ROCKEEES – creative open-ended toy made from recycled fridges by Jean-Pierre Raes

Why you design creative toys for children?

We design toys because we think playing is as important as eating and sleeping. It connects people, it stimulates creativity and it is healthy for mind & body. This is not only relevant for kids by the way. It drives me to help generate more playtime for everyone to increase resilience in the volatile world that we all live in. Therefore we design products that make it easy to play more.

What was your inspiration for your new open-ended  toy Rockeees?

Did you ever play with stones at the beach or at the river side, trying to stack them on each other? I always loved the excitement and peace of playing with gravity. This was our inspiration. We wanted to make it possible to play this game anywhere you want, so you can have this feeling anytime you want. We used the rocks as inspiration for our design of the Rockeees. We ended up with a smart designed rock that consists of 17 unique sides, each with its own balancing point. Since it is nestable, you can make 6 rocks in circle for easy travel.

The actual Rockeees will be made from PS material coming from recycled fridges. This way we want to spread the message that recycle is not only crucial for our planet, but that it also can be fun.

Are there other toys that you designed specifically for children?

One of our other products is FOOOOTY, the ball that fits in your pocket. It was also launched on Kickstarter couple of years ago. It is a 2D element, that enables you to make 3D shapes, like a football that you can actually kick. This product is already available around the world, from Museum stores like MOMA in New York to cool travel stores in Japan and many European design shops.

How children respond to your Rockeees?

We did a lot of testing with kids and parents. They were intrigued by the stone itself and first looked at it for a while before they started stacking. When they putting them on top of each other we saw that some kids really got into the flow of concentration and focus. Other kids just liked to play together and take turns and of course there were some kids than wanted to compete… to build the highest tower. The funny thing was that it were not only the kids, also the parents wanted to join the game and try it out. There was a lot of oeeehs and ahhhhs.

A few personal questions at the end: What toys did you play with as a child? Did you have a favorite toy?

I played with Playmobil and Lego. My Playmobll castle was one of my favorites. Loved to build the fortress, but even more I loved playing imaginative fights.

And subsequently: What toy do you think is completely superfluous?

In general I am not in favor of toys that do not leave space for imagination of kids. I love the open-end. I can watch for hours when I look at my own kids inventing new ways to play with stuff.

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