The Internet is my go-to for any and all research. My plan is always to go in, find what I need, and be out before Mark Zuckerberg even knows I’m here. Of course, two hours later my search for “sustainable clothing for kids” becomes: clothing for kids, kids in funny clothing, clothing on cats, cats making clothing, cats making funny noises, and then all of the sudden I’m watching this… again.
Today was one of those days. I blame the guys who let me write about things like indiegogo.com. I will warn you now. You can get lost in this website. Indiegogo.com is a platform where people create their own funding campaigns. You can donate to urban elementary school gardens. You can pitch in to give clothing to those who need it. There are options for saving turtles and dance companies. There are technological inventions like this one, which can help us find our keys. (My husband suggested if I recommended sticking these to children, this project could be relevant to the article I’m writing.) Before you get lost in the abyss that is the World Wide Web, let me steer you in the right direction. Here are some projects on Indiegogo specifically for our geeky kids.
This project is an improvement on an old design. The former Qubits construction toys consisted of rubber pieces that fit together with connectors. But once the connectors were lost a potential bridge or skyscraper was just a collection of rubber.
Qubits has definitely taken advantage of its new home near Cape Canaveral’s many high-end aerospace-related plastic injection companies. In simpler terms, all that means is that they’ve improved upon an already great toy designed to make geometry, physics, and engineering fun for all kids. No more lost connectors!
With Qubits 2.0 the connectors are built right into the Qubits themselves. Parts can’t go missing only to suffer a terrible fate involving the radiator or the dog. Now any young architect can build anything his brain can blueprint. Think bigger, smarter Erector Set.
I really like this couple, Kate and Andrew. The duo is one part designing seamstress genius and one part business aficionado. They make recycled wool stuffed toys, simple, durable, clothes and accessories, whimsical decor items made from recycled books, and dress up and imagination toys. They sincerely want this business to be sustainable, local, original and from the heart. Besides that, everything is just way too stinkin’ cute.
The other day one of my kiddo buddies (a.k.a. former babysittee) excitedly showed off her new iPhone to me before asking her mother if she could take the phone to bed with her. While her mom wondered what her dear daughter could possibly want with a phone while sleeping (not to sleep would be my guess) I instantly became my grandmother and wondered why on earth an eight year old would need a phone. Then I remembered that I’m not 86 and my name isn’t Lorraine. Kids need phones for plenty of reasons.
iBitz knows this. They also know there are many activity trackers on the market (think apps that map your run and pedometers), but that there aren’t many designed with kids in mind. We make a lot of noise about children needing to put down electronics in order to be active.
Instead of playing tug of war with a kid’s iPod while explaining the dangers of coronary artery disease, the creators of iBitz met the little techies halfway. “Video games are awesome and so is running and playing!” they declared. So, they created an activity tracker that acts as a game, rewarding kids with game credits and access to levels and features all powered by their physical activity, healthy habits, good deeds, grades, and chores. Even I wouldn’t mind being rewarded with new levels when I went for a jog with the dog or take out the trash.
Tracy Wannemacher, a long time Masters level speech pathologist, and Antonio Sanders, a seasoned AAA game developer with 13 years of experience, created this app. The result is an app that takes advantage of both skill sets.
The words in each cute puzzle within the app have been carefully considered for their value in early vocabulary learning. The apps Wannemacher and Sanders intend to market will address each sound produced in the English language as well as providing a variety of sound sequences to address children’s articulation skills. These apps will also provide auditory bombardment and opportunities to match pictures on three different levels.
There is so much opportunity for learning, especially in the phonetic department when children are young but you have to get and keep their attention to benefit from that opportunity. This puzzle app takes advantage of playtime to introduce kids to this type of engagement in a way that to them, is just tons of fun.
Trips to the zoo often go like this:
Kid = excited to see animals he’s seen on animal planet in all their running, flying, jumping glory.
Zoo Animals = Lazy, hot, so immobile you may have been staring at the elephant statue out front for the past 10 minutes for all you know.
That’s what happened to Renee’s dad in What the Sleepy Animals Do at the Audubon Zoo when he takes his daughter to New Orleans’ Audubon Zoo. New Orleans! 110 degree New Orleans! So these animals are particularly warm. On their trip
“The lions were lazy.
The snakes just snored.
The dolphins were drowsy.
The boars were… a bore.”
Renee wants an explanation, as well she should. Her father spins an elaborate story about all the crazy activities that keep the animals up all night. He tells her:
“The hippos hip hop.
The flamingos flamenco.
The rhinos rock out.
The tarantulas tango.”
In the end, Renee calls her dad’s bluff… or could he be right?
The book was awarded “Best New Orleans Children’s Book” by NOLA.com.
A portion of proceeds will be donated to the Audubon Zoo to help build a new elephant sanctuary. The book is written, illustrated, and will be locally printed in New Orleans. It’s clear these guys know NOLA and the sometimes-sleepy animals that live there, and their love for the city shines through in this sweet story.
My hometown is a city that often argues with my current city about who has the most green transportation options. “We have more winter cyclists!” one shouts while the other yells back “Well, we have more iced over trails for those cyclists!”
The woman who created Ride With Me hails from a similar oasis of earth friendly transport. She needed a fix for her growing daughter’s stroller-related tantrums. The kiddo no longer wanted to be stuck in a stroller but wasn’t quite big enough to keep up with Mom on her own. Natrishka Pather, a former skate, board, and bike enthusiast had a solution. She calls it “a combination of personal passion and parental passion.”
Pather teamed up with advisor Joey Tershay of Ace Skateboard Truck Manufacturing in L.A. and Ride With Me was born. A 47″ aluminum frame with cushioned seat attaches to your existing longboard using a front truck mount. It’s lightweight and easy to detach. The curved handle will accommodate all hand sizes while the grown up is able to keep the traditional skate/surf stance. It includes a 38-inch deck with concave nose and kicktail. It’s big, soft wheels adapt to nearly all surfaces and provide a smooth ride. Ride With Me can safely hold one adult and one child ages 2-5. It just plain beats stroller boycotting and car seats.