Kids/Babies Toys

O-Rings surround kids, let the fun seep through

O-RingsKids use their imaginations while playing, which helps them to develop skills they need as adults. Many toys take away the need for imagination with fancy technology or touch screens. O-Rings are a simple way for children to enjoy playtime without all the bells and whistles. These rings vary in size, color, and density, allowing children to learn new things from each one while providing safety, comfort and many photo opportunities . Kids can climb, organize, imagine and create using the O-Rings. One small ring costs backers $49 or $360 for a full set estimated to deliver in December 2014. O-Rings hopes to raise $30,000 in a 46-day Indiegogo campaign.

Arts Toys

SlideOScope offers fancy slide effect with printed images

SlideOScopeKaleidoscopes have been a favorite toy for visuals buffs for many years. Now, the market has the SlideOScope to offer. It’s a similar device that distorts images, but it works with printed images that you can choose or completely on its own to make abstract images. The SlideOScope works by sliding the parts apart, much like an old-fashioned spyglass. It also doesn’t have to be close to your face to use, so several people can enjoy this toy at once. This product will cost backers $45 with an estimated delivery date of October 2014. SlideOScope hopes to raise $25,000 in a 30-day Kickstarter campaign.


FLUX magnetic toy creates gravity-slowing illusion

FLUXThose who like to keep their hands busy usually resort to knitting, playing iPhone games or fondling Baoding balls. FLUX offers the same amusement as these pastimes with an extra perk of fun physics. FLUX is a toy that is basically a cylinder and ball duo. The ball passes through the cylinder more slowly than gravity allows, creating a cool illusion. It is a distressed magnetic field that causes this effect, unlike the Fushigi Ball that fails to deliver on its supposed gravity-defying fun. FLUX comes in different colors and goes for $49 on Indiegogo. This cool toy hopes to raise $25,000 in a 45-day 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.


ME Model Railway System expands Lego train options

Me Models Railway SystemToy train sets have been a favorite for kids and future engineers for many years. Lego has their own version of the toy train set for a long time, but has a few limitations. The ME Model Railway System has taken the Lego model and expanded upon it, offering a more versatile range of rail shapes and sizes. With this freedom, kids are able to create more elaborate rail systems than they could before. Backers can enjoy a sampling of the different pieces in this set for only $12 with an estimated delivery date of September 2014. ME Models needs to raise $79,000 in a 30-day Kickstarter campaign.

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.

Kids/Babies Toys

Bear on the Chair wears its emotions on its chest, reflects kids’ behavior

The Premise. Disciplining children is the one part of parenthood that isn’t so great. Most kids don’t respond to their parents simply because they are their parents. Outside sources sometimes have better luck showing children the difference between right and wrong.

The Product. Taking a naming cue from such sitting toys as The Elf on the Shelf and the crowdfunded Mensch on a BenchBear on the Chair is a behavioral modification tool for children. This cuddly toy sits on a white chair and hangs out with your child. If your child’s behavior is good, you can attach the yellow happy face to the bear’s shirt. However, if bad behavior ensues, simply attach the red sad face. Your child will take responsibility for the bear’s mood like a friend and will change their behavior to do so. The bear was designed to be super cute and cuddly as well as gender neutral making it great for girls and boys alike.

The Pitch. Bear on the Chair starts with a longer video of dramatizations of a bratty girl refusing to do what her father asks. It lacks a moment where the girl actually responds to the bear’s sad face, but you get the idea either way. The remainder of the campaign talks about the bear’s friends: Santa, the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny, and about how each bear comes with its own adoption certificate upon naming it. The Bear on the Chair needs some money for its honey —  $10,000 in a 45-day Kickstarter campaign.

The Perks. Backers can receive this cuddly bear for $55 with an estimated delivery date of July 2014. Reward tiers go all the way up to $1,000 for backers who really really love teddy bears.

 The Potential. Bear on the Chair is aimed at bettering a child’s behavior, though seems a little bit manipulative in the way it works. Also, if this bear and child are so close, wouldn’t the child notice that the happy/sad faces are removable? The campaign would benefit from testimonials of parents who can vouch for the Bear’s success. Still, Bear on the Chair presents a unique opportunity for parents to teach children how their naughty actions can influence others. Any toy that has the potential to make a child a little less naughty, even if a little expensive, is certainly welcome on the market for frustrated parents.

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.


Tidy Dog Bin trains dogs to put away their toys

The Premise. Dogs make wonderful pets, but messy housemates. Before long, dog toys strewn about the house become tripping hazards and make for some awkward décor. Just like children, it’s difficult, but not entirely impossible, to get dogs to clean up after themselves.

The Product. The Tidy Dog Bin is a multi-purpose training tool for your dog. Its unique sensors allow it to detect its own weight. When the dog adds a toy to the bin, it dispenses a treat, rewarding the dog. The bin is small enough for more compact pooches, but sturdy enough for dogs that look like horses. The product is also smart enough to know the difference between a toy and the dog’s own weights, so it won’t dispense a treat unless an actual toy has been added. The bin looks like a simple dark brown storage box, sleek enough to blend into any standard living room.

The Pitch. The Tidy Dog Bin’s Kickstarter campaign shows the creator’s cute dog using the Tidy Dog Bin in the video, proving that the bin actually does work, at least for a sample of one. The rest of the campaign goes through the prototyping process as well as the manufacturing schedule for the bins. Tidy Dog hopes to raise $20,000 during its Kickstarter run.

The Perks. Tidy Dog offers backers two early-bird specials. The earliest backer can get the Tidy Dog Bin for $49 and the kind of early backer can get it for $69. The later bird can donate $99 for the Tidy Dog Bin. Reward Tiers go up to $129 with an estimated delivery date of November 2014.

The Potential. The Tidy Dog Bin would make Pavlov proud. Who would of thought that cleaning up would make anyone salivate? The pet accessory market offers a slew of toy bins for dogs and cats, but most feature bone or paw print decals that can be tacky and stand out at home. None automatically dispense treats helping to train dogs. It is certainly possible to train dogs to put their toys away, but the Tidy Dog Bin offers a constant, if expensive, reward system that may help ensure the maintenance of this neat habit. Now if only dogs could clean up after some of the other things that they leave behind.