My kids and I, along with some other mom bloggers in the area, got a super fun and unique opportunity to visit the Play from Scratch YOXO toy factory in St. Paul this week.
Play from Scratch YOXO is a local company that makes products – TOYS – that encourage creative open-ended play. They had just moved their factory to a bigger location and we were among the first to see it!
Their products are called YOXO links. These links are shaped like y’s, o’s and x’s and connect to each other as well as everyday objects like paper towel and toilet paper tubes. They are made from recyclable wood pulp and colored different colors with soy-based ink. Everything they make is sustainable and recyclable. They sell their links in kits which you can buy in toy stores around the country. Some Minnesota stores that carry YOXO toys include the Red Balloon Bookshop, Kiddywampus, and Creative KidStuff.
Kits are priced at $14.99 to $24.99 and can be used to build neat things like a doon buggy, dragonfly or robot, or pretty much anything else your kids’ imagination leads them to create. Heidi was proud of the person she created!
YOXO’s founder, Jeff Freeland Nelson, and two of his friendly staff members led the tour as the 3 moms and 4 kids played and experimented with the many YOXO links and tubes he provided.
He even showed us big cardboard boxes that they also sell which have windows that can be punched out. My 4-year-old loved the box!
I played “house” with Thor in the cool box. Basically just called “One Giant Box” – you can order a box from their website for $29.99.
I love how their website says “Save $799.99 when you buy the box alone, instead of with a refrigerator in it!” Oh, the objects our kids fall in love with!
Play from Scratch YOXO started out when Jeff realized that some of the best toys are the boxes that the toys come in. As an 8-year-old his parents gave him a cardboard box with tape, string and wire, and it was the best present of his childhood. Now he and his wife have 2 kids who he sees also enjoying simple toys (and are lucky to get to test out all of YOXO’s kits when they first come out!).
Watching the 4 of our kids play together with all the links and tubes together, you can see why he’s right! The kids all created everything from wheels to cars to buildings, and it was fun to see some of them building objects as a team.
Last year YOXO was started up with the help of Kickstarter. Currently they’re raising money on Kickstarter again to fund their ten-head water jet cutter (called Bennie the JetEtge Water Jet!) so they can better meet demand for their product. Part of the tour included seeing their water jet cutter which they use to create their many links. I can definitely see how it’s a necessity for their growing business!
Thanks so much, Jeff and staff, for providing us this fun opportunity to tour your factory and play! And thanks to Jen Jamar of LifeWithLevi.com for arranging this great opportunity!
(Disclosure: My kids received complimentary YOXO toy kits as part of the tour, which they love! All opinions are 100% mine.)