Genius of Play Ambassador Spotlight: Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design & Development
May 17, 2021 | Toy industry veteran Phil Albritton is the founder of Power Kid Design & Development, a full-service design studio that helps develop toys and games for clients around the globe. Albritton also produces the Power Kid Podcast, the premier podcast focused on the modern toy and game industry, and was listed as one of Mojo Nation’s top 100 influential figures in toy and game design. Toy News Tuesday editors recently chatted with Albritton about his new role as a Play Ambassador for The Genius of Play – and the steps he takes to make play a part of his daily routine with his young son and daughter.
TNT: How did you get your start in the toy industry and what you are doing now?
PA: I was hired by the toy company Kidpower after receiving my marketing and communications degrees. There, I learned the ropes and afterward founded my toy and game design studio, Power Kid. Today, 20 years later, my team and I continue to develop toys and games for clients around the globe. We are a full-service studio that offers invention, illustration, branding, packaging, and consulting services. I have been blessed to help develop hundreds of long-running and award-winning products, including the Original Funnoodle, The Original Bounce Round, Zipes Speed Pipes, Wicked Big Sports items, Yo-Yo Ball, and Socker Boppers, among many others. I have also developed swim gear under every licensed brand imaginable, and Power Kid has had products placed at Target and Walmart every year since our founding. In 2017, we developed the top two selling products in the Walmart novelty section, and they are still going strong today. Outside of toys, I have developed packaging products for Dell Computers, FedEx, and Barrett Rifles.
TNT: Why was it important to you to become a Genius of Play Ambassador and what does play mean to you?
PA: Play is time consuming and for adults can often be difficult and misunderstood. It is critical that we educate parents about the importance of play. From brain stimulation to social development, there is no better method to help the next generation grow up healthy and encouraged than for their parents to spend time playing with them.
TNT: Play benefits our emotional and physical well-being at any age, so what steps have you taken to make play a part of your daily routine both in and outside of work?
PA: Everyday work and play blend seamlessly in the studio to ensure that rule sets work or that prototypes function. We are constantly pushing the limits of what is possible. Outside of work, the play continues as I let my kids (6 and 8) lead and discover what brings them joy. I love to make treasure hunts for my kids—making up rhymes and riddles that encourage them to scavenge outdoors or around the house to find candy, toys etc. We love card and board games. Some of our favorites are Survive, Monopoly, Blokus, Mastermind, and Sleeping Queens. Play takes many forms in our house. For example, if we are waiting somewhere I will ask them to create three characters. I then begin to build a story around those characters. I let them each take turns to tell me what happens next and I pivot with their suggestions. We create an imaginative story together.
TNT: How do you think we as a society can better incorporate play into our lives?
PA: Today especially the importance of play cannot be overstated. As a society we are stressed, over-stimulated, and wounded. Play addresses these ailments and more, helping to stimulate the body and mind. Exercised in larger groups, play has the power to bring communities together and teach cooperation.
TNT: What is your favorite toy and/or play memory?
PA: My first memory is playing with Remco’s Energized Climbing Spider-Man on a playground in Jacksonville, TN. Two older boys came up to me and told me in no uncertain terms that he “didn’t really climb.” I confidently demonstrated the web climbing action. The boys were surprised – and we became immediate friends. This is still the way I try to end every meeting!
To learn more about Phil Albritton, check out PowerKidDesign.com and be sure to tune into the Power Kid Podcast, available on Apple Podcasts and Toy Book.
This interview is part of an ongoing series that spotlights the members of The Genius of Play Ambassadors program, who serve as play thought leaders within their own professional networks as well as key supporters and spokespersons for ongoing Genius of Play initiatives.