Paper Doll Takes a Play Break with Edo: Organizing the Imagination

Posted on: July 7th, 2016 by Julie Bestry | No Comments

EdoHouseHere at Paper Doll, the focus is almost always on how paper (and the information it represents) can be better managed to improve your productivity, reduce your stress, save you time, and put your money to good use. We don’t usually talk about play.

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”  ~ Mr. Fred Rogers

Abraham Maslow (yes, for those of you who just barely recall Psych 101, the Hierarchy of Needs dude) said, “Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.”

And Maria Montessori, founder of the Montessori approach, based her eponymous schools on the principles of self-directed activity, hands-on learning, and collaborative play.

While we strive for order and productivity, we sometimes fail to notice that creating disorder, and then order out of that, is how children (and creative adults) make sense of the world.

When I work with (adult) clients to help them divest themselves of their own clutter, we start with some basic questions: Do you wear it or use it? When was the last time you used it, accessed it or read it? If it were more accessible, would that increase how often you incorporate it into your life or work? Does it fit with who you are, or who you are actively trying to be?

Understanding organizing issues with children it isn’t very different — though they may lack the self-awareness to discuss their toys and clutter. They snuggle with beloved stuffed animals that are “loved to death,” with floppy ears missing, and own bins of crayons worked down to the nubs. But more often, they have popular and expensive toys, given by well-meaning grownups who remember not a whit of childhood, that languish in toy chests or on shelves, while the cardboard boxes in which they were shipped become playhouses, or rocket ships, or science labs, or any of a million other things that fuel the imagination.

It’s with this notion, that cardboard boxes or bricks can organize a child’s play so that it’s robust, fulfilling, and full of reinvention, that we look today at Edo.


Edo are sturdy, flat-packed building blocks made of high-quality micro-corrugated cardboard. The Italian trio who created Edo developed the patent-pending features to provide a perfect strength-to-weight ratio in the assembled bricks. Parents (or older kids) simply fold the bricks into shape and then are ready to build new worlds.

In the words of the creators:

With Edo, kids can create and play with their own ideas. The possibility to create something from scratch stimulates imagination and creativity. The dimension of the blocks and the chance to create life-size buildings develops spatial awareness and social skills. Edo lets kids play alone while inspiring the creative thought process and easily gets contagious in groups of all sizes.

Edo currently has three types of double-decker Lego-like (but, y’know, cardboard!) bricks based on combining single-decker pieces folded from the “flats.”


Edo is environmentally friendly, as the bricks are made of recycled cardboard, and they are 100% recyclable. The dye colors are non-toxic, and the creators state that the cardboard will be FSC-certified in the United States and will have CE-certification in the European Union.

Once properly assembled, each Edo block can support at least 100 pounds, though the video below shows ways to push the envelope! (So, I guess…don’t show the video to Grandpa?)

They come in Havana (or what we’d call cardboard brown), Icy White, or (eventually) in a mix of five colors (green, red, yellow, blue, and orange). The individual bricks can be colored, spray-painted, or otherwise “transformed over and over again to tell countless stories.”

Add-on kits with accessories, such as ears and eyes for making animals, people, or monsters, can be purchased separately. Of course, DIY accessories can be made at home, by parents and children, with scraps of cloth, junk jewelry, pipe cleaners, and whatever else has outlived its otherwise practical usage.


The annoyance of many types of children’s toys is that when they are not being played with, they turn into a mess. Small items like toy cars and small blocks fall to the bottom of toy chests or bins never to be seen again unless the chests or bins are completely upended. Larger toys don’t fit anywhere, and, at best, get pushed against a wall, untidily. However, Edo can be stacked, even turned into a wall of bricks, flush against a playroom, bedroom, or family room wall.

Edo can also be used for functional storage and utilitarian purposes. You can turn it into a bookshelf, a bed-side table, a drawing table or child’s desk (with a smooth surface placed on top). As the web site notes, “You can also build the legs for a coffee table to be used with any top and of course you can create other furniture.”


The delightful Edo has a Kickstarter right now, with three weeks to go.  Please visit their page to view their package descriptions in greater detail. Right now you can get:

  • Edo 25 — a sort of starter kit
  • Edo 100 (also available in a two-pack) — you can build almost anything, including a T-Rex!
  • Edo 500 — for developing serious Edo architecture!
  • The Edolinis (also available in a two-pack) — 27 blocks plus three pairs of eyes to create life forms for which the creators hope to develop sets of clothes and uniforms, such as for firefighters, business-suited office workers, doctors, and construction workers.Edolinis
  • Choose Your Animal (also available in a two-pack)  — Pick a crocodile, giraffe, or elephant!
  • The Snowy Castle of Wonders — If this were available with enough pieces to build it for a full-size adult, Paper Doll would move in.

Pledge prices range from $35 for the smallest set to over $500 for the 500-piece set (which is more suitable for a school or entertaining all the kids in your neighborhood). Shipping is available to the United States, Canada, and European Union countries. Delivery dates for orders placed through the Kickstarter are planned for October 2016. [Edited to note: Ten hours after this Paper Doll post went live, and one week into the Kickstarter, Edo’s creators have canceled the funding campaign, with explanatory notes in English and Italian. Happily, this is a temporary pause, and Edo’s campaign reboot should be back up in September, in time for the holidays. Timing, eh?]

Oh, and even if you don’t have kids, the concept still holds that play boosts productivity.

Now skedaddle! Go play!

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