By Vicki Little
Has your child ever thought about what goes into making a toy come to life? Maybe they have an imaginary creature in mind they wish they could create and play with? Or perhaps your child enjoys taking toys apart to figure out how they work, then learning how to put them back together again.
I recently asked my own kids if they understood how toys were made, and then how they get onto store shelves. When they weren’t sure, they began asking thoughtful questions about a process that we sometimes take for granted: bringing creative ideas to life.
I chalked one up in the “Mom-win” category when I told them about this really cool Kickstarter campaign we are keeping a close eye on. It’s got two major things going for it: The inventive little toys called Pixi Kits are STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) focused gizmos that let kids explore technology by building their own interactive animals. There is a bunny that hops, a bird that talks, and a chameleon that changes color. They teach children how technology works in really fun – but not overly complicated — ways.
Secondly, the Kickstarter campaign for these toys aims to engage kids in the process of bringing Pixi Kits to market, teaching kids about how inventing, financing, production, and business all work together.
Pixi Kits are the product of one “soccer dad’s” determination to find a model toy with moving parts that his daughter and son would both enjoy. Father of 8-year-old twins, Pixi Kits founder Lee Middlekauf knows how hard it is for parents to find good technology-based toys that are appropriate for younger children, and especially how hard it is to find ones that both a brother and sister will love. He put together a test group that included other parents, an Emmy award-winning animator, and a design/engineering partner. Then he made a prototype.
The next step is this Kickstarter campaign that will hopefully lead to a ton of little hopping bunny educational toys in the hands of happy children. In order for these toys to come to life, Pixi Kits needs to raise $65, 000 to produce its first run of toys.
This is where children can learn a lot about what it takes to bring a cool idea to market. When parents and kids contribute, even just a few dollars, they will receive periodic kid-friendly updates from Pixi Kits that tell them what is happening and what stage they are in for toy production — all the way to the toys being delivered to their home. (For a $25 early-bird donation, contributors will receive the actual toy if the Kickstarter is funded.)
Time-tested “kid-businesses, ” such as lemonade stands and dog-walking, are great ways for kids to learn how to earn money, but they don’t offer an accurate window on how long it really takes to get an idea up and running — and they don’t usually inspire children to think outside the box to make dreams come to life. It’s good for kids to see that anyone can be an inventor, a marketing exec, or an investor — including them.
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform, which simply means that anyone can pitch in a little bit of money to help bring something they like to market. Kids can learn about business in a step-by-step process. Start by explaining to your children how they are investors and they can follow their “investment” to help it succeed. Guide them through the steps of:
- Reviewing choices. There are several “packages” you can take advantage of on Kickstarter. Of course, you can donate any amount you want, but if you choose to fund $25 or more towards Pixi Kits, you will receive your own toy when it goes to market.
- Sharing information about the idea to increase the chances of reaching the funding goal. You can help them by sharing on your Facebook page. They can talk about it to friends, or maybe track the Kickstarter campaign in school to learn about online fundraising.
- Funding the project. Your child can help fund the project (with your assistance for the transaction details), and then have the updates sent to their email address, if they are old enough, or you can share updates from your email.
- Reaching the goal. They will continue to get updates for approximately 6-8 months until they receive notice that the toy is going into production. In the case of Pixi Kits, the bird and chameleon will not be produced unless the bunny succeeds.
- Getting it produced. Their new toy will be produced, if funding is met, then shipped to them to assemble and play with.
In the end, kids will learn way more than they realize. They will be able to explain what it takes to bring an idea to life for mass production. And maybe, just maybe, one day they will have an idea of their own that’s awesome enough to turn into a toy they can develop and sell.
**This Sponsored Post was brought to you by the awesome team behind Pixi Kits.
Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two young kids. A Colorado native, she is the Publisher and Editor of Macaroni Kid Aurora and Downtown Denver. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, reading, camping, or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends.
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