Hoping to take advantage of the growing number of edu-conscious parents looking to give their kids an early jump on curriculum-based learning, K’Nex Education is bringing some of the construction toy sets it previously distributed exclusively through educators-only catalogues to bricks-and-mortar retail. The 12-year-old product line is specifically designed to tie into school curriculae by demonstrating concepts in math, science and technology for kids in kindergarten up to grade 12. The sets can now be purchased at specialty parent/teacher stores such as Becker Brothers in the US and Scholar’s Choice in Canada, as well as various independent shops and online stores.
In addition to connecting with keen and home-schooling parents, taking the line into retail should also help the company reach teachers who routinely spend their own money on extra classroom materials, says K’Nex Eduction sales and marketing coordinator Maureen Kratz, who adds that mass-market channels aren’t in the cards. ‘We are going to be very selective with the distribution of this line,’ she says, and the company is only interested in exploring channels where parents and teachers shop for educational toys.
K’Nex will use teacher conferences, professional development workshops, email blasts and print ads to communicate the line’s retail availability. The company’s marketing gameplan also calls for playing the message up in its ongoing classroom challenge initiative and K’Nex: Building Thrill Rides, its traveling museum program that brings nine large-scale rides – including a 10-foot roller coaster and six-foot ferris wheel – to museums so kids can learn about the physics behind them.