Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.
Hi, Mom’s Choice readers! We are coming at you with another amazing interview with one of our very own Mom’s Choice Award-winning Creators. Aaron Muderick, or as he’s better known, “Crazy Aaron.” Aaron is the man responsible for the wildly popular, MCA Award-winning, Doodle Putty. Doodle Putty includes a mold that can be used to form your putty into a work of art as well as colorful markers that allow you to actually draw on your putty! Keep reading to find out more about Aaron and his incredible creation, Doodle Putty, including how it came to be!
MCA: Hi Aaron, thank you so much for joining us today! Can we start the interview by finding out a little bit about your company, “Crazy Aaron’s,” and how it got started?
Aaron: For as long as I can remember, I always had a penchant for putty. While I enjoyed the one that immediately comes to most people’s minds, it was created for mass market in 1957 and left much to be desired. This was 1998. I figured with all the advances in science and engineering made in the last 30 years, there had to be ways to improve it.
So began my quest…
I taught myself chemistry. I learned a bit about physics. And after a whole lot of experimenting, my first batch of Thinking Putty® was born! I quickly realized that this product was so unique and the creation process so sensitive, I was going to have to build my own factory to make it.
So that’s just what I did. And as my business grew, so did my desire to give back to my community. Today, we work with seven Philadelphia-area vocational centers to employ many exceptional individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities. That’s in addition to our brand new headquarters in Norristown, PA where Thinking Putty is proudly made in the USA.
People often ask me how I come up with all my cool Thinking Putty creations. The truth is that I find ideas everywhere: nature, art, science, math, and even history. I aim to keep my eyes open and I often find what I didn’t even know I was looking for. Our world is such a fascinating place that this seems to happen pretty regularly.
MCA: It is always wonderful when you can find inspiration in your everyday surroundings! You mentioned that the idea for your original thinking putty came from wanting to improve upon the only putty that was on the market at the time. What needs were you trying to fill when you created Doodle Putty?
Aaron: I wanted to create an opportunity for kids to be creative. Kids love to doodle and draw. They love to play with putty too. I talk all the time about thinking outside the box. With Doodle Putty, kids can draw beyond a rectangular piece of paper. They can make any shape or design in 2D or 3D and then color it in. Plus, a magical component for wow factor: when you mix the putty, the color disappears!
MCA: That is absolutely fascinating, what an incredible product! Tell us about the research that went behind Doodle Putty‘s unique features!
Aaron: It always looks simple when you see the finished product but a lot of trial and error went into its creation. First, we needed to design a putty that would be able to be colored again and again without the marker discoloring it. It needed to be long-lasting, never dry out, and be reusable. It needs to hold its shape when left sitting. If you like your creation, I wanted it to be something you could keep long-term on a shelf. Then the team tested hundreds of different marker formulas and dove into the chemistry of marker inks to create something compatible with the putty. We wanted to create a new kind of packaging that could really show off the product differently than most of our other Thinking Putty products. Lastly, we created a mold so you can make fun shapes and we did it in a way that really minimized the amount of plastic used. The mold is sturdy enough but also very thin to make it more sustainable.
MCA: There is a lot of research that shows the many benefits that clay and putty-based play can have for children. Can you tell us about some of those benefits?
Aaron: Kids can bounce, stretch, squish, pop, twist, melt, fidget and more with our products! Putty play can help younger kids develop everyday fine motor skills like zipping a coat, tying shoes, using a fork, brushing teeth, and using a pencil.
Children of all ages can benefit from putty play as it supports imaginative play and creativity, social and emotional skills, focus and attention, language and literacy, beginning science and math, symbolic thinking and ultimately, exploration. Putty becomes a familiar (and comfortable) play pattern for kids, but with endless possibilities to shift the play experience and grow with the child (or adult).
Kids are working on building brain cells while adults are working on regenerating brain cells. Putty play can encourage memory, focus and overall mental acuity in adults as they fidget with Thinking Putty.
MCA: What kind of feedback have you received about Doodle Putty?
Aaron: The product is new on the market but the reviews on social media and from store owners have been very positive. We are excited about a ‘new way to play!’
MCA: What is next for Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty?
Aaron: Our latest creation, The Amazing Prediction Putty, brings putty play and fortune-telling together. Ask your semi-intelligent blob of Thinking Putty a question and be amazed when it answers you!
MCA: We cannot wait to check it out! Thank you for a great interview, Aaron!
You can learn more about Andrea Cassell and her award-winning book, Doodle Putty by visiting her MCA Shop pages.