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IO Blocks

IO Blocks Minis Make the Perfect Summer Travel Toy!

IO Minis BannerJust in time for summertime traveling fun, IO Blocks Minis have arrived! Each set comes in a handy portable canister, making it even easier for young builders to take their favorite new building blocks with them while on the go.

IO Blocks Minis are a quarter-sized miniature version of their recent forerunner and original STEM toy in the IO Blocks building system which, within a few months of release, received the National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval, The Tillywig Brain Child and Parents’ Choice Awards and became a Finalist for the 2016 TIA Toy of The Year. The same smooth twelve shapes and friction-fit interlocking system are utilized, but this time the colors are switched up and the IO Blocks Minis are packaged in a compact yet sturdy  canister making them the perfect summer travel toy. The Minis sets range from a classroom-sized set with 900 pieces to a handy 75 piece set with an appealing price tag of $9.99. Suggested age is 5+.

IO Blocks fans will also be glad to know that this month we debuted IO Blocks Vehicles; 3 different vehicle building sets which not only come with original IO Blocks building pieces but now include fins, wings, cabs, bumpers, cabins, wheels and more, along with special Hero Figures to pilot all of a little builder’s creations. Choose Race Cars or Planes and Boats or the comprehensive IO Blocks Vehicles set right here on the IO Blocks page.

Each and every set in the IO Blocks system provides the same stimulating, smart play for kids of all ages. They all work together seamlessly enticing young builders to explore open-ended engineering concepts in a fun, care-free way.

All IO Blocks system sets (of any type) includes an enclosed tracker pad which, when used together with our free IO Blocks app, provide an interactive building guide with dozens of themed builds for IO Blocks, IO Blocks Minis and IO Blocks Vehicles. The IO Blocks app may be downloaded for free on Google Play and Apples App Store and add to the portability of the entire IO Blocks system of toys.

Happy Summer from the entire Guidecraft staff!

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Happiness is…an IO Blocks building party

IO Blocks Parties

During the month of May, 100 families and teachers all over the US threw building parties with children and students eager to discover a new open-ended construction toy. We sent each of them a tub of IO Blocks along with a handful of building cards and tracker pads to use with our free IO Blocks interactive building app. We couldn’t have hoped for a better response. Here is what just a few of them said about IO Blocks.

“I could see these used in a classroom, a makerspace, a daycare, and at home. Teachers could use them for puzzles, engineering, and teaching concepts like symmetry.” – Mrs. Fletcher, Franklin Elementary

“I also loved that we used the blocks for more than just building. We did color sorting with my youngest and then built towers of each individual color. For my oldest I used them as manipulatives so she could see division in action. We have really enjoyed them the last few weeks.” –

“My kids have really liked them, and while I know they are still a novelty because they are so new, my kids have been excited to show their friends when they come over, and they usually play at least an hour with them.” – Kirsten

“IO Blocks have an app (IO Blocks), which will walk you through the steps to create …You select a project and train your phone’s camera on a printed sheet. The image will pop on it for you to manipulate through the steps. I’ve never seen anything like it! Children see the blocks as raw pieces of fun just waiting for them to interpret.” – Nona

“We ended up with a neat zoo full of colorful animals! But that’s just the beginning of what kids can create with IO Blocks — they can also make vehicles, robots, and so much more.” – Susan

FYI- We just updated the app this month to improve functionality and to include builds for IO Blocks extension sets coming in June. Check out the newest version on iTunes.

A big thank you to our friends at Tryazon for setting up so many parties to help us introduce IO Blocks to the world!



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Unique Holiday Toys and Gifts for the Young Builders in Your Life

If you are looking for unique Hanukkah or Christmas toy gifts that are all together fun, unique, creative and happen to exercise those all important STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills, you’ve come to the right place.
Guidecraft has created several lines of open-ended building toy systems which draw inspiration from nature and the world around us, are just as fun to play with as they are smart, and are designed to appeal to both boys and girls. We like to create toy systems, so you’ll find new extensions added each year, bringing new dimension to the toy again and again. Here are 3 choices appropriate for children, 2 years old and up.
2 Years Old and Up

Better Builders Sub Category Banners

Better Builders is a wonderful first building toy; its unique rod and ball configurations, easily gripped by little hands, are held together with a strong magnetic force. Extend the Better Builders holiday fun by adding Career People, Community People and Better Builders Emotions!
Winner of the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio’s Platinum Best Toy Award.

4 Years Old and Up

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Our brand new IO Blocks are where the digital world meets the physical world in a building toy. Their design is based on the pixelated forms found in the virtual world yet they are made of a unique soft-touch plastic. The secure, friction fit interlocking system used by IO Blocks, is a satisfying and secure way to build puzzle-like structures and figures. Additionally, your child may enjoy the free augmented reality App which replaces the traditional building guide.
Winner of Tillywig’s Brain Child Award, The National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval, Parents’ Choice Silver Award and is currently in the running for 2016 Toy of The Year!

5 Years Old and Up


Also new this year, PowerClix Organics are the first magnetic toy to be inspired by organic shapes and forms found in skeletons, reefs, honeycombs, insects, plants and more. The beautiful new natural shapes and colors work seamlessly with their PowerClix predecessors, Solids and Frames, extending the entire toy system to unlimited design possibilities and encouraging children to think like engineers while having fun.
Winner of Parents’ Choice top Gold Award, The National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval and Oppeneheim Toy Portfolio’s top Platinum Toy Award.

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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’s New IO Blocks® Wins Multiple Industry Awards

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October 19, 2015 – Guidecraft is very pleased to announce that its new and unique IO Blocks® construction toy has earned recognition from several distinguished toy award and review teams this fall. IO Blocks® has won The Tillywig Brain Child Award, The National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval, and the Parents’ Choice Silver Award!

• The Tillywig Brain Child Award which is given exciting products that energize the mind while seamlessly blending fun and learning.
• The National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval which identifies the finest products and services being marketed to the parent/child audience.
• Parents’ Choice Silver Award which is given to excellent products that are designed to entertain and help children develop universally ethical attitudes, and rigorous standards and skills.

Here is what the toy experts say about IO Blocks®:

Tillywig Team Review of IO Blocks®: “IO Blocks® 114 Piece Set is a physical construction toy with a free companion app that presents a variety of models to build (Animals, Vehicles, Robots, and Structures). The physical components, which consist of 12 distinct plastic shapes in 6 different colors, fit snugly and securely together, making for wide-ranging, almost infinite possibilities. That versatility stimulates creativity and open-ended play. IO Blocks® unique appearance and vivid colors have an almost pixelated feel, as if bits and bytes had somehow sprung to life, a factor that lends a distinctive appeal to anything constructed from them. Working with the app’s interactive building guide makes the construction process more puzzle-like, stimulating a variety of conscious and unconscious thought processes. Utilizing the onscreen animated visuals both requires and hones a strong sense of space and depth perception, as well as visual acuity and logic.”

TNPC Fall Report on Winner IO Blocks®: “This IO Blocks® set is a terrific first building toy and according to several testers is an alternative to a more well-known building block brand. These blocks come in great colors that are not derived from your standard palette. The unique shapes are easy and comfortable to grip and don’t have sharp edges or pointy corners that have hobbled many a parent who has stepped on one in the middle of the night. The pieces fit together very easily and actually stay together. This allows children the freedom to think outside their usual “building box” and expand their creativity. Many parents told us that their children didn’t experience the frustrations that occur with other blocks that don’t stay together if they aren’t correctly aligned. A major difference you will notice immediately is that these blocks do not have small peg fittings, instead they use a tongue and groove style that is large enough for a young child to manipulate easily. Parents were very impressed by the quality of the blocks which are durable and hollow, making them lightweight and safer.”

Parents’ Choice Review of Seal Winner IO Blocks®: “The 114 puzzle-like pieces have 12 unique interlocking shapes in appealing and gender-neutral modern colors of red, green, blue, tan, black, and white. The plastic forms are well constructed and sized, have a satisfying feel when snapped together, and incorporate both straight edge and curved elements. Unencumbered by theme or instruction, our young testers made animals, buildings, cars and trucks, and some things we didn’t recognize. For those builders who want to explore Augmented Reality, there’s a free compatible app available on Google Play and the Apple App Store. While our testers were intrigued, they preferred the reality of their own making.”


We are very proud of IO Blocks® and all of the awards they bring home! Look for extensions and variations of our successful IO Blocks® system to be unveiled next year at Toy Fair 2016!

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