Toymail is a wi-fi-connected toy that allows parents and relatives to communicate remotely with their children. It has raised more than $80,000 on crowdfunding website Kickstarter.
Toymail’s ‘Mailmen’ toys – called names such as Snort, Milksop and Fairfax – send and receive voice messages between parents and children. Parents’ messages, which are sent to a Mailman toy via a smartphone app, can be played either in their own voice or in the animated voice of the toy. Children can then reply by speaking to their toy, which parents can play back through the Toymail app.
Co-founder Gauri Nanda – designer of the Clocky alarm clock – wanted to create a digital tool that makes it easier for families to stay in touch. “We didn’t want to create another toy that puts a kid in front of a screen,” she said. “We believe there’s a better way to approaching technology for kids, and that’s by making toys social.”
A new flurry of child-friendly digital communication devices are hitting the market, forming a new “Internet of Playthings”. Connected devices that appeal to design-conscious parents as much as children could deliver big returns. Learn more about this burgeoning sector in The Business of Parenting.