Sling Slam 2019 is slated to be the first ever full-fledged worldwide open begleri freestyle contest. The contest is scheduled to run August 11-17, in an online format modelled after the successful Single Grip Open (SGO) contest that we have run annually since 2016, but without the restrictions of “single grip” play. Participants will submit conforming freestyle clips online, showcasing their best tricks, flow, and video production skills. As with the SGO, the majority of the contest is expected to take place on Instagram, but contestants are welcome to submit clips on other platforms as well. Full details and rules are presented below.Read More
The 2018 Single Grip Open Begleri Contest will run next week, November 26th to December 2nd, 2018. The 2018 competition will closely resemble the 2017 one. The event will take place online, with contestants submitting continuous clips showing off their best “single grip” begleri flow. Clips can be submitted via Instagram, Facebook, or Reddit (details below). Like last year, the definition of “single grip” play is fairly open, but all entries must comply with the rules, and must be in the spirit of the event (i.e., don’t go looking for loopholes and grey areas.. focus on single grip). As with last year, the main focus of the event is participation—the whole point of this is to get the community involved. To encourage broad participation, the main contest will be for unsponsored players. Sponsored players and those representing begleri companies are invited participate in an exhibition division, and will still be eligible for some of the prizes up for grabs.Read More
I’m super excited to introduce our latest project, the Begleri Bank. I’ve been teasing these blasted beads for a while, and here’s the deal. They’re free, and you can’t buy em.. well, at least not for yourself.Read More
The 2017 Single Grip Open Begleri Contest will take place during the second full week of November (Nov. 13-19). Like the 2016 SGO, the 2017 competition will take place online, with contestants submitting continuous clips showing off their best “single grip” begleri flow. Clips can be submitted via Instagram, Facebook, or Reddit (details below).Read More
he 2017 Single Grip Open Begleri Contest is tentatively scheduled to take place during the second full week of November (Nov. 13-19). Like the 2016 SGO, the 2017 competition will take place online, with contestants submitting continuous clips showing off their best “single grip” begleri flow.Read More
Aroundsquare is proud to introduce the latest in the Titan begleri series, the Titan OS. This is a free-to-download 3D print file that will allow enthusiasts to cheaply and easily print their own set of Titan begleri, and even tweak the design to their own personal tastes. Aroundsquare is making this design available for free to the community, in the continued efforts to help grow the begleri community and put good quality, high performance begleri in the hands of as many players as possible.
The free download is available in the AO2 shop, and includes and includes .stl , .sat , and .dwg files, which should serve the purposes of most 3D print hobbiests, and should be workableRead More
I'm very excited to share the latest video from Kuma Films.. an incredible begleri edit, featuring some of the top slingers in the world... who (ahem) just happen to be sponsored by Aroundsquare. Extraordinary video and editing work, matched with incredible talents, and (ahem) some dynamite beads. Please check it out, and show your support to Kuma Films for making this happen. This video also marks the debut of our new Hydra begleri, which will be available Friday, October 15th, at 7pm Pacific time in our store.Read More
The AO2 Crew is a Aroundsquare's official team. They're a ragtag bunch of insanely talented object manipulators, from the far corners of the internet. They are also, hands down, some of the most creative, skilled, and dedicated enthusiasts we've ever seen. They are all multi-talented individuals, and they bring together crazy skills with begleri slinging, balisong flipping, cardistry, magic, kendama, and more. With these skills in the mix, they are quite literally defining the world of modern begleri play. Check these guys out, give them some love, and follow our social media to check out the latest from the team.
If you're looking for the forthcoming Titan begleri, you've come to the right place. If you're following Aroundsquare on Instagram, you have probably seen glimpses of the Titans--a titanium begleri set with a completely new bead design that has been refined based on all the experience and feedback since the Wukongs. They are extremely durable and very well weighted, and the bead design plays, feels, and looks amazing.
When Aroundsquare launched with Wukongs in collaboration with MonkeyfingeR, we presented something quite unique--an over-sized round begleri bead, unlike anything else on the market. The Wukongs quickly set a new standard for playability, and the design has inspired many of theRead More
A good while back, Aroundsquare started to take an interest in the art of cardistry. We observed, we dabbled a little, and mostly we wondered.. We wondered about the potential for new visual elements that could be incorporated into cardistry work if we threw out a lot of the assumptions that go into conventional card design. The result is The Concept. It's a deck of cards designed only for card flourishing, and nothing else. There are no numbers, no suits, no faces. The entire visual field is designed around possible visual effects.
These aren't for sale quite yet, but we've done up a test run of them, and we feel pretty good about how they turned out. Let's call it a "proof of concept". We've added a little write-up to our Goods page, but to save you clicking over, here it is below..Read More
Aroundsquare has been working on a little project behind the scenes for a few months, and it's time to post a little teaser. I've got okay focus when I need it, but I've never been a fan of just sitting still, and I've always liked having something to fidget with, and better still if there are tricks to learn. I grew up on yo-yos, but I would get in trouble for playing them in class. I spun pens, I doodled, I kept busy however I could. I wish I had known about begleri back in my school days.Read More
One of the challenges of introducing a new skill toy is establishing a base of ideas so that people have some idea about the potential for what the toy can do. In the case of Monkey Knuckles, it's compounded a bit because the play is continuous. It's not like a yo-yo where there is a beginning and end to each "trick". With MK, there is a continuous flow and progression from one technique to the next. And there is no "reset" like in juggling or other skill toys where you make drop and start over... MK allows you to flow from one style to the next, and if you mess up one technique and miss a catch or something, there is almost always a way to recover and go on to a new trick without stopping. When introducing MK, I usually talk about styles of play, or ways of holding the toy, rather thanRead More
One of the questions people sometimes ask about the Goodwood Deconstruction Blocks is, "What are they for?" I usually respond with something like, "Weren't you listening?" You see, it's part of a bigger conversation, and one which reveals some fairly entrenched assumptions about what play is s'posed to be. We've gotten into this mode where we expect everything to come with instructions, or challenges, or goals. We get uncomfortable with too much freedom. It's like being out in the wilderness! Lions and tigers and bears, right? I'm of the other mind. I'm deeply afraid of what will happen if we let a generation of kids grow up always being told what to do, always working towards someone else's preconceived goals.Read More
Aroundsquare takes play seriously. We see it as an inherent drive to explore and experiment, and as a consequence, we see it as a critical part of how kids learn how the world works. With this as a starting point, we can begin to differentiate the different kinds of play. Most of the toys out there these days are directive. They're designed to either entertain kids while they sit passively, or they tell the kids what to do. Aroundsquare's toys are about the opposite. They are tools. They are platforms for expression. There is no right or wrong way to play, and they leave a lot up to the imagination. This kind of decision-making is critical for the development of fully autonomous adults, able to think for themselves, take initiative, and get things done.Read More
One of the common themes running through all the work of Aroundsquare is the idea of freedom within some kind of a structure. In discussion of cognitive theory, this freedom is referred to in terms of affordances--the available options for action or choice within a given context. Part of what Aroundsquare tries to do is to create structures which are empowering, and which maximize the available affordances.
The Goodwood Deconstruction Blocks are a good example of this. While classic building blocks are timeless and elegant in their simplicity, we've removed a few little pieces here and there, creating spaces where the blocks can fit together and balance in new and interesting ways. The geometry creates a kind of platform for expression. The additional affordances provide new options for exploration and discovery.Read More
As an independent toy developer, I am a little bit distrustful of department stores and other big retailers. And as a social entrepreneur, I have always preferred to partner with independent retailers. I was never interested in becoming a businessperson. I made my choice early on to go into the field of education, where I have worked for the 15 years of my professional life thus far.
But throughout this time, and starting much earlier, I've maintained an interest in well designed and open-ended toys, and a complementary interest in arts and crafts. I've been making toys in some form or another for the better part of my life. Most of that was just mucking around. Sometimes I would follow simple instructions in a craft book to make some kind of novel gadget. But more often, I would take inspiration from something else, either modding my existing toys or coming up with something entirelyRead 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
The Policy Landscape of Play
For all the work that Aroundsquare does in the fields of play, education, and international development, both practical and philosophical, we have never posted anything on this site about what is going on in the upper ups internationally. Turns out, it's not just kids that think play is important. Turns out, there is some interestingRead 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