The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game

This preschool game was born out of a trip to Tokyo, where I saw a multitude of training chopsticks for children. The idea of using chopsticks as the centerpiece of a game grew into the Squirrel Squeezers, which encourage children to harvest acorns while practicing their fine motor skills. I sketched a tree-shaped box and worked with the factory to develop this hand-wrapped, fully illustrated package that doubles as the game board.

PackagingToy Design
Toy invention and design.
This award-winning preschool game teaches children to match colored acorns to specific colored areas in their cardboard log. Using the Squirrel Squeezers, little ones practice their fine motor skills as they grip the squirrel's hands, much like they would with training chopsticks.
While on a trip to Japan, I encountered training chopsticks for toddlers and even saw a chopstick game where kids were required to deftly use adult chopsticks. Using a pair of small tongs and Sculpey, I formed the shape of a squirrel around the metal base. And Sneaky was born!

The game won the 2011 Communication Arts Design Competition and has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Disney FamilyFun, and Parents Magazine. It won the Canadian Toy Testing Council Seal, the Parents' Choice Foundation Silver Honor, a Dr. Toy award, and a NAPPA award.

I collaborated with illustrator Lucia Gaggiotti and sculptor Cliff Jackson to bring this game to life. Product Manager Brent Geppert tested and refined gameplay and managed the manufacturing process.
eCommerce design and art direction.
As featured on TheDieline.com
Final version of our beloved "Sneaky," the Squirrel Squeezers.
Early (and very, very rough) sketch of my structural design for the package.
My rough, early sketch of the Squirrel Squeezers concept.
Using Sculpey and my kitchen oven, this crude prototype of the Squirrel Squeezers came to be. Notice that "Sneaky" is attached to a log in this picture. We dropped the log and went for an adorably simplified version of this little guy.
Communication Arts awarded my team and me with a 2011 Design Annual appearance. We were so stoked! CA even sends winners a certificate complete with a fancy gold seal.
Our product line, along with the game, were featured as part of a sale on Fab.com.

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