We get a lot of questions here at GoldieBlox, but by far the most fun one to answer is “how’d you come up with this idea?”
While we’re pretty sure most people know how the story goes with the company, what’s just as fun to talk about are individual toys. We’re still small – fifteen people and counting – so we don’t have the kind of advanced research and development rooms that some other, bigger companies do. One day!
For now, it’s all of us in a room, being louder than usual (this is… well, a lie, we are almost always loud) ripping toys apart and rearranging them. One of the best things about being this small is that everybody on the team has input, which makes for some fantastic brainstorming. And that’s how the dunk tank was born.
We pretty much knew we wanted a water element in the next kit because, frankly, who doesn’t love playing with water? And we sort of knew that we wanted it to be a water element that anybody who played with the toy could add themselves, because, frankly, who doesn’t love incorporating splashing in puddles into every possible scenario?
We tossed around a bunch of options – water slide? Diving board? – and eventually someone said, “What about a dunk tank?”
Nobody can remember who that someone is. Four different people are saying they are. Truly a team effort, then!
So… what about a dunk tank? It’d need a target, and it could teach the hinge and lever concept in a way that also created a small mess when used effectively. But could we put it together using some of the pieces we already had?
Somebody took apart a peg board and the answer was… well, yeah. Yeah we could! Here’s a photo of what it looked like on that first day:
For a handy comparison, here’s what it looks like now:
A little bit different, no?
One of our advisors, Terry Langston (one of the founders of Pictionary), was there on the day we were coming up with the idea. We asked him what he remembered and he said, “Aha moments are rare, and very few are followed up with great execution. Such is the case with Goldie’s Dunk Tank. The moment Nacho splashed in the dunk tank we all knew an exciting new Goldie product was alive!”
But we wanted it to be a little different than our other kits, and ideally on the less expensive side. Turns out that the books are what cost us the most to produce, and we wanted to do something that still told a story, but that also added a new element to the kit as a whole. Andrea and Trevor, our intrepid illustrators, have created a gorgeous backdrop for the toy that you can attach to it once it’s built! Hopefully you’ll love it as much as we do.
While we were figuring out what we wanted the illustration to look like, we were holding play dates where children could come (with their parents, of course) and play with the prototype. These are incredibly useful and interesting for us (and hopefully for the kids!) because they let us see whether or not we’re on the right track, or if parts of the toy or instructions need improvement.
If you get the kit, you’ll see that one of the pieces that creates the platform for Nacho to sit on rotates entirely around; the target is on this piece, and you throw one of the bouncy balls and try to hit the target. The target swings out, dropping Nacho into the glass of water/bath tub/puddle below. One girl who was at one of our play dates built the target in such a way that it looked like it was on backwards. She could have just rotated it all the way around, but instead, she disassembled and reassembled it so it was on the right way. Her dad told us that he was astonished – he could see that she was learning about rotating objects in space, and with another couple of tries, would have an understanding of how that worked. Watching her learn spatial skills as she played was incredibly rewarding to him, and to us too!
The Dunk Tank — as well as the Spinning Machine and the Parade Float — will be available in Target locations nationwide starting at the end of this month. We hope you’ll have as much fun playing with it as we did building it!
Debbie and Team Goldie