Connected Objects Kids/Babies

Miraffe connected playmate puts a digital portal in the hands of kids

For little ones, the world is full of mystery, prompting their torrent of questions from the moment they can start forming them. For parents, this is a wonderful moment. Knowing that they’re responsible for educating their children is a huge responsibility made easier with the internet. For the most part, it’s better if a child discovers everything on their own. The Miraffe is a clever compromise between the two.

Since a child can’t just log on to Google or Wikipedia and seek out the information they need, the Miraffe acts as an intermediary. It can recognize objects in the world and give children information on it along with simply being a toy with which to entertain with. It’s essentially a Wi-Fi enabled, 4″ HD screen with a quad-core 1.3GHz processors, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and a 5 MP camera.

Connected Objects Toys

Leka smart toy appeals to parents of developmentally-challenged kids

Not every toy can meet the unique needs of autistic and other special needs children.

Leka is a ball-like, robotic smart toy with a display that has been designed for kids with developmental challenges. The customizable toy is equipped with sensors that enable users to play fun and educational games that motivate social interactions, increase motor, cognitive, and emotional skills, and also stimulate autonomy. Leka can detect and respond to a child’s interaction through autonomous behavior.

For example, if Leka is mistreated and thrown on the ground, it appears to become sad and turns red. An interactive response like this aims to help users better understand social cues and improve their social skills.

Connected Objects Games

Juggglow adds glowing balls to the mix, makes juggling easy for beginners

Juggling is a time-honored art; a feat of balance and grace featured at many circuses. Clowns do it while teetering atop a unicycle or walking a tightrope. Even as a simple talent, juggling always manages to dazzle.

Juggglow brings juggling into the 21st century with LEDs and Bluetooth, which allows one to control the balls from the accompanying smartphone app. They can easily choose not only the color of the balls, but also the effects that they display, such as a rainbow spectacle for up to seven balls.

In addition to aesthetics, the app lets users track their juggling accomplishments. They can watch their progress over time, and engage in different challenges that the app offers. It also lets them compare their accomplishments to other Juggglow users. With tips and games, it makes juggling not only attainable, but fun.

As a luxury item, Juggglow brings all of the different dimensions of juggling to the masses. Its tutorials, challenges, and effects make it a great toy for beginners and experienced jugglers alike. Those wanting to dazzle their friends or an audience should look into purchasing their own. A donation of €89 (~$101) is rewarded with a Juggglow, which is estimated to be delivered in July of this  year. Juggglow is looking to raise €10,000 (~$11,300) in funding with the help of Indiegogo.


Pinblock is a building toy that goes above and beyond, not meant for pinheads

Most building toys help kids learn about construction, engineering and spatial fundamentals. However, many of these toys are limited in the types of structures that can be made with them.

Pinblock promises to change all that. These small building blocks use a series of anchors and pins that fit together. On the campaign, the creators demonstrate just how many different things can be made using Pinblock. They’ve used their product to create planes, animals and even the Empire State Building. The shape of Pinblocks is what sets it apart from similar toys, allowing it to be melded into anything.

Backerjack has seen many building block toys over the past year, all promising versatility. And, for the most part, they all deliver. Pinblock is another example of this. It’s certainly a little bit more flexible than other toys, but doesn’t do much else to set itself apart. Still, for a donation of $40 backers can have a set of 500 pieces in random colors for delivery in May 2015. Pinblock is looking to raise $10,000 on Kickstarter.

Kids/Babies Maker/Development Toys

Cirkits sewable electronic kit encourages STEM skills, no old ladies in sight

Sewing is an action most popularly associated with the dry cleaners most go to when tragedy strikes their favorite pair of pants. As such, most people don’t thinking of sewing as a fun activity, a huge reason why more and more children are growing up without it.

The team behind the Cirkits sewable electronic kit thinks sewing can be a valuable part of a children’s play, and are harkening back to a time when sewing kits for children were an inspiration for everyone from Charles Eames to Frank Lloyd Wright. Their product brings sewing into the 21st century by combining it with the ability for children to make simple, series, and parallel circuits to animate the circus-themed cards packaged within the kit.

Beginner Cirkits cards come with a plastic sewing needle, conductive thread, a battery, and sewable LEDs, while advanced cards also enclose a motor, a sound buzzer, and a microcontroller for movement and sound, all to encourage storytelling, imaginative play, and curiosity in the sciences. A basic set of cards is priced at $30, while a set of all six cards of various levels is priced at $80. The $15,000 campaign is looking to ship Cirkits by December 2015.

This product certainly has a place alongside the many other toys no doubt occupying the attention of little ones all over, especially as more and more toys are released that aim to teach more STEM skills. Products like Bildy, XYZ, and Assembly are all in good company with Cirkits, and make for more engaged childrenas long as they can be pried from their tablets and game consoles.


Playpress toys help kids build things, gender neutrality makes it fun for all

Kids love using their imaginations to build fun worlds in which they can play. That’s why building toys are so popular with children. These toys give kids the chance to make their own rules and discover new ways to have fun.

Playpress is one such building kit. This kit features flat pieces that fit together to making buildings and cars. Each set comes with different people too for children to play with. Playpress boasts that it’s gender neutral so it’s fun for all kids to play with. These toys are made from 100% recyclable cardboard.

This product is one of those toys great for younger kids. The materials aren’t harmful and the kits make it easy to build specific things. Those who enjoy Playpress may also want to check out WoodyMac. One Playpress building kit will cost backers a £13 (~$20) donation with estimated delivery in February 2015. This building toy is hoping to raise £7,500 (~$11,300) on Kickstarter.


Carbon Fiber Tiles add more fun to Lego time

Many kids, and even adults, love building with Lego bricks. The idea of enhancing a Lego-made building, vehicle or other design with tiles made from sheets of high gloss carbon fiber seems like a welcome addition to Lego fun time.

Mark Carpenter of Grand Rapids, Michigan, developed Lego-compatible Carbon Fiber Tiles with his Lego brick-loving sons. He initially began designed black ones sized at 1 x 2 inches each. Backers of the Kickstarter campaign who pledge $14 as part of an early bird special will get a pack of 10 tiles expected to ship this month. The Carpenter family is looking to raise $8,000.

There is certainly an audience for the tiles. But carbon fiber isn’t cheap and it’s questionable how many consumers will spend so much for a handful of tiles when they can opt to get cheaper individual bricks made by Lego at one of its stores that will accomplish much the same thing. There have been other Lego accessories made by third parties in the past, including TinkerBots and Brickmania Track Links. But those two products had more unique purposes and TinkerBots could also be used independently of Lego bricks. The Carpenters will need to push the envelope a little farther in order to make their idea successful.

Kids/Babies Toys

DIY SodaJet bottle rocket kit converts, takes your two-liters airborne

Little kids love to see things explode. For them, it’s fascinating to watch rockets defy gravity and shoot up into the air. The only thing is that most rockets are dangerous and require delicate motors and fire in order to launch.

Christopher Garmen of the SodaJet has taken rocket launching and made it kid-friendly. He uses 3-D printed parts and standard two liter soda bottles to make rockets. These rockets use air pressure instead of fire to shoot skyward. Not only is this a safe method for children to use, it’s also cost-effective. Garmen uses his campaign to reminisce about being a kid and launching rockets, disappointed at how disposable and expensive they were. Now, he’s got his four-year-old daughter launching SodaJet rockets with Barbie attached, kind of an awesome mini-feminist statement. The parts consist of a cone head, fins and a release mechanism.

SodaJet takes the best of recycling, science, and good clean fun to create a cool toy for kids to play outside with. Best of all, it doesn’t involve any kind of screen. Backers looking for more G-rated fun should also check out the Moonshot Ring Launcher. One SodaJet DIY kit requires a $25 donation for estimated delivery in April 2015, provided SodaJet can reach its $5,000 Kickstarter goal.

Furniture Kids/Babies

Lemon Pie kids’ furniture enables the ultimate couch pillow fort

When you’re a kid, there’s nothing like building a fort to play in. All of the pillows, blankets and cushions in the house must convene in order to make the perfect fort. Lemon Pie was designed to give traditional fort-making materials a break. This product is made of different parts that can either be assembled into a couch or chair and then reassembled into a fort or any other kind of fun structure for kids. Designed from soft, flame-retardant materials, this is perfectly safe for children.

The oddly-named Lemon Pie certainly offers function not only for children, but for adults as well. It looks fun and forces kids to be imaginative in the way they build their forts. While it’s not the most attractive piece of furniture around, it’s still great for parents who don’t want their living room to become a full-blown play area. For the most basic chair, backers can donate $335 with estimated delivery in April 2015, if Lemon Pie can reach its $15,000 goal on Kickstarter.


Automatic cat groomer puts a toy mouse to good clean work

Just as exercise is good for people, it’s also good for cats. And what better way to get them exercising than to get them wrapped up in a toy? The Automatic Kitty Groomer helps keep kitty healthy and pretty.  Pet lovers can give their furry friend the thrill of the hunt with a mouse toy and track that functions using magnets and a low voltage transformer, similar to what would power a child’s toy. This item does double duty because it also offers an automatic rotating brush that is ‘purrrfectly’ delightful when it’s time for kitty to settle down for another cat nap. The freestanding brush switches directions at pre-set intervals, and also has an automatic shut-off.

Most cats are independent enough that they will find their own forms of entertainment and relaxation, but this product may be especially helpful to busier pet owners. This campaign seeks to raise $120,000 by January 15, 2014. Early bird backers get one product for $99 with an expected delivery of June 2015.