The Pirate Ship set is one of the Flipzles products created by a couple from Wash.

Some couples garden, some cook and some start a business together.

Jake and Vicki Lewis, a couple from Maple Valley, Wash.,  recently began a business designing brightly-painted, wooden puzzles called Flipzles.

The inspiration for Flipzles came to Vicki after observing her mother-in-law create nativity puzzles on a jigsaw. Lewis had the idea of making the wooden puzzles double-sided. Applying her art talents, Lewis created a house puzzle for her four children.

“I get a little bit tired of all the bells and whistles and electronics. I like to go back to the kids using their imaginations and solving problems,” Vicki said.

What her husband Jake likes best about the project is that he and Vicki are in it together. While she handles the designing, Jake handles the financials.

Jake graduated with a degree from BYU in 2000 and now works full time doing financial work.  When the work day finishes for most people, Jake comes home and crunches more numbers.

“It makes the two of us a really great team,” he said. “It’s been really fun to balance out the artistic and creative side that Vicki provides . . . with the knowledge and experience I used in getting my degree.”

What makes Flipzles different from other wooden puzzles is that the puzzle pieces are shaped like people and objects, and they are thick enough so they can stand. That means when play time comes, children can either put the puzzle together or make believe with the standup puzzle pieces.

There are currently four designs being manufactured — a house, pirate ship, rescue station and a castle. More designs are being created by Vicki.

Jean Piaget, the famous Swiss developmental psychologist, proposed a theory that children are drawn to toys which help them understand the world around them.

Professor David Nelson of the School of Family Life said toys like Flipzles follow Piaget’s theory.

“I think the thing that is potentially problematic about most of today’s toys is that so much of it is going into media-oriented formats. They are playing with things that are completely digital and not so much tangible,” Nelson said.

Another component of play is the social interaction associated with it. Nelson explained while there are benefits of playing with digital toys, they have the tendency to isolate children from playing with other children and forming relationships.

Vicki decided to make Flipzles into a business after observing how much her children loved playing with the puzzle and after other parents saw and admired the toy.

After sketching, painting, editing and financing their project, the Lewises are excitedly waiting for their first shipment of Flipzles to arrive within the next few days.

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