NEW YORK – With so much happening virtually these days, parents with young kids know how hard it can be to get kids off of their tablets and other devices.

One Brooklyn inventor has spent years developing something that he thinks will click with kids, but with no electronic components, can it keep them engaged? We headed to Assaf Eshet’s new office and retail space to find out.

What You Need To Know

  • Brooklyn's Assaf Eshet has created a new building toy called Clixo, with bendable pieces that snap together like magnets

  • Eshet's new space in Clinton Hill includes his Toyish Labs work studio and a play space and retail space where kids can try the Clixo pieces, under strict COVID protocols

  • Eshet wanted to create a new building toy that was totally open-ended, unlike many sets these days that have detailed step-by-step instructions to create just one thing

  • Kids at the play space don't need any instructions at all, they create imaginative structures that decorate the walls, tables and floor of the space

Like a lot of the kids here, Maya is building something and doesn’t know what it is yet, and that’s the point. Here, youngsters can go where their imaginations take them.

Feinics made what looks a lot like a ceiling fan.

"You can just click and there's no, there's no wrong thing, you can just do whatever you want. I just made it up by putting pieces together," he told us, while clicking together pieces of the many Clixo building sets that are out in the play space area.

Brooklyn toy designer Assaf Eshet is the founder of Toy Labs, which is part place space and part toy lab - with COVID protocols, of course.

The lab's newest creation is Clixo, bendable pieces that snap together with magnets to create almost anything.

"You go with the flow. There's a lot of a-ha moments that are happening, not necessarily knowing what you're doing when you start," he told us while playing with the pieces.

Eshet spent years developing toys for major brands, but wanted to create something new that was open-ended and allowed for plenty of creativity. He calls Clixo a cross between building blocks and origami.

"I was always fascinated with paper and I think paper can really open channels of creative expression because it can be anything you want. It really is almost like thinking with your fingers," Eshet told us.

School Principal Rebecca Feynberg agrees it’s important for young people to build freely, not just follow the step-by-step instructions that come with many building kits.

"It helps fine motor skills, it's so visual, it's kinetic, and it can also go into cognitive thinking, creativity, imagination, solving problems," said Feynberg.

With his workspace right next to the play space, Eshet is regularly inspired by what the kids do here.

"They played and they did a long jumping rope that I couldn't even imagine they would do it. It already gave me an idea on what to do in the future," said Eshet, after watching several kids connect their pieces together into a long line of pieces and then jump over them.

"Every time they come and show you something, and they're proud of what they're doing and they invite you into their world through this," said Maya's Mom, as Maya continued to bring her newest creations to admire.