Today a fort, tomorrow a castle, the next day a space station – that's the idea behind a new children's product created by two Bundaberg innovators.
Eddie Driscoll and Barry McConnell of Imagine Ideas and Design have come up with a simple but unique concept featuring cardboard boxes and large nuts and bolts, all packaged in a neat kit ready to be taken on by the most imaginative of children.
“The Tunnel n Tower Construction Kit is a modular cardboard construction system designed for use by children aged 1 to 10 years old,” Barry said.
“It consists of custom-designed cardboard components which are fastened together using large, hand tightened nuts and bolts to create free-standing structures, made up of tunnels and towers, for children to construct and play in.
“The kits help encourage problem solving, imaginative play, spatial awareness and so much more.”
Eddie said while there were other cardboard construction kits on the market, they were all designed to create a specific object.
“You can buy a cardboard cubby, castle, train etc. but once it’s built, that’s all it can ever be whereas our kits can be whatever you want them to be,” he said.
“They can be set up differently every time you use them. It’s all about imaginative play and, with some spare cardboard, you can even create your own parts to bolt on!”
The duo said their idea came to fruition after realising the simplicity of “play” they had experienced themselves as children was still very much prevalent in today's society.
“Many parents have shared a similar experience – the day they purchased a TV, fridge, or barbecue, only to watch their children spend the rest of the day playing in the big box that it came in,” Barry said.
“Children seem drawn to cardboard boxes.”
The beginning of the Tunnel n Tower design process
After a few discussions with friends, Eddie was the one who decided to create a small example to see how the idea would take off.
In a friend’s garage he built a small fort out of packing boxes held together with cardboard hinges, metal nuts, bolts and washers and a whole lot of duct tape.
“Naturally, his two young children spent the rest of the afternoon playing in it,” Eddie said.
“The structure wasn’t pretty, but it proved the concept was sound.”
Fast forward to 2019 where Eddie and Barry discussed the idea, combined their skills, and started developing and testing prototype parts.
A year and a half and many prototypes later, the duo settled on the final design and are now ready to introduce their product to children everywhere.
Kits made from recyclable materials
The pair said they were proud to note that their product was made from recyclable materials.
“The tunnel, tower, and door parts of the kit are made from 90% recycled cardboard,” Eddie said.
“The nuts and bolts that hold it all together are injection moulded in UV stable, recyclable plastic,” Barry added.
“There is also an option to have bolts produced entirely from recycled plastic.”
Barry and Eddie said the simplicity of Tower n Tunnel Construction Kits was what made the product so exciting.
“In a world where many are drawn towards technology and screens, it’s a return to old school activity-based fun,” Barry said.
“Children learn skills through play – aligning parts, fastening with a nut and bolt, operating a hinge – but don’t even realise they’re learning – and that’s before the imagination kicks in.”
The kits will then be available for sale from Monday, 22 March via the website www.boxnbolt.com.au.
For those living in the 4670 postcode, the team have a special promo code offering 10% off and free delivery.
Type in BUNDYLOCAL into the promo code at the website checkout to access the discount.
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