Kids can create hundreds of different characters by mixing different character plates. | Source: Spin Master

Kids who love to draw, color, or experiment with fashion can combine all of those interests with a new activity set called the Truly You! Character Creator.

This new toy was actually thought up by high school students from 6ix Academy, a Toronto-based, entrepreneurial high school program that helps students turn their ideas into real products with the help of professionals. Spin Master helped the students bring their idea from concept to retail in 12 months, updating a retro play pattern for a modern world with a mix of diverse characters that kids can design and decorate.

The set is well-organized so kids can take it on the go. | Source: Spin Master

First things first: The set is organized really well, making it easy for kids to take it anywhere. There are two handy buttons on each side that kids can use to lock the kit closed so that it doesn’t spill open inside a backpack. When kids are ready to play, they can slide the buttons into the unlocked position to open the case. Inside, there are compartments for the character plates, cards with the character descriptions on them, a black crayon, and colored pencils. 

Kids can replicate these characters or create their own! | Source: Spin Master

There are six collector cards that showcase the inclusive group of characters that the 6ix Academy students thought up, including a Paralympian, an Indigenous fashion designer from the Sioux Nation, a Black astronaut, a non-binary frontline healthcare worker, a Muslim fashion and beauty influencer, and a gender fluid content creator. Each card has a description that further describes the character and their relevance, such as the “astronaut who chases her dreams of exploring space and increasing representation for Black women in STEM careers” and the “Paralympic athlete and strong advocate for equal opportunities for children with disabilities.”

The crayon holder makes it really easy to outline the characters. | Source: Spin Master

There are nine double-sided character plates with those characters on them, divided by legs, torsos, and heads. Kids can mix and match the plates to design different combinations of the characters, or recreate the characters as the students originally designed them. The creation part takes place on the lid of the case: Kids can place the character plates of their choosing into the grooves, place a piece of paper on top of the plates, and close the frame to lock it all in place. 

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The set comes with a black crayon conveniently placed in an easy-to-hold clip. Kids can take that crayon and drag in back and forth a few times over the paper to create an outline of the character. Even though the character is made from three separate plates (the legs, the torso, and the head), kids will end up with a seamless outline of the character striking a pose. The set comes with 11 colored pencils, including several light and dark skin tone shades, that kids can use to color in their character however they’d like. 

Kids can use the colored pencils to color in the outlined characters. | Source: Spin Master

The set is recommended for kids ages 8 and up, but younger kids can get in on the action with some help from an older sibling or an adult. Kids can create the characters and color them in one at a time, or they can make a whole book full of the outlined characters to color in later, stapling all the pages together like a DIY coloring book. The paper is not included, but plain, white paper would probably work best.

The diverse group of characters and the story of how the toy was made will motivate kids to dream big while exercising their creativity. Whether they want to be a fashion designer, an astronaut, an athlete, a health care worker, or something else entirely, the characters will inspire them to reach for the stars and live as their most authentic self, and that’s a great message to learn.

About the author

Jackie Cucco

Jackie Cucco

Jackie Cucco was a Senior Editor of The Toy Book, The Toy Insider, and The Pop Insider. She covered toy trends, pop culture, and entertainment news, and made appearances on national and regional outlets, including CBS, WPIX, News 12, and more. Jackie spends her time watching horror movies and working her way through every Stephen King novel out there.