Thursday, September 3, 2009

Penguin Play

Hi, my name is Deborah Hill. I am a Senior Buyer at Discount School Supply. As I tell the folks around here, “It’s all about the product!” So, I’d like to share with you the thought process I went through that led to the development of one of my favorite items.

I loved stuffed animals as a child, and I piled them high on my bed. In particular, I have been a penguin fan since I was very young. In the case of my stuffed penguins, they were lined up in a neat row closest to the pillows…much like the way they march along in real life. As an adult I have traveled to penguin sanctuaries. On the warm coasts of South America, they waddle just inches from your feet, going back and forth to the ocean shore in their lifelong pairings. In the arctic coves of Antarctica, you view them with binoculars from pontoons in frigid waters. Sometimes they frolic with the pontoons. In either location, they are captivating.

So, as you can imagine, the opportunity to develop a penguin-related item was close to my heart. In case you haven’t seen our Penguin Domino Play Set yet, please take a look. The set includes wood penguins, and they come equipped with icebergs and a glacier. There are 47 pieces in the hand-painted set. In first thinking about the product, I wanted to make something that combined the cause-and-effect learning of a domino race with the dramatic play value that would keep the students engaged along the way. You wouldn’t know it to see them now, but it took quite a few rounds of samples to get the penguins’ rotund little bodies just right so they will stand upright for play but will also topple easily for maximum impact during the race. The hand-eye coordination is very important to the value of this item, so achieving that balance was key. And so much thought went into choosing colors for the icebergs and the glacier. There are so many shades of blue! I love the crystal clear blue we chose for the icebergs contrasted against the more pale blues of the glacier. I know these colors cannot compare to the exquisite array of shades in real glaciers, but I hope they inspire the imagination of future travelers and explorers.

I’d love to hear about projects you’ve done in schools with penguins. Maybe you’ve had your own March of the Penguins with my set. Or do you have a request for another penguin-inspired product? If so, I’m your gal. Please let me know!

1 comment:

  1. ring the article, and more importantly, your personal experience mindfully using our emotions as data about our inner state and knowing when it’s better to de-escalate by taking a time out are great tools. Appreciate you reading and sharing your story since I can certainly relate and I think others can to