The idea for Stick-lets came about after Christina Kazakia and her friends had a conversation about their favourite childhood memories and realised they all took place outdoors. This led to the design of a toy that triggers a direct relationship with nature.
Q&A with the designer: Christina Kazakia
You’ve created a modern toy that is meant to bring more people outside to play, why is this important today?
Everyone loves to be outdoors, at least I hope this is true! Stick-lets act like a prompt to help further engage people with the natural world around them. Sometimes we need these prompts to realise the potential of natural toys like sticks. With these colourful and tempting gadgets in hand, kids explore the stick beyond its digging and sword-fighting abilities. My ultimate hope is that toys like Stick-lets drive families outdoors more often to seek good memories, scavenger hunts, challenges, and an appreciation for the world around them. We need our little ones to care for Mother Nature and lead by example.
We need our little ones to care for Mother Nature and lead by example.
Tell us a bit about your background and what has fascinated you about designing toys?
Iprefer to call them tools — tools to enhance imaginative thinking, learning, and collaboration. I’ve always liked to make objects and create beautiful things as a child. I’ve always embraced the meditative and creative moment during hands-on activities. My undergraduate degree is in Product Design and my graduate degree is in Industrial Design. Both programs taught me the importance of human-centered and purposeful design, bringing research and iterative making into the process to better the final design. Stick-lets are my first toy design and I hope to make similar toys in the future — ones that can be used by kids of all ages and for multiple purposes.
What was your favourite toy when you were a kid, and why?
Ihad three favorite toys: my cat, matchbox cars, and Lincoln Logs. My cat because she would explore the backyard with me, matchbox cars because they helped me fit in with the boys and they were simple enough of a toy that helped me act out stories, and Lincoln Logs because I liked constructing at a small-scale.
Stick-lets can be used by anyone, any age, what are your thoughts about how often we categorise play as something only kids do?
Most people associate play with children’s activities, but now there’s a growing importance of play for adults too. We deserve it, don’t we? Play is therapeutic and it shouldn’t be something we need permission to do. Children benefit even more from play when adults engage in it too. I believe the more frequently kids see grown-ups act playfully, the longer they’ll be a kid at heart.
Play is therapeutic and it shouldn’t be something we need permission to do.
What are your plans for Stick-lets in the future?
Right now we are planning to release some object-specific building kits which will come with dowels and manuals. We also hope to expand into more markets to explore how Stick-lets could make an impact. We are introducing Stick-lets to therapists, schools, corporations, and outdoor enthusiasts. Because they are so open-ended, we can take them in many directions to help teach math, science, communication, and survival. Also — we plan to be at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in 2017!
The Stick-lets Hexa Kit
The Stick-lets Hexa Kit consists of 6 flexible silicone connectors that can be used to secure the joints of forts or other creations — from twigs and branches, to dowels and broomsticks. You supply the sticks and ideas, and Stick-lets holds them together for hours of creative play.