Want to meet one of the creators behind Beaker Creatures? I sat down with senior product development manager Tom Runtz for a chat about what makes these collectible creatures so special.
Who are you?
I’m Tom Runtz. To be a bit more Beaker Creature about it, I would be classified as a human being from the planet Earth! I work in Product Development, which means my job is to come up with new concepts for educational toys and games and then work with our teams to turn those ideas into actual products!
What are Beaker Creatures?
Beaker Creatures are little creatures from distant planets that have crash-landed on Earth and are looking for homes where they can share their love of science and discovery!
What inspired you and your team to create Beaker Creatures?
At Learning Resources, we’re always looking for ways that we can add a unique educational twist to a product, and one of my colleagues thought of the idea of bringing together science and collectibles. We then brought the idea to a focus group of moms and it was a home run, so we knew immediately we were onto something big!
How many creatures are there?
Series 1 has 35 creatures, including five of the limited-edition 24-Carat Creatures. These guys are super cool, and hard to find. Even in our own office I have to keep my own secret stash of these guys hidden from the rest of the company! Series 2 will bring an additional 30 to Earth in early 2019, so more are on their way.
What can you learn by playing with Beaker Creatures?
We’ve incorporated a lot of different science into this line. Beaker Creatures relies on the classic scientific principles of observation and classification. No two Beaker Creatures are alike, and our junior Beaker Creature scientists must use close observation in order to classify each new creature they discover!
In addition to this, each family of Beaker Creatures comes with its own set of educational fun facts and quizzes directly related to its species!
What kinds of science experiments can you perform with the Beaker Creatures lab sets?
Well first, each time a Beaker Creature is released from a Reactor Pod it involves a science experiment in which acids and bases react to produce a gas – carbon dioxide. There’s an experiment called “Alien Slime Time” that teaches the science of slime. Other experiments include color mixing, whirlpools, volcanoes, and a variety of other fun science concepts.
What was it like to extract your first creature from its Reactor Pod?
It was a blast! We gathered the team around a table, took out that first Reactor Pod, and carefully placed it into the Liquid Reactor Super Lab. We did a little countdown, then started to add the water and immediately saw the bubbling reaction!
How did you figure out which Beaker Creature you’ve got?
Well, first we checked the included classification card to see which family the creature belonged to. Then, we took it out of the water and did some close observation. Three horns… two feet… no arms… it was definitely Flurry!
Who is your favorite Beaker Creature?
You can’t ask me to name just one! Okay, fine. It’s Twinkle. But don’t tell the others.
If you could take a vacation to one of the Beaker Creatures’ planets, which one would it be?
Not Ice Dome, that’s for sure. I already live in Chicago, so I think it would feel too much like the same. Probably Ocean Orb because I love the water, so that could be a fun place to visit.