By Hannah De Castro-Abinuman
Have you ever noticed how your gadgets have become an integral part of your daily routine? Whether it’s a phone, a tablet, a laptop or a game console, these gadgets are being used daily by people of all ages, and have become so detrimental to one’s way of life, that it seems rather impossible to even survive without it. Even among children, gadgets have been a staple in playing their games, and sometimes even considered as a status symbol! But whatever happened to using one’s imagination? Whatever happened to being able to interact with your playmates, friends and parents or actually use your hands to create or build something?
Although there is nothing wrong with using technology, James Ronald Lo, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Taktyl Studios LLC, noticed that kids nowadays can be too engaged in gadgets. So he thought of a way to use these digital devices and yet still encourage social interaction, creativity and imagination. Recently launched via a Kickstarter campaign, Taktyl Studios introduces a digital app called, “ActionCraft Toy Box,” which is an arts and crafts digital/mobile application that provides users with tools to design and customize their own paper toy action figure. Users can choose from a variety of templates in order to customize their very own action figure or paper toy. Once the user is satisfied with the look of his character, he then has to print the template. To assemble, the user has to cut along perforated lines from the template and glue together the edges to create the ActionCraft paper toy.
Toys do not come cheap. However, not all kids understand the concept of frugality at a young age. Sometimes within days after unboxing a toy, our kids, because of their excitement and imagination, end up dismantling the pieces, or worse, break the toy altogether. Being a single dad living in the Philippines, Lo thought that there had to be better ways to play with his kids, without breaking the bank. So, he decided to design his own action figures using a commodity that’s easily accessible to everyone – paper. Thus, began James Ronald Lo’s “Paper Toy Adventures.” What started out as a pastime for him and his son, evolved into a blog, which he started 6 years ago. The blog was so well received, that it had followers from people all over the world (about 3,000 subscribers). His “paper toys” were being assembled, collected and enjoyed by people of all ages, from all walks of life. A publisher then took notice of his work and together, they designed and published the book, “Construct your Own Paper Robot” in 2012. Pretty soon, the demands for creating new paper toy design templates in the blog became too high for Lo to manage, which then led him to create “ActionCraft Toy Box.”
“In my blog, I upload pre-designed templates. But then I figured, why not involve the people in the creative process? And that’s why I launched ActionCraft. It lets users create and customize their own paper toys instead of just printing the ones I have designed,” said Lo.
ActionCraft Toy Box aims to encourage children to interact with their parents, siblings and other playmates. For younger kids, who cannot use scissors and cutters yet, the parent or adult helps the child create the paper toy. And in the process, shares a bonding moment between parent and child – a process that’s lacking in the use of most digital apps for kids. ActionCraft Toy box also instigates the user’s imagination and creativity. By customizing the clothes, armor and physical features of the toy, the child is encouraged to be creative. And after assembling the paper toy, he is encouraged to play with it, do puppet shows, create a video or make his own comics, and therefore, encouraged to unlock his imagination.
Currently, the app has been launched in Kickstarter, but their funding is not complete. In order to complete their funding goal, ActionCraft Toy Box needs backers or supporters who can pledge money to join them in bringing their project to life. Help this Filipino-owned company complete this project by supporting them at www.kickstarter.com/profile/taktylstudios. Pledges start at $5.
For more info on ActionCraft or on how to help, visit these websites: www.taktylstudios.com