The Mighty Maze Maker, Invented By Mom & Dad Computer Scientists, Makes Its Toy Fair Debut At Booth 2051 With Serious Street Cred

Lino Lakes, MN (January 4, 2018) — Folks who live in Minnesota (and trivia geeks) know that many childhood wonders have had their start in The North Star State. Candy maker Frank C. Mars introduced the Milky Way and then Snickers and Three Musketeers! The first Children’s department in a library is said to be that of the Minneapolis Public Library. Add to the list of MN inventions: Scotch Tape, Wheaties cereal and Maze-O. The latter made its national debut on ABC’s The Toy Box in May 2017. In just a few months, the labyrinth game has found its way to Barnes & Noble store shelves and Amazon’s subscription Stem Club. Amazing, right? Plan your route through the maze of the 2018 American International Toy Fair to Booth 2051 to see the Maze-O Starter Set ($29.99) for yourself.

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How a toy gets to market is a story in itself. Sometimes a lucky opportunity propels a new inventor to national prominence. Such was the case for mom & dad inventors Jessica and Daniel Friedman. These computer science and computer engineering pros used an early 3D printer to create pieces to form a maze for their son, as he was too young to correctly draw a paper maze. They called it Maze-O.

Fast forward to when the phone rang from a casting agent for a TV reality show, looking for toys to be discovered. As ABC-TV’s website describes it:

“The Toy Box helps inventors make their toy creation dreams become a reality. In the first season, inventions were brought before mentors, including Dylan’s Candy Bar owner Dylan Lauren, toy guru Jim Silver and Pixar creative director of Consumer Products, Jen Tan. If they pass phase one, they then have the opportunity to face the ultimate toy-loving panel of judges: kids.”

The Maze-O story was broadcast in early May 2017. By late June, their booth at ASTRA’s Marketplace had scooped up several retail buys including Barnes & Noble and Kaplan Toys! Good fortune continued down their path with trophies from Tillywig and Hot Diggity toy contests. Soon children’s museum, science museum and specialty toy stores stocked the 52-piece brightly-colored tiles set that are perfect for small hands, as every piece connects with one another.

What’s the ideal age for playing? Maze-O CEO Jessica Friedman replies:

“young children, starting around age 2 can begin to put pieces together. By 3-4 years old they can be deliberate about forming passageways and branches that lead to dead-ends or to exits. By age 5-6 children can follow the included instruction cards to form complex mazes and create their own complex mazes with tricky passageways.”

As a great introduction to STEM concepts, the Maze-O Starter Set generated testimonials from kids via their parents online at Amazon’s site and on Maze-O’s colorful Facebook page:

Saw these on the Toy Box. My son was so excited and cried when they were not selected by the judges. So mom found them on Amazon and surprised him! He loves building mazes for his cars to drive on! Bravo – and Excellent product!!! Very durable – brightly colored and not cheap feeling or looking! Quality educational, still fun toy!

We love Maze-O! Our 4 kids have had a glorious time creating different maze configurations. They made some of the mazes on the cards included and created lots of their own. We also raced marbles through the maze by blowing the marble with straws. Super fun for all ages!

Maze-o is a great toy! The construction is great quality and it is very sturdy. The pieces link together easily and strongly, they don’t fall apart if bumped or moved.

My son has absolutely loved this toy. He creates his own little worlds out of the mazes. The quality is great (thick/sturdy/durable plastic) and the pieces fit together easily. He is excited to try building some of the mazes shown on the maze cards, but imagination wins every time and he ends up with his own unique mazes which become a place for his toy trains and toy cars to explore.

It’s not just families but nursing professionals who saw the benefits of this cognitive booster:

I love my Maze-O set. I work at a Skilled Nursing Unit were patients come for rehab. We have used it to help patients with dementia and decreased cognitive issues to help them improve their motor planning skills along with fine motor coordination.

In fact, Maze-O is a wonderful tool for children with special needs. It can be a tool for improving small motor skills and communication skills. The connectors are designed to keep kids engaged and not frustrated!

Inside each set is a deck of maze instruction cards to create a potential 30+ mazes. The bright pieces are so sturdy you can build on a thick carpet. Produced in Wisconsin, USA, look for Maze-O in select specialty stores coast to coast. Their website,, lists them all on a handy map.

Maze-O Starter Set • Ages 3+ • $29.99
Lose yourself in hours of maze-building fun! The primary-colored tiles become ramps, turns, and branches as little fingers combine up to 52 pieces however they imagine. It’s an endless labyrinth of possibilities. Follow the activity cards, or strike out on your own. Then have action figures find their way out, or send a car on a dizzying drive! The whole family will be a-mazed!

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Maze-O is an exciting new maze-building toy by inventors Jessica and Dan Friedman. When their son was four years old, he wanted to build his own mazes. He carefully lined up wooden blocks to form passageways, but they were so easily destroyed, especially with two little sisters around. Mom and dad, with their computer science and computer engineering backgrounds, came up with Maze-O so he would have a simple, durable way to create any maze he could dream up! Its innovative shape allows for easy drop-in assembly, perfect for little engineers. Maze-O will get kids thinking – and playing for hours as they create AMAZING mazes! Find out more at and on Facebook.

Written by Matt

Dad blogger at ~ communications consultant, collaborator and PR pro ~ recovering hop grower and contributor to numerous local guides ~ husband and dad of 4, living in southwest Wisconsin. I love having fun with my family, writing, traveling, shopping, consulting and sharing my honest opinions. See me in action on Discover Wisconsin (at 00:04:00). I am PR friendly, contact me at or