SERIES: ChiTAG’s Rising Star of the Year Nominees: In Their Own Words — Brady Peterson, Creator of Groovy Blocks

Laura Richards
3 min readNov 15, 2017


By Laura Richards

Brady Peterson, Creator of Groovy Blocks

Brady Peterson, creator of Groovy Blocks and many other games and toys, is one of several nominees of the Chicago Toy and Game Week (ChiTAG) Rising Star of the Year Award which will be presented at this year’s ChiTAG Toy & Game Innovation Awards (TAGIE’s) ceremony in the Ballroom at Navy Pier on November 17, 2017 from 6pm — 11pm.

Brady in his own words:

I grew up a few miles outside of a very small town in northwestern Wisconsin, Star Prairie, which today boasts a whopping population of just over 550 die-hard Packer & Badger fans. Growing up in the country with my older sister in the 70s, we really needed to rely on our imaginations to entertain ourselves. A typical day would be to gather a couple of neighbor friends and come up with a play-theme for the day, which often consisted of casting ourselves as the characters from Star Wars, complete with Lego laser guns and stick light sabers, and act out our favorite scenes from the movie or make up new adventures. Those dawn to dusk days are still some of my fondest memories growing up. I really think that being forced to use creativity to entertain ourselves back then has helped me greatly as a toy and game designer.

To be honest I wasn’t very involved in the nomination process, in fact, I’m not really sure who nominated me for the Rising Star Award. Once I had found out I was nominated I was ecstatic however, it was really fun sharing the news of the nomination with family and friends (and of course urging that they vote .-)

The inventing bug actually hit me around 15 years ago while in graduate school at Northwestern. I had a class in entrepreneurship in which we needed to come up with a product idea, and then develop business and marketing plans to support the product’s launch. Always having been a fan of magnets growing up, I ended up thinking of a magnetic toy concept which involved a quick release mechanism.

Although I ended up dropping that particular class due to my full-time job workload, I continued to tinker on the idea for many years on and off until I finally came up with a decent working prototype. I ended up pitching it to Mindware during a meeting I had set up at ChiTAG in 2013, which soon after became my first licensed toy idea, MagnaMix.

As for the toys and games I’ve invented:

— Otrio (Spin Master; 2016 Sweden and Finland Family Game of the Year)
— Otrio LE (Spin Master)
— Newton (Spin Master)
— I Got This! (Fat Brain Toys)

MagnaMix (Mindware)
— MagnaMix Letters (Mindware)
— Pattern Play Revolution (Mindware)
— Groovy Blocks (Mindware)
— Groovy Blocks Deluxe (Mindware)

Winning the ChiTAG Rising Star Award would really be a validation that all of these years of late nights and weekends spent working on my ideas, most of them ultimately destined for the garbage bin, were really worth it in the end. I would really love to take the next step and become a full time inventor, and being acknowledged by the industry that I so admire and enjoy is definitely a step in the right direction.

For further information on ChiTAG and the Rising Star Award, please visit their website:

To read about the other nominees for Rising Star of the Year Award, click on the links below:

Brian Gomez Team
Joyce Sprau
Thijmen de Schipper
Dominic Yard



Laura Richards

Bylines at The New York Times, The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, The Boston Globe Magazine and more. Portfolio: