The Toy Mash-up is a specific take on the general mash-up trend that has infiltrated many aspects of pop culture, and now has a dedicated home on the world wide web at www.ToyMashup.com.
Ruth Green-Synowic, a Chicago-based toy maker and advisory board member for the Chicago Toy & Game Group, which conceived of the concept and now facilitates the monthly contests, commented: "We were talking with a group of friends and colleagues at a monthly industry party when the idea just kind of clicked.
"I think our competitive creativity and play tendencies took over from there and when some concepts posted to Facebook and Pinterest were quickly shared, the real fun began."
Participants must create a mash-up concept of toys or games and submit the entries to be shared on the Chicago Toy and Game Fair's Facebook page. Submissions can be digital renderings, scanned sketches or collages, or even photos of actual mashed-up game concepts.
Each month guest judges, including professional toy and game inventors, will choose a winning mash-up concept and award a prize such as a game autographed by the inventor.
"The rules of the contest are not really what are important to us...even though many of us are game makers," said Mary Couzin, president and founder of the Chicago Toy and Game Fair.
"We just really want to share in some online creative play and in that Chicago is the toy and game inventor capital of the world we know there'll be some great submissions. Who knows maybe a concept will catch fire and become the next big thing."
Participants are encouraged to post their mash-ups every Friday. The May contest is sponsored by Lund and Company Invention, a Chicago-based toy design and product invention company. The prize for this month's contest is an autographed copy of Lund's award-winning game Doggie Doo.
"When the Chicago Toy & Game Group told us about this concept and invited us to be the first judges, we immediately agreed to participate," commented Bruce Lund, founder of Lund and Company Invention.
"The Toy Mashup is great way to play and be inventive and, as a social media concept, an engaging approach to sharing that creativity with friends."