Spielwarenmesse: Encouraging entrepreneurship in children through toys

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Encouraging entrepreneurship in children through toys

from Maria Costa

Being an entrepreneur is a real deal nowadays. Parents and children really value these kinds of learning-playing proposals. From toys that teach children how to design and create products to games that teach them how to build their own company.

The fact is that most children do not understand where things come from. They are surprised and amazed when they discover what they use in their daily life is thought up and manufactured by real people and real companies. A great way to show them these concepts is, of course, through play.

Toys to pretend to create your own business

Schools all over the world are adapting their curriculum to focus it better on learning competencies and skills of the 21st century (The four Cs: Collaboration, Communication, Critical thinking, and Creativity). In general, the goal for applying this education is for children to improve their possibilities to have a more successful life and career considering the characteristics of society and the workplace nowadays. Experts point out that acquiring these skills will be crucial for the next generation of entrepreneurs.

No doubt, most parents and educators see a tremendous value in raising children with the tools and confidence to start their own business. And this translates into an important opportunity for the industry, an innovation approach some companies are already taking advantage of. For instance, just a few years ago Fashion Angels was quite a pioneer encouraging girls with its line of products “It’s my biz: become a girl entrepreneur”. Recently, they have developed new concepts under the name “Znapeez”, including activities to design and create multiple products, this time for both boys and girls.

Other businesses are implementing “the entrepreneur factor” in their communication strategies. A great example is the video promotion for the game Osmo Pizza Co. in which a girl starts her own pizza shop. This original game consists in managing a pizza shop, preparing pizzas and giving change in a tangible way, while considering the request of virtual characters. The company presents the product as a way to encourage entrepreneurship, and that is how parents and children are perceiving it, even if the main idea is actually based on a quite traditionally way of play pretending (in a more modern technological way, of course!).

Introducing Osmo Pizza Co.

Going a bit further with the concept of entrepreneurship, Oink Games presented the game Startups, Believe in your future! at the Spielwarenmesse® 2018. This is a game in which the players have to invest in different companies to increase their capital. A game that simulates the real way investors support innovators, teaching players to analyze the potential of each company and the moves of the rivals in order to become the biggest shareholder and succeed.

Toys to create real products

There is another interesting and creative approach to this trend: toys to teach children how to invent and even create real things by themselves. Toys such as The Extraordinaires Design Studio, a game to introduce children age 8 and up the concepts behind designing products for a specific target. A realistic approach to how professionals come up with products, even if the targets are fantasy characters.

The Extraordinaires Design Studio

Through games we can also show children how to actually produce, market and even sell products. Some of the best toys I have seen are kits with instructions and materials that lead the child to make something using their own creativity. I specially like the awarded products from Write Brain Books, a company that provides children with the possibility to write their own stories and publish them both physically and online. A similar concept is behind the product My Comic Book - Create Your Own Comic! by Lulu Junior, also awarded with various recognitions.

Conclusion

In a society where being an entrepreneur is more important than ever, games and toys provide children with their first resources to acquire these important skills for their future. Toys with this perspective can definitely be very appealing for both parents and children. For toy companies they mean an attractive business opportunity!


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Author of this article:

Maria Costa, AIJU

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