A local company’s toys have won several awards this year including “Best Tech Toy” from Consumer Report but this toy isn’t something loud and battery operated — it’s a book, puzzle or wall poster.
“When you go up against large companies such as Hasbro and Matel, who’ve got many more years of experience in both the tech and the toy industry, we’re excited that we can, with a child’s imagination and interest, still go toe-to-toe and carve out our own niche with our own ability to play and bring out imagination in youngsters,” said Scott Jochim, a former Ahwatukee Foothills resident and co-owner of Popar Toys. “I was right up against a Barbie. The new tech Barbie you can draw on her dress and right up there with it was our planet book, which shows the written word and being able to explore it with technology. It just shows story telling is still alive and the imagination of kids working with technology is great.”
Popar Toys has been in business for four years and has seen some success in that time. Jochim said to them the success so far has been in more than doubling their product line. The company has gone from producing three books in the beginning to now producing seven books, several puzzles and wall posters.
Each of the products Popar creates is a physical and traditional toy that comes to life when viewed through a smartphone or tablet. A book, when viewed through the company’s app, has 3-D images and games hidden within its pages. A puzzle, once put together, contains family-friendly video games that can be played on the screen. A wall poster comes to life with images that transport kids to a different place like a sports field or planetarium.
“Imagine putting together a puzzle with your daughter and when the puzzle is complete an entire castle emerges from the puzzle and you can play dress designer and princesses will be dancing around,” Jochim said. “The wall charts you normally would find throughout your childhood like the solar system or periodic table or even human anatomy but when you place a cell phone or tablet across the front of it, it literally comes to life. A skeleton will walk out of the chart. The periodic table elements come to life and you can create combinations. With the soccer puzzle, once it is put together you can now play soccer with your friends. It’s an actual video game with the puzzle which has been very exciting to take a very normal, traditional toy you put together on your kitchen table and when it’s done it becomes that interactive digital toy all the kids want.”
Jochim said what’s most exciting for the company is even though its products are mostly educational, the awards they’ve received have been voted on by kids. They were mentioned by Good Housekeeping as a hot toy trend for 2013 and Parent’s Magazine named them one of the “Best Toys of 2013.”
The products work with any iPhone 4 or above, iPad 2 or above, and any android tablet or phone with a camera. All the products can be purchased online at popartoys.com and the company also has its wall posters available exclusively at Costco for a discounted price through the holidays.
For more information on the toys or the company, visit popartoys.com.
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