Change

50 years ago a young man named Fred Fein started a business making small, wooden figures in a one room shop in Garnerville, New York. Mr. Fein describes his first wood shop this way. “There was one area where I worked with machinery and another area for silkscreen painting and an area for final packaging. I did the quality control myself as well!” He called his new company Guidecraft®.

The first toys Mr. Fein made were the aptly named, Wedgies™, for their wide bases and narrow tops, and were designed to be used with unit blocks to encourage a child’s social and emotional development.

Those first figures mirrored the conservative 1960’s iconic styling of the time, but also belied a progressive cultural message that Mr. Fein quietly conveyed in each Wedgie™. Women were more than mothers – they had careers. Professionals came from a variety of cultures and with different skin tones.
Today, we look with nostalgia on these figures, but 50 years ago, they represented pioneering concepts in education and society. Interestingly, thousands of Wedgies™ resembling those original figures are still made and sold every year through school supply distribution companies, some of which have been Guidecraft® customers since the 1960s.

Classic Wedgies Line Up

Today, Guidecraft® is a global company with operations in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. Throughout the years of growth, the company has always maintained its high standards to provide thoughtful, smart and creative additions to the consumer and educational children’s toy and furniture market. Guidecraft’s rich portfolio now includes unique premier toys, manipulatives, construction and block play toys, arts and storage furniture, household helpers and furniture systems.

Of note, all of Guidecraft’s premier building toys inherently compliment the ever-increasing focus on STEM skill development. Whether it is the 2016 introduction of a STEM toy specifically designed for toddlers, such as Better Builders® Grippies®, or overlaying a 16-year-old artist’s creations onto the already inspiring magnetic building system, PowerClix®, or extending the TOTY Finalist IO Blocks® system to include vehicle parts as well as a mini version of the toy, Guidecraft® is committed to creating toys that are fun, yet powerful learning tools with multi-disciplinary benefits.

Guidecraft® is proud to be built upon the foundation of the forward-thinking Wedgie™, and thrilled to be able continue in Mr. Fein’s tradition.

Recent Posts

  • The Impact of Natural Elements on Early Learning Spaces: A Global Perspective
  • Join EdWeb.net’s Webinar on Monday, May 21, from 3-4pm EST as our very own, Gary Bilezikian, takes us on a global tour of Early Childhood Education from New Zealand, to Thailand, to Chile, to China—in search of nature-based environments that promote a holistic educational model. You’ll learn how the legal, cultural, political, and religious frameworks impact […]


  • Introducing Block Science
  • Introducing a new kind of block play: Block Science. Our entire Block Science system, which debuts this year, is created around physics to harness the energy of play. It is designed to be used with all standard unit blocks and every set includes Concept Cards, or visual cues that show the correlation between the world […]


  • Vote Today! IO Blocks® Vehicles and Grippies® Builders Nominated for Toy of the Year!
  • Between now and January 15, 2017, toy lovers of all ages can visit www.toyawards.org to vote for favorite toys, including IO Blocks Vehicles and Grippies! On November 21st, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) announced the Finalists for the prestigious 2017 Toy of the Year Awards (TOTY) – also known as the “Oscars” of the toy industry and […]


  • Better Builders Emotions Wins 2016 PAL Top 10 Award
  • Play On Words, the award-winning speech therapy company, announced that Guidecraft’s Better Builders® Emotions received their 2016 PAL Top 10 Award for School Age Toys. The PAL Awards were established to identify unique toys, games and books that through their design, quality and character, encourage play that advances language. Robert Artemenko, CMO of Play On Words, said […]


  • Why Manipulatives?
  • “Children must master the language of things before they master the language of words.”  —Friedrich Froebel Manipulatives were first introduced into children’s educational curriculum in 1837 by Friedrich Froebel, the father of Kindergarten. Froebel developed a variety of maneuverable objects, which he called Froebel Gifts, to aid his students in recognizing patterns and geometric forms. […]