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Bring your imagination! We’ll teach you the rest. Ryerson University’s Faculty of Communication and Design (FCAD) and The Chang School have joined forces with Spin Master, Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art, and OCAD University to offer the Course Series in Toy Invention, the first program of its kind in Canada. This unique learning opportunity will give creative individuals with a passion for toy invention the knowledge and skills needed to enter the professional toy market.

This course series offers the following benefits:  

  • Earn a Professional Development Award on successful completion of all courses
  • Apply for merit-based awards
Ready to apply? Check out the guidelines in our "How to Apply" section and find out how.

In collaboration with:

Ryerson Chang School and FCAD Spin Master logo Shenkar logo OCADU logo

Classes for the Course Series in Toy Invention will be hosted by the Ryerson University Library Collaboratory and FCAD's Creative Technology Lab.


What Will You Learn?

Learn how to make your best toy ideas a reality. You’ll develop a set of skills and know-how to design, prototype, and test concepts for new toys. You will also learn relevant aspects of professional toy invention, including inventive thinking, knowledge of the toy industry, and marketing. This program is highly experiential and project-based, and will include in-studio learning as you progress through different stages of the toy development process.

At the conclusion of this course series, participants will be able to demonstrate the following knowledge and skills:

  • Describe the principles of toy invention and elements of gamification.
  • Apply creative tools and methods to find novel ideas for toys.
  • Prototype a toy concept using appropriate tools, materials, and methods.
  • Conduct market research.
  • Identify the relevant intellectual property protections required for a toy invention.
  • Successfully communicate – verbally, in print, and in video – a new toy concept.
female students crafting colourful toys

Who Should Enrol?

This course series is aimed at individuals who are interested in toys and would like to create toys in their spare time or as a new career, either within a toy-making company or as entrepreneurs. Participants may come from a variety of diverse backgrounds, including education, psychology, storytelling, design (industrial, graphic, etc.), engineering (mechanical, industrial, etc.), and other technology fields.

students listening to the dean in a colourful classroom

Who Teaches the Courses?

Paul ReynoldsPaul Reynolds
Paul Reynolds is a veteran toy designer and inventor with Spin Master, a Canadian global toy and entertainment company that has been designing, developing, manufacturing, and marketing consumer products for children around the world since 1994. Over the past 15 years at Spin Master, he has led design teams in the creation of numerous new brands and innovative new products. Highlights include Pixos, Dr. Dreadful, Marshmallow, and Bunchems, which won him a coveted Toy of the Year Award. Paul has a passion for innovation and inventing toys that inspire children with a sense of awe and wonder. He has lectured and judged at many colleges, universities, and design competitions and is passionate about bringing the best out of others’ ideas.

Lorena EscandonLorena Escandon
Dr. Ma-Lorena Escandon-Quintanilla is an Assistant Professor for the School of Creative Industries at Ryerson University. Lorena is a creative animator and a consultant in innovation, creativity, and new product development. She studied Information Technology at the University of Monterrey in Mexico, earned a master’s degree in Entrepreneurship at Lund University in Sweden, and a PhD in Innovation Management at the École de Technologie Supérieure in Montreal, Canada. In her research, she combined theories of idea generation with the use of information technologies – specifically, how to use data analytics to create innovative ideas. Her academic fields of expertise are innovation management, collaboration processes, and innovation tools and techniques. She is interested in helping individuals and teams identify areas of opportunity for innovation, facilitating collaboration, and knowledge dissemination.

Jonathon AndersonJonathon Anderson
Jonathon Anderson is an Assistant Professor of Interior Design and Director of the FCAD Creative Technology Lab at Ryerson University. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Furniture Design from Savannah College of Art and Design and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Southern Illinois University. His work explores how industrial manufacturing and computer numerical control (CNC) technologies influence the design and making processes. As a result, the work is characterized by innovative and explorative methods that result in interconnected design, fine art, and technology solutions. From this non-traditional process emerges a provocative, complex design language that visually communicates at varied scales and emphasizes corporeal and phenomenological experiences. To Jonathon, making is not only a practice but a form of critical thinking.

Course Series Requirements

  • Successful completion of 4 required courses

This course series is cohort-based; all participants will move through the completion of the four required courses as a group. You should be prepared to commit to completing the entire course series, which will take place over one academic year (Fall and Winter terms). CDTI 100 and CDTI 110 will take place in the Fall term, and CDTI 120 and CDTI 130 will take place in the Winter term.

students having an animated discussion around a white table

How To Apply

We are looking for creative, curious, open-minded participants who are willing to play, share, and work with others. The application process for this course series involves the following steps:

  • Email a letter of interest (one page maximum) explaining why you want to participate in the program, along with your curriculum vitae (CV) or resumé, to Lorena Escandon, Academic Coordinator, at lorena.escandon@ryerson.ca. Be sure to include your contact information.
    • The program instructors will review your application and contact you to arrange an interview.
    • Following the interview, selected applicants will be given an assignment to complete (instructions and timeline will be provided). The program instructors will review the assignment submissions and communicate the decision of acceptance to successful applicants.
  • If you have been accepted into the program, enrol in the two Fall term courses (CDTI 100 and CDTI 110). Classes begin the week of September 9, 2019.

Applications will be accepted until the program capacity has been reached.

a demo of robotic arm at FCAD

Our Partners

Spin Master

Spin Master logoSpin Master is a leading global children’s entertainment company that creates, designs, manufactures, licenses, and markets a diversified portfolio of innovative toys, games, products, and entertainment properties. Spin Master is best known for award-winning brands including Zoomer®, Bakugan®, Erector® by Meccano®, Hatchimals®, Air Hogs,® and PAW Patrol®.

Since 2000, Spin Master has received 103 Toy of the Year (TOTY) nominations and 30 wins across a variety of product categories, including 13 TOTY nominations for Innovative Toy of the Year. To date, Spin Master has produced eight television series, including the recently re-launched Bakugan Battle Planet and current hit PAW Patrol, which is broadcast in over 160 countries and territories globally.

Spin Master has 28 offices and employs over 1,700 people globally in Canada, United States, Mexico, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Russia, Slovakia, Poland, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam, and Australia.

Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art

Shenkar logoShenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art is a top-ranked public academy in Israel. It enjoys high acclaim among international academic and professional circles for the quality of its graduates and for the innovations that emerge from its laboratories. Shenkar’s goal is to foster an interdisciplinary environment where designers and engineers work together shaping the future of technologies.

Shenkar was founded in 1970 as a “College for Fashion and Textile Technology,” with the goal of providing a skilled workforce for the then-blooming Israeli textile industry. Shenkar has since expanded to represent all classic design and engineering disciplines within its six fully-fledged design and art departments and five engineering chairs, as well as its twelve specialized research centres.

Shenkar’s toy invention program started at its School for Continuing Education and Diploma Studies at 2013. Led by Tal Schreiber, the program has dozens of graduates; over 70% are now professional toy inventors. The program’s success led to internationalization of the program, accompanied by collaboration between academic centres around the world.

OCAD University

OCADU logoOCAD University is Canada’s university of the imagination. Founded in 1876, the university is dedicated to art, design, and digital media education, practice, and research, and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines.

OCAD U continuously builds on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration, and the integration of emerging technologies. Its students engage in creative studio-based, aesthetic, and technical learning, together with critical, theoretical, scientific, and historical knowledge and methods. Its programs and research bridge fields of digital media and design, sustainability, health and wellness, cultural diversity, and Indigenous cultures. Members of the OCAD U community are uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology, and quality of life for all Canadians.

Toy Invention in the News

Check out these articles featuring our Course Series in Toy Invention.

Not child’s play: The serious innovation behind toy making (The Conversation Canada, December 12, 2019)

Contact Us

Questions? Contact Lorena Escandon, Academic Coordinator.

Phone: 416-979-5000, ext. 543455
Email: lorena.escandon@ryerson.ca

students examining a mountain of colourful toys

Additional Details