Regardless of what side of the debate you stand on, technology is here to stay and our children are growing up in a digital age.
Many manufacturers have embraced this by bringing us toys that merge education with advancing technology.
This is exactly what the creators behind Toyji have done, only they are hoping public backing will help them take the next step with distribution.
What is Toyji?
Toyji is described as a personalised smart toy gaming platform for fun learning.
So far, they have raised a little over $15,000 and have just 21 days to raise the remaining funds.
The creators explain the project has been two years in the making, which has seen four prototypes built, 20 games created and a pilot project involving 80 children aged three to five.
The games, which are designed to be educational and interactive, use 3D printable smart toys as game controllers that can also be customised.
Check out this promotional video posted to Youtube.
Creators explain why Toyji was developed
Sensible Play explains Toyji offers children and their families “a cooperative gaming platform that combines digital entertainment with real-life interactions and skills to tackle seclusion caused by smart devices”.
“These days we often end up secluded as we bury our faces in screens displaying entertaining content,” they explain.
“In children this often ends up impeding development of language, social, cognitive and motor skills. We wanted to tackle this.
“Many families rightly want to balance screen time concerns with the educational benefits of smart devices and Toyji is designed precisely to get this balance right in a way that fits families’ unique schedules and preferences.”
How does it help?
Sensible Play says Toyji covers a wide range of areas crucial to learning.
“Toyji’s educational games and tangible gaming technology develop general and curricular knowledge, coding, language and social skills, three-dimensional thinking, motor skills and a solid understanding of concepts like distance, weight and sorting,” Sensible Play explains on Kickstarter.
They explain how the project fits in with families’ daily schedules, from bed time to meal time, by allowing parents to set daily hour limits based on their children’s age, complete with characters that will “suggest they both go to bed at the same time to play some more the next day”.
Toyji also provides real-life exploration of children’s interests, allows “well-tailored roles for parents that allow children to still lead the game, and are safe to use free of violence and commercials.
How much tech time is good for our children?
This is a conundrum modern parents continue to face. As technology changes rapidly, it is hard for science, laws and us mere mortals to keep up.
Experts have warned that too much tech time is giving kids digital dementia, yet schools are relying on iPads and smart boards as teaching aids in the classroom every day.
We are given many reasons for limiting our child’s tech time, but our growing reliance on certain devices makes this a near impossible task.
Dr Kristy Goodwin, a children’s technology and development expert and a mum, previously told Babyology that technology is a wonderful educational tool if used to “create rather than consume” but educators need more professional support.
Like any new technology aimed at our children, personal parental choice will determine who backs the Toyji project, and it is a good sign the creators have involved early childhood educators in their creative process.
What do you think? Is this a product you’d like to support?