“The entire system is a matrix with no limits or boundaries.” — Steve Cohen, ZinkoTek
It’s big. It’s colorful. And it takes children’s construction toys to a whole new level, giving them the ability to build life-sized forts, characters, and anything else their imaginations want to attempt.
ZinkoTek, an educational construction toy targeted at children ages 3 and older, consists of interlocking pieces in many shapes and colors. It was even featured on “Live with Regis & Kelly” as one of this year’s most creative and innovative new toys.
IMAGINATION WITHOUT BOUNDS
“With the advent of video games, we felt children wanted to become more immersed into play,” Steve Cohen, one of four founding partners, explained to TDmonthly Magazine. “We felt the best way to do this was to create a large-scale building set where they could become part of a fully interactive experience. With the ZinkoTek building matrix, not only are children now playing from the outside looking in, they are also able to play from the inside looking out.”
Besides immersing children in a world of play, Steve pointed out that ZinkoTek also gives their imaginations free reign. “Children love to make forts, hideouts and large structures, often using oversized cardboard boxes, chairs and blankets,” he said. “We also wanted to add infinite building possibilities to expand their imaginations.”
The ZinkoTek system encourages both independent and collaborative play patterns. “Time and again we have seen young children and their older siblings bond while building with ZinkoTek,” Steve elaborated. “It provides active play as children construct and problem-solve together. Also, they can use every aspect of the building system without parental supervision or guidance, and ZinkoTek can be used indoors or out, providing year-round play.”
Steve believes that ZinkoTek’s versatility “connects” with children. “They love the fact the entire system is a matrix with no limits or boundaries. Each part is able to connect to another part in dozens of ways,” he told TDmonthly. "The soft foam’s bright colors and large scale make for instant smiles.”
From inception to final production, ZinkoTek took 16 months. Cohen said the largest obstacle was overcoming size and cost issues.
“Our predominant market of specialty and educational supply stores does not have space to display ZinkoTek in its entirety. We created a program where we custom-design store displays made from ZinkoTek pieces to fit the retailer’s allocated space. As for the [$375] retail price, we had to show parents that this was a toy that actually grows with their child, no matter their age, and will provide years of play opportunities.”
The company is now focused on building awareness. “Winning awards from every segment of our target market has been critical to our increased Web traffic,” Steve told TDmonthly. “We have been fortunate enough to have had TV coverage, exposing our product to consumers, who, in turn, ask for it in the specialty market. In the coming weeks, we will launch a new website with several interactive aspects.”
Looking forward, Steve indicated that line extensions will debut at Toy Fair 2009 in February. “New products will include smaller, less expensive sets, which will be fully interchangeable with the current set.”