Kids/Babies Toys

Edwin the Duck smart toy teaches the old duck new tricks

No item is safe from becoming smart and connected. From lights and appliances to cameras and scales, everything is becoming connected.

For proof of this, look no further than Edwin the Duck, a smart rubber duck that offers companionship to children and peace of mind to parents. During bath time, Edwin the Duck goes right in the tub and can report when the water is too hot or when it’s just right, and can stream sing-along songs for cleaning. Once in bed, Edwin pairs up with a tablet or phone to read stories aloud complete with sound effects. Edwin also streams lullabies and functions as a night light.

This collection of features makes the part of the day parents and kids both dread a fun and easy experience. Inventor pi lab is raising $85,000 for safety certification, app development, and manufacturing. Parents can grab Edwin the Duck for their children at the $59 tier level, ready to hatch in March 2015.

Edwin the Duck is designed to give kids something positive to relate to bath and bed time, and the online features and interactivity should do just that. It may be strange shopping for a smart rubber duck, but that’s just a sign of the times.


Zumby becomes a weapon in the war on dog breath

Dogs have bad breath, though research shows their mouths are cleaner than ours. Ew. Even so, dogs still get gum disease, just like humans do. Regular brushing can prevent this, but it’s unlikely that owners will get a chance to brush their dog’s teeth everyday. Playing around, however, is another matter. That’s why the folks at Zumby have created a toy that not only entertains your dog, but cleans their teeth as well. Using vague-sounding micro-current technology, harmful bacteria is killed all without the dog knowing.

According to the campaign, this technology works on humans as well. It begs the question: why aren’t the Zumby people making a human version? Still, this clever product is great for dog lovers who can’t bear to watch their pooches suffer. One Zumby will set backers back $50 for delivery in April 2015. This product is looking to met a $35,000 goal on Indiegogo.


Bildy is a big toy construction kit for teaching STEM skills

Mounting evidence supports the theory that children need to build in order to develop important spatial, cognitive skills. Many toys are designed to hone just those skills, giving kids the tools they need to build boxes and other small structures. The British-made Bildy blows up this concept, using squares and connectors, allowing kids to build large-scale projects like forts or puppet theaters. Each kit features differently designed boards and patterns to build a variety of castles, houses, forts and even rockets. The board can be decorated either with marker or stickers that come with the kits. For the most basic package, backers can donate £35 (~$55) for estimated delivery in April 2015. Bildy hopes raise £8,000 (~$13,000) on Kickstarter.

Bildy is a great toy for younger kids. Not only does it use larger, chunky connectors difficult to swallow, it also comes with preordained sets for building. This way, kids can put together familiar structures that they can play with when assembly is done. WoodyMac features a similar concept of sets for kids to build. However, it lacks the same imagination that Bildy does and only offers houses and shops instead of forts and rockets. Also, Bildy looks easier to play with after construction is completed. Bildy may not be great for kids who like to think outside of the box, but is just the thing for the younger set of future engineers.


Mutation spherical board game invites you to have a ball

The Premise. The classic board games we’ve all been playing for years can make us feel, well, bored. With little interaction, complicated rules and limited possibilities, popular board games sometimes leave us wanting more.

The Product. Mutation is a 3-D spherical game that can be played with two, three, or four players. It’s multi-colored and has round pegs that can be moved around on it. Mutation comes with several variations on how it can be played with possibilities for more games born from the players’ imaginations. Most games focus on the goal of getting the pegs arranged in certain shapes or patterns. Mutation is plastic and the pegs come in two colors, black and white to differentiate the teams.

The Pitch. Mutation’s funny campaign video shows two drones playing Checkers and a third Mutation advocate saying, “King me? Really?” It goes with the typical trope of the two boring guys coming alive as soon as they’re handed Mutation. The rest of the campaign discusses how the actual product will be a more updated version of the one seen in the video. It also goes into detail about how Mutation is actually quite difficult to manufacture. This interactive game hopes to raise $5,000 with the help of Kickstarter.

The Perks. For $20, early birds will receive Mutation from the second production batch. At a regular price, the second production batch Mutation goes for $25. Reward tiers climb up to $10,000 with estimated delivery set for January 2015.

The Potential. The idea of a 3-D multi-player game isn’t anything new. Mutation’s claim to fame is that, along with the various games it already provides, you can make up your own games using this product. The campaign is unclear how this is possible and, really, any game comes with this possibility. Since each set game the product provides centers just on shapes, it’s difficult to think that Mutation will really be a heap of fun. It’s hard to predict without actually playing it, but one seeking fun might instead opt for a Bop It. If marketed to a younger crowd, however, Mutation may have success if sold as a shape-learning tool for small children.

Kids/Babies Tablet Accessories

Pick up on colorful cues with Mozbii interactive stylus

The Premise. Sometimes our connected devices act as everything from babysitters to educational teachers when our children use them. The long-lasting impact of early life in front of a screen is still unknown, but for now it seems the pros safely outweigh the cons.

The Product. Mozbii is a color-selecting stylus designed with children in mind. Shaped like a lollipop and easy to hold, the stylus is crafted partially out of medical grade silica-gel and has a flexible neck. It was created to give children a new way to interact with their surroundings while they play with their tablets. Simply press Mozbii to any object in your vicinity to duplicate its color, wait for an LED light to indicate the color has been picked up, and draw with that color on several compatible apps on your tablet. There are minimal buttons, the charger port is magnetic for easier time plugging in, and the battery can last up to 10 days between charges. With a 16-bit color sensor it can recognize more than 65,000 different colors in the spectrum.

The Pitch. The original campaign video is bright and engaging, and shows how children can easily use Mozbii to “collect” and learn about different colors in their environment. The newer video featured is more of a simple demonstration by an adult who chooses colors from many objects on a table, and even includes his tee shirt and hair to paint a picture on the coloring book app. Other tidbits from the campaign page include a sneak peek at limited edition colors, product development timelines, and details to be seen in later software versions. The project is looking to fund their goal of $30,000 in 30 days.

The Perks.  Early birds who pledge $64 will receive one of the first Mozbii styluses in orange or pink. For a pledge of $15 more, you can select from one of six Mozbii colors and will even get a carrying case. Become a VIP with a pledge of $10,000 or more, which will secure you six Mozbiis, six carrying cases, a day with UFRO founder in Taipei (travel /accommodations not included), and an exclusive factory tour. You will also be one of the first to access the developer’s kit.

The Potential. The product concept is certainly unique and refreshing and has a lot of potential among parents who see value in tablets as educational tools. This technology allows children to be more aware of their environments while also incorporating the tablets that they use every day. With that said, there is much more potential for Mozbii to become a teaching tool for tots still learning about colors than what is being initially presented. The product may see more success in later versions, where the emphasis is a better hybrid of learning and fun.


Moonshot Ring Launcher sends rings flying to the… other side of the field

The Premise. Outdoor activities at parties, in the park or at the beach usually involve frisbee, badminton or simply throwing around a football. While all of these staple games are fun, it would be nice to expand what games people can play outdoors.

The Product. The Moonshot Ring Launcher is a toy for those who like to play catch. Coming in three different sizes, the launcher shoots lightweight rings either far, really far, or really really far. The rings come in different colors and the launcher seems easy to use. The rings are 9 inches in diameter with a dog-friendly version that’s only 7 inches. 

The Pitch. While a little long, the campaign video does a good job of showing the launcher in action and really displaying just how far these rings can travel. They seem to defy gravity as they float through the air. Passersby in the video ooh and ahh at what the Moonshot Ring Launcher can do. The rest of the campaign goes through the prototyping process as well as why the creator needs more funds. He hopes to raise $50,000 on Kickstarter.

The Perks. Various reward tiers offer just the rings for backup. For $65, backers will receive the entire set, including the launcher and two 9 inch rings. A seemingly mislabeled tier for $80 offers the same as the $65 level at an early bird price. Estimated delivery is currently set for February 2015.

The Potential. New lawn games come onto the market all the time, but the ones that stick around have that addictive quality like Cornhole does. The Moonshot Ring Launcher looks like a lot of fun too. The only drawback is that it would be necessary to purchase two in order to shoot the rings back and forth between two people. Still, the distance that the rings can travel is incredible and this game is perfect for those who have access to large spaces to play in.

Connected Objects Kids/Babies

TROBO kids’ robot brings snuggling to science education

Once upon a time, a talking teddy bear named Teddy Ruxpin read gave children all over America nightmares and also read them stories through the use of cassette tapes plugged into its torso.

TROBO is the nerdy spiritual successor to Ruxpin in a lot of ways, albeit without the nightmare fuel and with the feature set one would expect in the Internet age. TROBO is a plush robot available in two styles, Edison (male-inspired) and Curie (female-inspired), assuring kids will want a TROBO no matter what kind of toys they like. TROBO reads stories that are focused on science, technology, math, and engineering, fostering a desire to learn and become more skilled in scientific pursuits at a young age. The stories are read aloud with an app used on a tablet or phone that allows kids to read along and also interact with the stories.

The interaction takes place directly, as children make their own avatars that look like them and share their name so TROBO speaks right at the young reader. Multiple stories will be available at launch, with additional TROBO stories being added to the app store over time to prevent content from getting stale or boring. Team TROBO is raising $60,000 for manufacturing and testing the toys, as well as creating more stories. Parents can get their kids a TROBO for $50 delivered in time for next year’s holidays: November 2015.

From the ground up, TROBO is designed to be a toy that children love and want to play with, while at the same time is a toy that inspires them to learn and understand the world around them. For parents and kids, that’s a complete win/win. Assuming, of course, that parents don’t have any leftover trauma from “playing” with Teddy Ruxpin.

Kids/Babies Toys

Kids can build their dream home with WoodyMac

The Premise. Kids love building things. Many building toys are meant to be easily broken down, meaning that mini-buildings made by children aren’t that structurally sound. It’s also been a challenge for toy manufacturers to come up with a decent fastening system for pieces.

The Product. WoodyMac is a building set that uses beechwood and plywood pieces along with magnets to build things with. Different slots and pieces let WoodyMac users create neat-looking miniature buildings. This product offers a choice of kits to make an ice cream stand, supermarket, and a variety of houses. The magnets are powerful and non-toxic, making them safe for young ones. Instructions are not included in each set, so kids must use their imaginations to build.

The Pitch. WoodyMac’s campaign video talks about the need for a toy that’s both boy- and girl-friendly. The rest of the page discusses and displays the various ways each set can be put together and shows how strong the magnets are. Photos of the finished sets let backers see what they’re donating to and how each kit looks upon completions. WoodyMac hopes to raise $20,000 in 32 days on Kickstarter.

The Perks. Each kit has a different cost and comes with two early bird specials. For instance, the Classic House kit costs $75 and $110 at its sale prices and $150 at its regular price. WoodyMac has 33 reward tiers, giving backers plenty of options in their donation levels.

The Potential. Building tools are extremely important in developing spatial skills in young children. Toys like IKOS, Strawbees, XYZ, and Assembly all offer simple ways to build, but require the child’s own imagination in coming up with what to build. While that isn’t a bad thing at all, WoodyMac’s preset kits are great for younger kids who would like a goal in what they’re building. With something to work towards, these kids can better learn building techniques along with the satisfaction of completing a project. All in all, WoodyMac offers a great new connector in the building market, along with a fun activity for kids.

Kids/Babies Toys

XYZ shows that its hip to be square among building toys

The Premise. Children play with toys to learn fundamental skills they will need later in life. Building toys are particularly beneficial for kids, teaching them rules about structure and space. 

The Product. XYZ is a building toy comprised of squares that interlock together at their edges. They come in different colors and are large enough to easily create a life-size structure. Made of a recyclable material, these blocks are not only environmentally friendly, but also extremely strong. Part of the campaign features a creator standing on a four tile block with ease.

The Pitch. The campaign video for XYZ shows a few of the hundreds upon hundreds of ways that the tiles can be used. It shows the versatility of the product featuring smaller structures like laptop platforms or larger products like robots. The rest of the campaign goes into XYZ’s backstory of how the idea was conceived during a university project. This London-made product hopes to raise £30,000 in a 30-day Kickstarter campaign.

The Perks. For an early £20 or regular £25, backers can enjoy the basic cube kit which comes with six tiles. Different tiers offer different amounts of tiles. The Designers pack comes with 50 tiles of different colors for £50 early or £60 regularly. Higher tiers offer tiles that glow in the dark and change color. The highest tier of £500 give backers enough tiles to make a robot. All tiers have estimated delivery set in September 2014.

The Potential. The toy building market has seen numerous products looking for crowd funding recently. These products will either use three-dimensional blocks like CubeCraft and Snaak or will use a series of connectors, such as Strawbees. XYZ is unique in that it uses flat tiles which may not allow for the most elaborate of creations, but does allow for functional objects, such as the laptop stand. It also has potential for making larger structures, allowing children to really let their imaginations run wild in building forts for them to play inside of. All in all, this flatter product offers a new shape to the somewhat crowded toy building market.


Assembly takes kids toys building toys to human scale

AssemblyKids need to play and build with toys in order to learn some important spatial basics about the world around them. Many toys provide these lessons, but do so on a mini scale. Assembly allows children to build with tools that are life-size. It comprises of long wooden sticks that attach with special connectors, giving kids the chance to build structures, forts, or even time capsules in large sizes. For $149, backers will receive 26 connectors and 65 red oak sticks for delivery in November 2014. Assembly hopes to raise $60,000 in a 35-day Kickstarter campaign.