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
There are a lot of things I love about wood. I read a great essay on wood some years ago by Buckminster Fuller. The gist of it was something about how wood, biomass, is a translation of sunlight, pounding at the earth, year after year. Instead of just bouncing off or getting absorbed and becoming heat, a portion of that light gets grabbed by the little greens.. and those little greens use the energy to make stuff, real stuff we can touch. And over the years it builds up to the point where we have whole ecosystems with big trees and animals too. His point was that it's not just some big tree... the tree actually represents decades of stored energy, like a massive biochemical spring that’s been wound up, season after season. And all the more with the coal and oil underground. And so we shouldn't be surprised by some pretty dramatic effects when eons of stored energy are released in the space ofRead More
Play is one of the most natural human endeavors, and one of the first. The drive to play is preprogrammed into us, we are born ready to explore and learn, to poke and prod, to try and err, to experiment and observe the results. But our concept of play has become corrupted. Play has become associated with a narrow range of activities, usually involving preset boundaries, predefined rules, and artificially imposed objectives. Along with this, our ideas about playthings have also become corrupted. The shelves of most toy stores are full of toys which prescribe a very particular activity, and those which could potentially be used in more than one way usually come with instructions which tell us the "right way" to play with them; they provide us with the end goal, or perhaps a series of challenge cards. There is nothing wrong with learning to follow instructions, and certainly nothing wrongRead More
in the past year, aroundsquare has donated nearly a thousand sets of goodwood deconstruction blocks to small community-based kindergartens in egypt. egypt is going through a transition, and play has a purpose in that transition.
one of the cornerstones of democracy is a citizenry which is engaged and ready to take on the responsibilities that democratic governance demands. as a proponent of real creative play in early childhood, i want to highlight the connection. it's essentially about the way in which a person positions him or herself in relation to the world. it is about learning to engage with the world around us, about gaining a sense of self-efficacy and empowerment, a sense that our actions make a difference.
the types of activities which young children take up do a lot more than what they appearRead 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