Made For Kids Yet Used By Nobel Prize Winners, These Smart Building Kits Spark Architects, Scientists, Engineers & Artists of The Future
Longmont, CO (October 23, 12) - Sometimes connecting the dots in unexpected ways has been the start of a great discovery. In 1905, 11 year-old Frank Epperson left his fruit flavored soda outside on the porch with a stir stick in it. The drink froze overnight, and the next morning he discovered the Popsicle. Ben Franklin flew a child's kite and electrical engineering was sparked! Today there's a new toy, Zometool, for kids of all ages that could truly spark the genesis of the next Nobel Prize winner. In fact, many great scientists have already tinkered with these smart building kits.
Zometool consists of struts ("sticks") and balls which connect to create a wide universe of shapes so versatile that kids are absorbed for hours and so unique that they are sought after by world-leading scientists; "Zome" is a term that refers to the product's geometrical/mathematical soul.
" Nobel Prize winners James Watson and Francis Crick learned that competitor Linus Pauling was using a toy to crack the structure of DNA," explains Paul Hildebrandt, President and Founder of Zometool. "They followed his lead and spawned the age of genetic engineering with a modeling toy somewhat like a crude version of Zometool. Countless other examples show great discoveries often result from ‘playing' with toys."
For kids that may be intrigued by science, architecture, art or engineering, in fact, anyone on that holiday list who likes to ponder with hands-on engagement (without using a hand-held gadget), six friendly but profound kits are recommended. All sets are made to high quality standards in the company's wind powered Longmont, CO factory.
The quality and addictive fun were noticed this year by several prestigious award organizations. Dr. Toy named Creator 3 and Ice Crystals & Stars her 2012 Best Picks Winners. Creative Child Awards gave Creator 1 its 2012 Top Toy of the Year Award in the Build Construction Catory and 2012 Kids Product of the Year Award in the Kids Educational Product Category. And since the kits are made in Colorado, they were inducted into the Made in the USA Hall of Fame by the Made in the USA Foundation.
"I love their adaptable and educational products. They are doing something unique, and have a great product line that parents, teachers and children love too," said Stevanne Auerbach, aka Dr. Toy, a child specialist and toy evaluator for over 40 years.
With names like Creator 1 ($59), Ice Crystals & Stars ($25), The Buckyball ($29) and Pyramid Puzzle ($10), the Zometool patented product line is both fun and focused and can be enjoyed solo or with the whole family. Kids open the box, start to build and then pause. That moment of "hmmm" is the door to discovery; "figuring it out" is the addicting pleasure of every Zometool toy.
Parents who have bought and built Zometool kits gleefully concur:
"This is an amazing product! I have a 14 yr. old and a 10 yr. old, and they both love this. It absolutely inspires their creativity and is perfectly engineered. I think I am going to buy another large set!" -- Jennifer
Our family, (ages 10 to 50) uses Zometool as a 'togetherness' activity. It appeals to each of us in our own way and level; our children; my husband, an engineer; myself, a journalist. It is never boring!" -- Laura M.
Not to brag, but Zometool has been used by some of the smartest people in the world from NASA
scientists to Nobel Prize winners. The same balls and primary color struts placed in the hands of middle schoolers have been known to open up a new world of 3-D thinking. Educators, parents, scientists, artists and college grads enjoy playing with the building pieces as much as the 6 to 16 year olds.
"It develops 3-dimensional intelligence," sums up Hildebrandt. "At first glance the system may appear to be a Tinkertoy for the 21st century but I think it will radically change the way we think about the structure of the world we live in."
From their website, zometool.com, parents will be impressed to learn Zometool remained a bit of a secret from the general public. The product spoke for itself, however, among mathematicians and research scientists, who could immediately see uses for the construction sets in their work.
- Zometool has been used by the Jonas Salk Institute in their research for a cure for AIDS.
- Dan Shechtman, the 2011 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, used Zometool as did 2-time Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling during their debate over whether quasicrystals were real.
- Physicist Garret Lisi used Zometool to illustrate the complex 8-dimensional structure underpinning his theory that combines particle physics with Einstein's theory of gravitation.
Parents and grandparents looking for a smart gift, priced affordably from $10 to $62, can find these six holiday-ready toys at www.zometool.com or museum gift stores like the Denver Art Museum. The sets are wildly popular in Japan, Korea and Germany, among other foreign markets.
System Kit: Creator 1 * Ages 6+ • $59
Remember the saying that "no two snowflakes are alike?" Build your own with this starter kit with 246 parts including 186 struts, 60 nodes neatly packed in a sturdy carrying case. Clear and colorful step-by-step instructions will get you started while leaving you a wide universe open for exploration and free-play. Kids and grownups will enjoy building hundreds of models from simple to profound. Once Zometool skills are mastered, move on to more challenging Creator Levels like Advanced Math Creator 4!
Project Kit: The Buckyball * Ages 10+ * $29
Named in honor of American inventor, thinker and futurist R. Buckminster Fuller whose Geodesic Domes resemble this molecule's shape; fullerenes are igniting a revolution; especially in the fields of materials science, electronics, and nanotechnology. This kit of 150 parts allows kids to build the molecule that started it all, the buckyballs. For science geeks, fullerenes are an exciting part of a future that by today's tech standards seems downright magical. For kids just learning their first chemistry lesson, the beauty of carbon and all its possibilities are explained in the fold-out instruction sheet. This set's carbon-colored balls are striking.
Project Kit: Ice Crystals and Stars * Ages 6+ * $25
Kids will be in awe to discover what snowflakes are made of, how they are formed and why they are always six-sided. The 90-piece kit includes detailed instructions to build more than 10 beautiful models! The blue struts and white balls are the latest addition to Zometool's array of project kits.
Pyramid Power * Ages 10+ * $10
The perfect stocking stuffer for any math whiz on your list, this mesh pouch holds 37 pieces that can be combined to create up to 64 different pyramids (aka tetrahedra). A brainbuster and conversation starter, this mathematical riddle is rooted in the wisdom of the ancient Greeks. Can you solve the mystery of the ages?
And if you want your kids to experience what scientific exploration feels like, hook them with bubbles:
Crazy Bubbles * Ages 6+ * $19
Who says bubbles have to be round? Not Zometool players. Make 'em square, try cubic or triangular bubbles, banana curves, spiral bubbles; even a shadow from the 4th Dimension-a hypercube! This crazy kit makes a whole new dimension in bubble-ology that's tons of fun for the whole family. Amaze your friends with bubble-faceted jewels. This 52-piece kit makes impressive show 'n tell or school projects for everyone to admire.
Bubble Bundle * Ages 10+ * $62
Build it, dip it, and discuss it because in a matter of seconds, kids will make bubbles with amazing geometric shapes including the elusive dodecahedron bubble (12 pentagons in a bubble!). Even more impressive, with the companion Bubble•ology book in this bundle you can explore important concepts in Chemistry and Physics as you try hundreds of other bubble models of your own design.
A product that will entertain kids today and as much as would have fascinated ancient Greek philosophers and mathematicians? That's the beauty -- inside and out -- of Zometool. Denver artist Clark Richert incorporates Zome geometry in many of his paintings. He believes Zometool integrates the worlds of art and science. "It's been 4,000 years in the making," he says with a wink. Here's looking at Euclid...