Whaleywasher lives on your faucet to keep the water at a kid-safe temperature

whaleywasherGetting kids to wash their hands can be a chore. Water that’s too hot can make them reluctant to want to cleanse. Whaleywasher is a faucet attachment that allows parents to preset temperatures, water flow and dispenses soap for their kids. It was designed to make washing up easier for kids so that they don’t splash water or burn themselves. This attachment also extends the faucet forward and down so that kids can reach the water. One Whaleywasher costs dirty backers $25 with an estimated delivery date of September 2014. Whaley needs $20,000 to reach the mass market in its 30-day Kickstarter campaign.

Kids/Babies Tablet Accessories Toys

DiDi puts an iPad in a teddy bear’s tummy

The Premise. Stuffed animals are a staple for any child’s box of toys. Most, however, are limited in the interaction that they have with children, showing them how to cuddle but not much else.

The Product. Powered by iPad, DiDi is an interactive teddy bear system. Using an app, an iPad, and special touch toys, DiDi teaches kids the fundamentals of eating healthily, brushing their teeth as well as the fundamentals of reading. The iPad fits right into the body of the bear so that kids can use the touch screen to play or cuddle with DiDi without the iPad at night.

The Pitch. The DiDi video shows a little girl playing with her bear and all the different ways that the bear can be used.  The rest of the campaign shows the myriad of accessories that the bear comes with how they help kids with their reading skills. DiDi is shooting for $25,000 in 30 days on Kickstarter.

The Perks. The limited reward tiers offer early backers the DiDi package for only $25. This includes the teddy bear, Magic Touch toys and another stuffed bunny. The regular price is also $25 but doesn’t include the extra toy. Each teddy bear comes with the app needed to power it. Estimated delivery date is currently set at August 2014.

The Potential. We’ve seen a lot of these super teddy bears lately. The ZiBear is similarly powered by a device, though it isn’t directly connected to the bear. The ZiBear lets parents program what they want the bear to say. DiDi is interesting in that the touch screen is directly on the bear, giving kids the added visual aspect of the toy. It is also specifically a reading tool, which is a perfect way to get kids to learn how to read by incorporating their reading into playtime. One crawback to DiDi, though, is that only kids in iPad households can use the toy. However, the cost of the bear, app, and related accessories is relatively low which partially makes up for needing an iPad to use it. All in all, DiDi seems like a fun learning tool for kids and will certainly be entertaining as well as educational.

Maker/Development Toys

TinkerBots enlivens your Legos, offers simple robotics introduction

The Premise. Children and parents alike love construction toys because of the way that they manage to be fun while fostering creativity in developing minds. As robotics become easier to manufacture and more cost-effective, the delight of bringing these creations to life is too much to ignore.

The Product. TinkerBots is the next in a line of robotic building toys for children, though these are designed to be easier than ever. Using an Arduino platform as its base, each TinkerBots creation starts with the Power Brain, a block that provides information and power to any product. From there, a variety of blocks can be connected, from legs to wheels, and there are even adapters to allow standard Lego blocks to be attached. A simple press of the record button and a movement of each of the parts will allow the Power Brain to record the action and recreate it, hands-free.

The Pitch. It’s easy to see that Kinematics is passionate about blending fun and learning. By framing the toy as a stepping stone to familiarizing children with technology they will most likely need in their future careers, TinkerBots is framed as an educational tool while still looking enjoyable to play and experiment with. The campaign photos provide almost an instruction manual to using and building with TinkerBots for those that need a little more guidance. To reach the market, Kinematics will need $100,000 in pledges to continue to grow the TinkerBots platform.

The Perks. Because of the inherently modular nature of TinkerBots, there are a number of reward tiers for backers, starting with the Basic Wheeler Set that will allow backers to build simple wheeled robots for $159. Those who prefer to make animal-style creations can get the Basic Animal Set for $229. Advanced, more inclusive sets are available for $299, an IR sensor set is available for $329, sets with grabbing arm attachments are $399, and the Sensoric Mega Set is $499.

The Potential. Robotics sets for children are nothing new, but TinkerBots greatly brings down the cost and complexity down a notch from something like Lego’s latest MindStorms starter kit. What makes TinkerBots so unique though is the lack of high-level programming involved. While usually that requirement is sold as a feature designed to teach kids skills, the learning by example of TinkerBots will make creating and playing that much more natural and fun, and at the end of the day, that’s what’s going to excite and enrapture children of all ages.

Cycling Kids/Babies

MiniBrake enforces child cycling safety from a distance

minibrakeParents dreams of that triumphant moment when their child learns how to ride a bicycle on their own, but sometimes ignore the consequences. By being able to bike themselves, children are now able to travel at faster speeds and in potentially dangerous traffic. The MiniBrake is a small, remote-controlled brake that attaches to a bike’s rear wheel and stops the bicycle when the parent chooses. With a range of 50 meters, parents don’t have to chase after children, and if the bike travels beyond that range, the brake automatically engages, urging the child to return to a safer location. Parents can get a MiniBrake for $80, available in June 2014.

Technology Toys

Talking smart stuffed toy brings our your Cyrano DeBeargerac

The Premise. As technology becomes more and more apart of our lives, tech users become younger and younger. Kids who once had to venture outside to play now can stay in, isolated with their TVs, tablets, phones and other devices.

The Product. ZiBear combines the best of a cuddly toy for your child to play with technology. With a sophisticated inner system of a microcontroller, Bluetooth transmitter and sound detection software, ZiBear is able to speak and interact with children. What the bear says or even sings is controlled via Bluetooth by any parent with an Android or iOS device. This stuffed animal looks like any standard teddy bear with yellow fur. When talking, the bear moves as well to give it a more animated look.

The Pitch. The campaign video shows ZiBear having a conversation with someone and does a good job of showing how an already written script can be fed to the bear line by line. Various apps permeate the rest of the campaign, showing how the bear can read a story, sing a song, read what parents write or even take quizzes with children. ZiBear’s British creators are looking to raise £30,000 in their 50-day Indiegogo campaign.

The Perks. For £45, early backers can enjoy a heavily discounted ZiBear which otherwise goes for £49. Reward tiers reach to £3,750 and only seem to offer the product, with no other elaborate perks. All tiers have free shipping worldwide and estimated delivery dates of September 2014.

The Potential. We’re definitely a long ways from the autonomous toys pictured in the movie A.I. However, robotic bears are definitely beginning to make their way onto the market. Gone are the days of simplistic bears with fake beating hearts or ones that simply say, “I love you.” Now there are toys that can help children with diabetes manage their illness, such as Jerry the Bear, and others that can simply hold a conversation, like Supertoy. The ZiBear is unique in its wide array of capabilities, although a little awkward in its movements. The complete control that parents have over what ZiBear says is certainly appealing, though they shouldn’t let power slip into the hands of a naughty teenager. It’s also interesting that this robot bear can sing and connect to the Internet to answer questions. Children will certainly delight in their fuzzy new friend who can interact with them, while still giving them the satisfaction of technology.

Technology Toys

Robotiky toy robot teaches as a programmable plaything

RobotikyRobotic toys are the perfect combination of imagination, fun, and real-world experience. The Robotiky is a small robot that children can use to learn how to program by using the intuitive Web-based platform. Transitioning from simple drag-and-drop steps to actual text-based code, children will learn the basics of how programming works. The campaign video gives a clearer idea of how simple it is to set up a Robotiky and how closely the developers worked with real children to make playing with the device both accessible and rewarding. Access to the full Robotiky experience is available for £99, plus an additional £20 for shipping outside the UK. But be prepared to wait as the binary bot isn’t slated to ship until February 2015.

Health and Wellness Kids/Babies Luggage and Bags

BulletSafe Backpack Panel offers protection from gunfire

BulletSafe Backpack Panel  20140304102701-Backpack-Panel-and-Insert[1]It seems a wild notion to write about a bullet-safe panel that kids can put in their backpack for protection, but interest in such a product is a sad consequence of what was once unthinkable. That being said, the BulletSafe Backpack Pannel is made of the same bulletproof material that police and others in security use for bullet proof vests. Kids just pack it in their backpack right along with their books. As long as schools don’t make them store their backpacks in their lockers, it might just save some lives. For $89 — a bit less than similar options  — a backer gets one product with an expected delivery of April 2014.

Sports Watches and Jewelry

Ear Protection Guards implores kids sports officials to stop fearing the earring

EarProtectionGuardOh the struggles of being a girl who wants to be involved in sports. Wearing jewelry can cause injury to both the girl wearing it and those around her if the sport involves any close contact. Since waiting until after softball season doesn’t always get taken into consideration when a girl wants to get her ears pierced, Ear Protection Guards provide that necessary protection. Although not explicitly guaranteed, the assumption is that the barrier will enable piercing through the no-jewelry rule that inspired them. If tape or a band-aid are unacceptable, it might be a good plan to check and be sure about ear guards. Nevertheless, for $20, backers get the product, but it’s not clearly indicated if that means one pair. Expected delivery is July 2014.


Curiositoys takes tikes beyond gift boxes and wrapping paper

The Premise. You know how at Christmas or on their birthday, kids often play with the box in which their new toy came and the wrapping paper more than the toy? Although, it does seem that they eventually get around to the toy that came with all of that. Even when parents get a new appliance, the kids will play with the box for days, sometimes even weeks.

The Product. If it’s boxes they want, then The Curiositoys can arrange for boxes to be what they get. The one drawback to the boxes that come with the toys or appliances is that they break down pretty quickly. The Curiositoys are touted as being much more durable, and that they are white encourages kids to tap into their artistic abilities and draw on them…rather than your home’s walls. However, it’s not indicated what materials are used to make The Curiositoys more durable. The toys are also supposed to be environmentally friendly. Items presently a part of the campaign include a small geometric figure, mailbox and curio pod.

The Pitch. The video for the $130,000 campaign makes some interesting claims. The Curiositoys are something of a kid magnet that allows parents to actually have friends over without multiple interruptions because the kids are fully preoccupied with their toy. Don’t video games do that? Oh, right. This gets them out from in front of the TV. Curiositoys is made of recycled materials; it is also supposed to inspire creativity – kind of like those empty boxes in which their digital and electronic toys come.

The Perks. There are a whopping 17 tiers from which backers may choose. The first level that includes a full-size Curiositoy, the Curiositoy Mailbox, is $34. Expected delivery is June 2014. For $68, a backer gets the Curiositoy curio pod and expected delivery of September 2014.

The Potential. Kids who enjoy arts and crafts or who mom and dad just think need some time away from their gadgets will be ideal for this toy. It’s also possible that grade school teachers, preschool teachers, daycares, and faith-based organizations that cater to children may also be interested in these items. Can’t wait? An item that is somewhat similar to the curio pod and  would be the Box Creations Corrugated Play House, which comes with markers.

Food and Beverage Kids/Babies

Sip Saps stretch to turns nearly any cup into a suppy cup.

Sip SapsSippy cups are jus tone more thing to drag around in the endless paraphernalia of kids’ stuff. Sip Sap offers a much simpler way to get your kids the hydration they need without having to clean up a huge mess. Conforming to almost any cup, SipSnaps are kid-friendly cup tops that stretch to fit the size of glasses you already own. These fun lids come in many different colors with a traditional sippy cup top or a straw top. For $20, backers can enjoy a set of three SipSnaps for delivery in August 2014. Sip Sap hopes to raise $28,000 in its 32 day run on Kickstarter.