8 Toys That Will Turn Your Kid Into an Entrepreneur
Starting YoungKit KanoGoldie BloxTomorrow's Lemonade StandPiggybackrScratchEarn My KeepGoVenture SuiteOTO's Supersized Cardboard Food Truck
There is a small but growing number of companies developing games, software, and educational programs for the youngest members of the entrepreneurial community. No, not millennials. These are tools for teens, tweens, and even younger and they're specifically designed to teach children business and tech savvy. Here are eight such toys that budding entrepreneurs can use to get a head start on their competition--Laura Montini
The Kano build-it-yourself computer kit was inspired by the creator’s 7-year-old nephew, who said that he wanted computers to be as simple and fun as Legos. After building the Kano computer, kids can use it to code and play games. Kano recently blew past its $100,000 funding goal on Kickstarter and has now raised more than $1 million. The kit will likely be available by next summer, reported All Things D.
This toy and book series about a young inventor named Goldie was created by Stanford engineer Debbie Sterling. Sterling, who was dismayed by the small number of girls in her engineering program, designed the toolkit for girls. The book instructs kids on how to create a spinning machine and the story explains to them why they’re doing it. GoldieBlox completed a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, and the $30 toy now ships in the U.S. and Canada.
Fourth grader Kylee Majkowski and her supporting team of older entrepreneurs created a core curriculum that teaches kids how to formulate and sustain a business idea. Kids learn through a combination of online lessons and in-person meetings. Tomorrow's Lemonade Stand ran a pilot from 2012-2013 that involved 20 children in Virginia. Fifteen other locations throughout the country are now planning to start local TLS clubs, according to the company's website.
Piggybackr is Kickstarter for young people. The platform serves as an alternative to using candy bar and magazine sales to raise funds for schools, sports teams, and after-school projects. The Piggybackr interface is designed so that children can create a campaign and track funds themselves. In 2012 the company graduated from the San Francisco-based accelerator, AngelPad, and the platform publicly launched earlier this year.
Where does a young aspiring master programmer begin? To start, he can learn Scratch, a programming language developed for kids ages 8 to 16. A team of developers from the Lifelong Kindergarten group at MIT Media Lab created the programming language and project editor, which kids can use to animate stories and design games. It's available for free at scratch.mit.edu.
Encouraging kids to save their weekly allowance is one way to teach financial responsibility. But this program and book called "Earn My Keep" aims to teach children about finance through a real career. With their parents, children choose a career and a related task. If they complete it successfully, they earn money. Creator Alisa Weinstein said the idea for the program was born when her four-year-old asked for a new lip balm and Weinstein half-jokingly replied, "Get a job."
GoVenture develops software that uses simulation scenarios to teach users financial literacy--adults included. It has a suite of games for children, and among them are "Entrepreneur," "Small business," and "Lemonade Stand." The products are usually sold to K-12 schools. The GoVenture line comes from education company MediaSpark, which was founded in 1994 by former IBM engineer Mathew Georghiou.
Instead of playing with a My Size Barbie, kids today can play store manager with a My Size food truck. The toddler-sized cardboard truck was designed by New York-based toy company OTO.