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Hanz Toys: Working with Parents and Teachers to Foster Next Generation Inventors
by The American Speacialty Toy Retailing Association   |   October 13   |   0 Comments
Traditional building blocks are getting a major makeover with Hanz Toys. Creator Nicholas Webb is igniting imagination with his innovative building materials - - and combined them with a breakthrough resource for teachers and parents!

Like many parents, Nicholas watched his 12-year-old son play. One evening, his son was intently reading step-by-step building instructions. What would a toy look like that would teach kids through play and go beyond the instruction pamphlet?

Hanz Toys was born.
Unlike other companies that may have step-by-step instructions, Hanz creates toys that foster a more creative way of building and problem solving.

“Step-by-step instruction manuals teach children compliance and replication today's workforce is not looking for replicators, rather they are looking for innovators,” says Nicholas.

Their toys go one step further by integrating technology into the designs for particularly progressive little minds. For example, kids can create their own robot and control it by using their (or their parents) iphone.

Nicholas noted the importance of technology integrated learning:  “Children are going beyond replication; they’re looking to innovate and create. Our goal is to create technologies that allow them to use our kits as the building blocks of their own innovations-- leveraging game mechanics, socialization, 3-D printing, and other emerging technologies.”

But it doesn't end with kits in a store that kids can play at home. Nicholas had bigger dream than that.

Enter Innovation Superstar, a free resource program provided by Lassen Scientific, Inc., Hanz Toys and its advertising and resource partners. The premise? Get kids inventing by enabling teachers and parents to unlock a child's inner inventor while fostering development of STEM (Science, (science,technology,engineering, and math) skills.

At the heart of Innovation Superstar is a teacher training program, available through on-demand video and self-study. Once a teacher completes the course and takes the test they receive course completion certification and access to a wide range of free material including lesson plans, student handouts and other resources. The website also includes an innovation and ideation platform to engage the Innovation Superstar community and innovation competitions and other teacher student resources.

“We provide free digital copies of the Invent Stuff for kids that has a range of exercises that teach iterative ideation, game mechanics, the socialization of innovation, collaborative innovation, and several other important innovation principles.” Webb explains.

Hanz Toys hopes to use Innovation Superstar not only in the classroom but in hospitals and science centers, too.They will be touring Innovation Superstar to bring innovation workshops across the country. So far, they've completed workshops at Turtle Bay Natural History Museum in Northern California and The Children’s Hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona.

For Nicholas and Hanz Toys, this is just the beginning. 


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