Toys & Play

Consumer products designed for children or adults for the purpose of activating play and creative exploration. Examples include: children’s toys, board games, art supplies, DIY kits, educational toys, electronic toys, musical instruments, etc.

2023 Toys & Play Jury

  • Jury Captain

    Krystina Castella

    Professor, Art Center College of Design, Industrial Designer and Author

    Krystina Castella has practiced as an industrial designer, consultant, and is a Professor at Art Center College of Design. Her work centers around designing for play, the intersection between design and ethical business, sustainable materials and manufacturing and entrepreneurship. She is founder of the Design Entrepreneur Network (DEN) a consulting group specializing in design strategy where she has assisted over 500+ start-ups, social enterprises, and organizations since 2004.

    She is also author of 12 books including award-winning cookbooks, children’s books, and a textbook Designing for Kids: Creating for playing, learning, and growing. She is a contributor to National Public Radio.

    Krystina worked in-house as a designer for Walt Disney Imagineering, FOX Children’s Network, Generra Sportwear, RTKL, and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. She founded several licensing and manufacturing companies that internationally distributed products she designed, including furniture, toys, clothing, stationery, housewares, and soft goods. The Museum of Modern Art, Fortune Magazine and Oprah Winfrey have all praised Krystina’s creative achievements.

  • Jury Member

    Brendan Boyl

    Partner, Founder of the IDEO Play Lab, Stanford University Adjunct Professor

    Brendan Boyle is a Partner at IDEO, a global design and innovation firm. He’s also an adjunct professor at Stanford. He is the founder of the IDEO Play Lab, a board member of the National Institute of Play, an award-winning author of the Klutz Book of Inventions, and an acclaimed speaker on the joy of innovation. Brendan believes that play is the key to innovation and frequently speaks to creative leaders, entrepreneurs, and students about the importance of playful exploration and risk-taking. Under his leadership, the Play Lab has invented and licensed over 225 consumer products including the best-selling Jumperoo, Elmo Calls, and Pictionary Air.

  • Jury Member

    Cas Holman

    Principal, Heroes Will Rise

    For two decades Cas Holman has been designing playthings and playspaces that encourage exploration, imagination, and collaboration. Through her company Heroes Will Rise, Cas creates intuitive toys that inspire creative, open-ended play, including the award-winning Rigamajig, a line of playful building kits used in schools and public spaces worldwide. An educator of 12 years and former Associate Professor of Industrial Design at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Cas travels the globe to collaborate with thought and industry leaders in early education, curriculum design, public space, and childhood advocacy who share her passion for creating opportunities for child-directed free play. Her philosophy and approach to designing for play was recently featured in the award-winning documentary series “Abstract: The Art of Design” on Netflix.

  • Jury Member

    Karen Feder

    Head, MFA, Design for Play

    Karen Feder is the head of the world’s first international Design for Play Master’s Program at Design School Kolding, educating the next generation of play designers. The program recognizes the understanding of play as a prerequisite for designing high quality toy design. The curriculum is based on research within play and toy design qualified through dialogue with institutions around the world and in collaboration with experienced toy design companies.

    Karen is an assistant professor, in the LAB for Play & Design, where she does research in child-centered design for play and how to teach designers to design opportunities for play from a child-centered perspective. Her current research focusses on how taking the starting point in the children and their everyday lives, can lead to more relevant and meaningful design for children.

  • Jury Member

    Marie Williams

    CEO, Dream Networks, MEng

    Marie is a playful chartered engineer, design lecturer, TedX speaker, and CEO of Dream Networks. She founded Dream Networks in 2016 and has collaborated with businesses, schools, and communities to co-design and build engaging play spaces in economically deprived communities around the world. To date, Dream Networks has adopted sustainable design practices to create inclusive play spaces for over 60,000 children in the UK and Africa.

    She is an advocate for children's right to change the spaces they inhabit through play and design practices that prioritizes the needs of the community and the environment. In her recent TEDx, she suggests deconstructing the playground and demonstrates how we can collectively make play possible for all by adopting a child-centered approach that focuses on inclusive spaces, playful materials, and local connections. Through her Ph.D. at the UCL Institute of Global Prosperity within the Bartlett school of architecture, she has developed a critical blueprint for cultivating sustainable outdoor play spaces in urban refugee communities that relies on culturally specific co-design, materiality, and ethnography. She is a lecturer on design and innovation at Universities in the UK, Kenya, and the USA. Marie is a Christian, mother, and spontaneous baker.

  • Jury Member

    Yesim Kunter

    Play Expert & Creative Strategist, Play to Innovate,

    Yesim Kunter is a recognized play expert and a creative strategist who understands the behavior of people to create new experiences and define new opportunities.

    As a consultant; develops “playful” experiences for Fortune 500 Companies, Universities, and Communities by applying ‘Play Philosophy’ to products, environments, communities, and culture creation as well as market research with future scoping; She has facilitated numerous successful ‘PlaytoInnovate® Workshops’ in training organizations with diverse backgrounds from kids to professionals for leveraging Creative Thinking and held talks at prestigious conferences.

    Previous to her consultancy she had worked for Toys R Us, Lego, and Hasbro as a play futurist.