The team at educational toy company Click-A-Brick say Hannah Sage’s Milo the lion toy, which she specifically designed for children of deployed military parents, fills a gap in the market and hopes it sparks the creation of a niche market for these types of toys.
Sage, a toy inventor in the United Kingdom, designed Milo as a way for families to communicate throughout a parent’s deployment. It comes with 24 tokens, which represent each week of a six-month deployment. Each week, a token is hidden somewhere in the family home and a clue appears on Milo’s screen about the location of the token. Once the child finds the token, they plug it into Milo’s base to watch a prerecorded video message from the deployed parent. They then can record a reply video message for the deployed parent, who can access it on an associated website and also use the website to send videos to the family at home.
“Milo aims to be an engaging, interactive method of communication for the whole family,” Sage said in a column for ToyNews.
The Click-A-Brick team applaud the move by Sage to fill what they saw as an obvious void in the toy market for toys specifically designed for children of deployed soldiers.
“It’s one thing to have toys with a military theme like our own Army Defenders line, but to design something that not only keeps kids engaged by being interactive, but also bridges the gap between a parent stationed overseas and their children at home is really impressive,” Click-A-Brick Co-Founder Jason Smith said. “This is something that fills a gap in the marketplace. These children are put into a unique situation and this toy will help them understand and deal with that situation better. We see it as a sort of offshoot of the educational toy sector, as it can be used to teach children of deployed soldiers about what is going on with their parents and teach them about the places where they’ve been deployed to, among other things.”
Now that a toy has been developed catering to this specific market segment, the Click-A-Brick team says, they hope it leads to more toy development in this area and a growth in what they believe will become a lucrative niche.
“This is an area that is ripe for innovation,” Click-A-Brick Co-Founder and Brand Manager Georg de Gorostiza said. “It presents toy makers with a problem to solve in connecting children and their deployed parents in some way and keeping it fun and engaging for the children. We’re sure this will spur some creativity in the minds of toy inventors and it could very well lead to a new little niche in the market. It probably wouldn’t stay little for long, though.”
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