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Manhattan Toy Blog

The Creation of MiO - Part 2 Becoming MiO

The Creation of MiO: Becoming MiO - Part 2 of a 3 Part series

Development - Becoming MiOWHAT MAKES OUR PLAY ENVIRONMENT UNIQUE?

There was much internal excitement, because we knew that we were on to something special. The Manhattan Toy design team is very diligent about researching our work to make sure it is truly unique, we spent a lot of time exploring what was already in the market.

Mio Sleeping Set

WHO IS IT FOR?

It was important to us that our new toy be non-gender specific. The land of make-believe must not be limited! For safety and developmental reasons, it is for kids 3 and up, however, it is completely appropriate for all ages. We have already gained many adult MiO fans.

OPEN-ENDED PLAY

From the beginning our key objective was to incorporate open-ended play. In other words, there is not one way to play! Kids have incredible imaginations, and we wanted to encourage this make-believe play. A small cube may become; a chair, a table leg, part of a tower, a chimney, a nightstand, a step, a waterfall, you get the idea! That is why the pieces are intentionally not specific, they imply familiar shapes and objects, but are not overly defined. Looking Beautiful

IT MUST BE BEAUTIFUL!

We wanted MiO to be a toy that looks beautiful. It should function as an interesting statement piece, whether displayed on a shelf, or sprawled around the living room floor.

CREATING MiO ANIMALS & PEOPLE

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CHARACTERS

A real break-through came with the addition of the animal/people characters. The wood heads and tactile beanbag bodies added color, pattern, texture and gender neutrality. The characters brought the whole idea to life, the final irresistible element!

Early vehicle development

THINGS THAT MOVE

We started with a very simple car shape. This soon evolved into a little fleet of cool vehicles. The trailer was designed to keep things moving, inspired by the tiny house trend.   Block House becoming MiO

WHAT SHOULD WE CALL IT?

The original name for MiO was Block House.  Block House is a good name, but didn't incorporate the characters and vehicles.  We needed a more encompassing name that would work for all future additions.  We landed on MiO primarily because it is happy sounding and fun to say!  It means "my own" in Spanish and "my" in Italian, that seemed appropriate.  It also worked as an umbrella - structures, blocks, characters and vehicles all fit well under this name.  This imaginative collection of environments and vehicles were now becoming MiO!  Then we added a word formula to explain the idea in a simple way: Think + Do x Curiosity = Imagination. Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save