If your kid is bummed that they can’t go to their favorite play space, then bring the play space home to them. follies is a new building toy that empowers children to create their own play space anywhere they want. D.C. based architect and mom Chloe Varelidi launched this new life-size building toy to get families through the pandemic and long after. 

Chloe Varelidi

With follies, children ages 4 and up can create their own play space anywhere they want. Each follies kit includes big-sized building shapes that children can connect within minutes to build unique structures. 

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“I love building my own world with follies” said Diego, a preschooler and one of the children Varelidi and her team worked with to co-design follies. 

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“Children are rarely given permission to create their own play space. Often they are told by grown ups where they should play and what that space should look like.” Varelidi said. “That’s why we wanted to design something that empowered children to build their own kind of playground from scratch.” 

Perfect for both indoor and outdoor play, children can use follies to build spaceships, playhouses, puppet theaters and anything else they can dream up. The building pieces are made from non-toxic, recyclable plastic which is washable. The brightly colored structures look good even when scattered in the living room. .   

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Varelidi started designing follies in 2017 while working with refugee communities in Greece, who had no access to playgrounds. 

“Play is essential in keeping our children healthy and happy. It is in fact a right enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.” Varelidi said. “However playgrounds can cost several thousands of dollars to install.” Designed as an affordable alternative, follies hopes to bring back play for children everywhere. Plus, follies offers an innovative alternative to playgrounds for families and communities who can’t access them during the coronavirus pandemic.

Committed to social impact, follies has also released an open-source version of the toy geared towards communities in the global south. With pilots of follies run in refugee camps in Greece, and a commitment to donate kits to the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project in Washington, D.C., as part of the kickstarter campaign, follies is a commercial toy that dares to make a difference.

You can preorder follies today on Kickstarter.

—Jennifer Swartvagher

All photos courtesy of follies

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