At LearnPlay one of our most asked questions by far is, “So what exactly is a ‘Halftoy’?”
Considering that Halftoys have such a distinct look and function, we can definitely understand the curiosity, and we’re more than happy to help people get the most out of the products we carry.
Halftoys are made by toy company Yantai Halftoys, where two halves of an animal are held together by magnets and reveal a simplified skeleton underneath. As we covered in another blog post, Yantai Halftoys are carefully designed to be aesthetically pleasing and also improve cognitive function. LearnPlay, Inc. currently carries the company’s dinosaur series, which has been wildly popular with both kids and adults. (Curious to buy a Halftoy but not a dinosaurs fan? We’re adding another series to our online store in late Spring, and you can see our announcement here.)
Even though these Halftoys are minimalistic and don’t have the bells and whistles of a typical “tech” toy, they still have plenty of uses for those who purchase them. Here are the top five ways that our customers have used Halftoys:
Helping With Cognitive Development
Half Toys are like 3D puzzles that have two simple components:
- A durable outer shell held together by magnets and shows the outward appearance of the animal.
- An inner skeleton with interlocking parts.
Even though the structure itself is simple, Halftoys are considered “open-ended toys” because they allow for “open-ended play,” in which play is dictated by the user’s whims and creative problem-solving skills. The Halftoys structure requires users to creatively problem solve how to disassemble and reassemble the toy, and in turn helps kids to work on their cognitive development.
Encouraging Creative Storytelling
A crucial aspect of open-ended toys is their ability to spark creativity. If you ever played with a stick to pretend you’re holding a sword or a wand, you’ve benefited from open-ended play. Halftoys and their respective dioramas encourage users to create entire worlds and storylines through the power of their own imagination, and since every Halftoy has its own personality, users can be creative with the various ways the toy interacts within its own story.
Promoting Social Skills
Let’s face it, Halftoys are adorable enough to be enjoyed by people of all ages. Many Halftoys have been used as a way to have quality playtime and familytime. By interacting with other kids and adults while also playing with open-ended toys, users build social skills such as discussing and negotiating how the toy will be used for play.
Spark Interest In STEAM
Halftoys may have simple shape, but their skeletal structure is also a simplified version of its real-life counterpart. Having the skeletal pieces connect through interlocking parts naturally fosters curiosity about STEAM topics such as biology and anatomy.
De-stress and Focus
Believe it or not, adults often buy Halftoys for themselves! Halftoys can function as a sort of fidget toy, and many customers find that the ease of disassembling and reassembling Halftoys helps with focus. And much like stress balls, there’s evidence that having the right sort of stimulation can help adults focus at the task at hand.
Whether you use Haltoys for yourself or for someone in your life, there are no shortage of ways they can be used. In a world when it seems easier to turn to phone screens for distraction or entertainment, having a physical object encouraging creative thought and play is beneficial for cognitive function and focus.