I've been a fan of Kuma Films for quite a while. I'm involved with a couple of skill toys communities online, and a year or two ago, I started to see these awesome videos circulating through the social media, with amazing shots, great editing, sick music, and more fundamentally, some really incredible skills from fantastic performers. After seeing their funky little bear logo a couple of times, I followed it to the Kuma Films channel on YouTube, and was blown away. I thought, "Maybe one day I could convince these guys to do a Monkey Knuckles video--I wonder how much I would have to pay them."Read More
Aroundsquare is freaking excited to announce a new partnership with Yomega for the production and worldwide distribution of Monkey Knuckles. For those of you who have been following Aroundsqare, you'll know that this is a project that's been in the making for over a decade. Monkey Knuckles was first developed back in 2003, and at that time, it was a crude handmade item, with a player community of one.Read More
Aroundsquare is a Canadian company, and we've had great support from a handful of independent toy stores up here since the beginning. We got our start in Calgary, and the Calgary community has been awesome actually, with great thanks to longtime friends, Livingstone and Cavell Extraordinary Toys, Monkey Shines Children's Books, and Riva's Eco Store. Our first real exposure to the rest of Canada came this year at the Canadian Toy and Hobby Fair this pas January. We connected up with a bunch of cool independent stores east and west of crude country. And we also met, for the first time, a very cool Canadian distributor specializing in eco-friendly and socially responsible toys. They represent very cool and unique brands across Canada, and Aroundsquare is proud toRead More
Aroundsquare is involved in what might appear to be a strange mix of projects. Social development and child development are pretty far apart on the technical spectrum, but they are related in that they both have to do with the kind of people growing up within a society. Educational consulting and toy design are a bit easier to connect, and with that connection, Aroundsquare works to bridge individual and social development. Democratization, sustainability, cognitive theory.. It's all interconnected, and Aroundsquare's work infiltrates all of these fields. These things all have to do with the way that people, as individuals, and collectively as societies, develop.Read More
Aroundsquare has won a few awards and honours lately that are worth pulling together for a little mention:
B Corp Best for Communities Honouree - Aroundsquare is very proud to have been named by B Labs as one of its B Corp Best for Community Honourees. All Certified B Corporations have to pass rigorous standards to become certified in the place, so to be recognized as a leading micro-enterprise among B Corporations is truly an honour. We take pride in being a founding Canadian B Corporation, and we take pride in our score of excellence in the areas of governance, community, and environment on B Labs's Impact Assessment. And we are extremely proud of the partnerships and policies we have developed which have contributed to our recognition as part of this Best for the World campaign.Read More
Reposted from an interview for Fat Brain Toys...
How do you come up with new designs?
Design is a very hands-on process for me. It doesn't take place in my head. Since I was a kid, I have always been a maker. I have lots of tools and materials around me. Sometimes I will start with a small collection of materials,Read More
Aroundsquare Announces Partnership with Trees for the Future
Aroundsquare is pleased to announce a new partnership with Trees for the Future. Since 1989 Trees for the Future has been helping communities around the world plant trees. Through seed distribution, agroforestryRead More
For anyone who has spent any time looking over this website, or learning about Aroundsquare, it will be clear that it's not just a toy company. Aroundsquare has a more fundamental concern with healthy development in general, the healthy development of children, and the healthy development of the societies we live in. Our toysRead More
Aroundsquare's Matthew Hiebert was interviewed recently by TDmonthly Magazine on toys and play and AO2's work as a social enterprise. Excerpt below, and full text at the link which follows.. enjoy!
Q. How do you hope your products affect children’s' lives?Read More
aroundsquare is committed to conducting business in a way which delivers benefits at each step. to that end, we're constantly reflecting on questions like who we should be doing business with, from manufacturing partners all the way through to our retail partners. the store that you might see our products in.. those are no accident. we like to support good independent stores, stores which contribute something to the community, stores which care about quality, and care about play.
in addition to making donations of our products to education and childcare centres in the developing world, we also provide special pricing for children's museums, and benefit-driven business which are doing something more than just trying to make a buck.
in keeping with this spirit, we are launching a new program to extend our hand to non-Read More
aroundsquare is proud to be a certified B Corporation. unlike regular businesses which are driven by profit alone, AO2 leverages the tools of business to generate benefit. while most businesses have a single bottom line, profit, aroundsquare has four. in addition to being financially viable, aroundsquare strives to deliver social, developmental and environmental benefit through incorporating these values into all decision-making related to the products developed and the processes used to bring them to the market.
AO2's certification as a B Corporation signifies that this is not just empty rhetoric.. this is not green, or red, marketing. B Labs, the organization which certifies B Corporations, has a rigorous certification process involving a detailed survey and follow-up process in which prospective companies are required to back up claims with appropriateRead More
i’ve classified the goodwood deconstruction blocks series as “open-source toys” in the past. i’ve assigned them a creative commons license “attribution; share-alike” (CC-BY-SA). in plain language this means that anyone can use or modify the designs for themselves.. all they need to do is attribute the design to aroundsquare, and provide the same license for all derivative works.. they can make and sell the blocks, and they can come up with modifications or new version of the blocks..
my intention in doing this was to put the designs out there with hopes that they may do good for somebody. ideas are free after all.. it isn’t costing me anything. there is always a risk that i’ll get ripped off by some profit-driven toy company, but i’m not really concerned about that. it would be much more of a shame for an idea which may doRead More