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Introducing Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks!

October 24, 2011

Every now and then, a new company comes along that is really doing things right.  Tegu is working to make a difference in the lives of real people and doing something good for the planet at the same time.  I met the founder of Tegu, Chris Haughey, at Toy Fair in February this year and was immediately drawn to his story.  In 2006, he went on a business trip to Honduras and came away with both a love for the place and people, and an awareness that its people were living in profound poverty, with not much economic or educational opportunity to improve their lives.

The Vision

Out of that experience, he developed a vision to create a business that would have a “transforming effect on the lives of Hondurans.”  Four years later, Tegu’s wooden magnetic blocks were introduced!  Not only has the product been extremely successful, Tegu has established a fully independent factory outside Tegucigalpa, the capital city, and partnered with a local school to improve education.  They are paying employees a living wage, and prioritizing long-term career growth and development rather than simple task-based jobs, and “bringing world-class employment standards to Central America.”  These are truly good things.

The Environment

Wood is the most sustainable material available, when harvested responsibly.  Tegu works with local Honduran cooperatives – certified by the Forest Stewardship Council – who individually hand-pick each mature tree for use.  Along with reforestation efforts, this ensures that the local Honduran forests stay healthy to continue to support the local people.  And it just makes sense that working for the sustainability of the forests also means continued availability and quality of their raw materials.

Magnetic wooden blocks are sized just right

Open-Ended Play

These blocks are really revolutionary!  The magnets are super strong, so all sorts of interesting structures can emerge.  They snap together with a satisfying “click” and the repulsion is so strong the blocks can scoot along the table.  We’ve spent hours here in the office messing around with them and our kids all are hooked.  These blocks embody a style of play that we believe is healthiest for kids – play in which the kids get to make up their own story and don’t have everything spelled out for them.  We encourage parents to give their kids some unstructured time each day, with simple toys made from natural materials, and then just get out of the way for awhile.  Give them time to think, to discover for themselves, and to experience their own minds.

And of all the toys you could purchase for your child, we think wooden blocks are an essential toy no child should do without.  Think of all the skills that develop through block play:  comparison, sorting, estimation, recognizing shapes, fractions, understanding basic building techniques, language development (smallest, larger, shorter, longer, heavy, outside, and so much more) – these are the foundations of learning and happen in a completely natural way when kids discover them for themselves.

And finally, we adults have found them to be addictive as well, so you might consider buying a set for a cool grown-up!

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The Tegu Story from Tegu on Vimeo.


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