Tuesday, August 26th, 2008
Magic Folding Cubes for Babies and Toddlers
For my eighth birthday, I received a Yoshimoto Cube like the animated one shown at right. It’s a plastic manipulation toy held together by an ingenious placement of stickers. It, or a generic knockoff, cost about $5 in the heyday of the mechanical puzzle craze inspired by Rubik’s Cube.
A toddler would destroy a Yoshimoto Cube in seconds, but it’s a nifty distraction for older kids.
Today we’ll look at less versatile, but still interesting, one-piece folding cubes for babies and toddlers.
To understand how regular cubes fold, check out this demo video of a Magicube, used by companies, often at conventions, as a promotional giveaway item emblazoned with custom images.
And here’s a paper folding cube you can make if you’re insane [instructions].
Got the idea? Okay good, now…
Inside Out Cube by Earlyears is a fabric cube that unfolds to reveal a total of 12 sides featuring pastel animals, patterns and alphabet letters. It’s intended from birth and up.
There’s no information on size, fabric, filling or washability, but it’s obviously fairly large and I suspect filled with foam.
You’re probably thinking two things right now. One, what kind of company name is Early Ears? Does the company sell prosthetic fetus ears? That’s a very narrow market segment to pursue because ears begin developing by the fifth week.
Okay, okay, and two, how would a baby play with such a huge series of connected blocks? Wouldn’t it be better to have a classic single fabric block that can be clutched in one hand?
I imagine a baby grabbing and pulling the whole thing flopping around, but of course my wife thinks our son would love it.
Well, you decide. It’s $20 at Amazon.
Do-It-Yourself Options for Toddlers
For a 3-year-old who won’t eat or destroy small objects, here are two cubes you can make at home.
Elementary school teachers Pat Baggett and Andrzej Ehrenfeucht have laid out step-by-step instructions for making wooden folding cubes. You just need 8 wooden blocks and tape. Then draw on the blocks, or add stickers.
You’ll need 8 wooden blocks, double-sided adhesive tape and 10 photos cut to fit your cube combinations. One word of caution: if your inkjet-printed photos smear with moisture, use store-printed photos.
Here’s a demo of a completed photo cube:
So, whatcha think?
Update: Yay! Melissa at Chasing Cheerios actually made a magic folding cube.