Toy Theater offers high quality math, literacy, and art games that have real educational value. We began in 2001 with the game Feed Freddy and have grown to over a million users per year. Focused on early learners, teachers trust our site to provide safe and effective educational content for their elementary classrooms. Nearly all of our games and activities are original, ensuring high quality activities that go beyond digitized worksheets. We integrate the learning into the game play making them fun for students while remaining solidly educational. Our inclusion of art and design activities also sets us apart from many other edtech applications and sites. Teachers who contact us appreciate the simple design for kindergarten to third grade classrooms. Our site is also entirely free, providing accessible online learning to teachers around the world. Come check us out, you may have some fun too!
Here are some of the contributors to Toy Theater.
Founder & CEO
Joel is an artist, designer and developer, who explores interactive media to find new ways to encourage learning and creativity. Joel began Toy Theater with an idea for how he could make his art mean something beyond the enjoyment he got from creating. He has turned this simple idea into a site used in hundreds of classrooms around the world for over 15 years. Joel has an ethical commitment to creating games that have real educational content and integrate the best that educational technology has to offer. He is constantly sketching, creating, thinking, learning, and revising games and activities on the site. You can see glimpses of Joel in the choices he makes for art activities and math games reflecting a lifetime of learning. Every decision is made with care to fulfill his mission to provide high quality educational games that teachers will be confident in their value and kids will have fun playing. He also gains insights from his brilliant partner Phyllis and the five kids they parent together.
Joel’s favorite game is Basketball because it integrates a popular sport with a physics engine to give the feel of the actual game in 2D. It also incorporates the transition from addition to multiplication by allowing kids to use either method to answer the questions and uses the basketball game metaphor of distance equals more points. (Also, he’s been a loyal Boston Celtics fan since Larry Bird owned the court. Go green!)
Director of Marketing and Communications
Phyllis is an associate professor of Sociology at the University of Ottawa where she specializes in research methods, social inequality, and the family. Her doctoral research examined racial inequality in early childhood education and she now explores issues related to work and family. Her professional interests in education, inequality, and family life have fueled her interest in Toy Theater, a site she sees as providing open and accessible educational content to all kids around the world.
Phyllis uses Toy Theater in her own classroom with Climber to introduce her undergraduate applied statistics students to probability in a fun way. Drawing on her expertise in research and communications, she contributes to Toy Theater with writing content, market research, and she runs the Toy Theater Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter pages. She is also an avid Toy Theater game tester. She is grateful to share with Joel in parenting their combined five kids (even though she’s originally from Illinois and knows that Bird has nothing on Michael Jordan #23Forever).
Work: Karate Crackers
A graduate from Ringling College of Art and Design, Peter has worked as a graphic designer / art director / illustrator for 20 years. Work: Monster Masks, Greek Mythology Portfolio: http://www.peterbajohr.com
Cassandra Thomas is an independent cartoonist and biotechnology student at University of Wisconsin – River Falls. She was born in Indiana and raised in Minnesota on a rural hobby farm. Fascinated by the art of animation, Cassandra taught herself to draw from Disney’s Magic Artist books. She started drawing seriously around the age of fourteen, participating in online art communities such as deviantART, and started her original webcomic KiLA iLO at the age of eighteen. She used the popular new crowd-sourcing platform, Kickstarter, to get the first volume of KiLA iLO into print. Cassandra currently lives and studies near the Twin Cities area, where she takes bagboxing and Aikido lessons. She hopes to one day go into research medicine. Work: Math Cards Portfolio: http://www.thomasfamilyartists.com/cassandra/
Sanna Kinnunen, AKA ELECTRI©POPPERS is self-taught cartoon doodle/illustrator artist from Finland. She doesn’t have any education for drawing and designing so she mainly goes with the flow and develops her style on her own. She loves crazy colours and funny stuff. Work: Charms, Wrist Band Portfolio: http://www.electricpoppers.com
Ben is a freelance illustrator and animator. Work: Pattern, Number Pattern, Shape Pattern, Memory, Moves, Basketball, Batter, Quarterback, Cavern, Wind, Bingo, Kayak, Multiply Race, Bug Catcher, Skip Count Race, Cowboy, Find, Word Find 1, Word Find 3, Word Find 5 Portfolio: https://www.artstation.com/artist/benkg
Bobb Klissourski is a cartoonist and freelance illustrator. who has about 20 years experience as a 2D animator and as a comic book artist. He loves to illustrate for children. Work: Word Find 2 Portfolio: http://bobbart.deviantart.com/
Boggart Owl is a freelance illustrator based in Russia. She enjoys drawing animals, portraits and comics, also having 2D animation and linocut printing for hobbies. Work: Word Find 4, Word Find 6, How Many Portfolio: http://boggartowl.deviantart.com/
Sergey Kostik is freelance illustrator from Russia. He is making art for games, doing illustrations and animations. He learned to do pixel arts from demoscene community and early computer systems like ZX-Spectrum and Amiga. Hobby became professional career and now he never stops to learn and search for the new creative ideas and art forms. Work: Build Portfolio: http://pixelartist.ru