It was fun to have writer Katie Rosman visit and observe one of our Thursday afternoon kid- testing sessions to learn about our process. She seemed really interested in why we believe it is so important to have children involved in product testing, but she also was curious about why families make time for their children to participate.
Product testing has been at the core of our business from the beginning. In the early days, we held our “kid testing” sessions in my garage and driveway with neighborhood kids. Those sessions helped us hone our offering and define our philosophy.
That kid-testing was so critical to our early success, we institutionalized it: every single project we offer goes through multiple rounds of testing — first with our product development team, and then several more times with kids. As we test, we answer questions like ‘Will it work?’ ‘Is it too messy?’ ‘Can the kids manipulate the materials?’ and ‘Does it allow for ongoing play and exploration?’ You can read more about our design process here.
It’s clear that these sessions help us design better products. But it’s also great for the kids!
Our kid-testing sessions are fun, engaging and educational. They offer kids the opportunity to play in an open-ended way that encourages them to be creative, solve problems, to explore and to discover.
Parents are excited to bring their kids on Thursdays, because it’s another way to add enrichment to their afterschool lives. We realize that product testing programs like ours don’t exist in every community, but you might find similar opportunities for your kids at your local children’s and/or science museums (like the Children’s Creativity Museum in San Francisco), or exploring who makes kid-centered products in your area (like app makers, children’s toy manufacturers, software developers, etc.) and getting in touch.
If there is nothing like this in your area, you can always design your own at-home program. Here are three ways to get started:
- Find thousands of creative projects and activities on the DIY Ideas section of our Web site
- Check out these principles for supporting creative kids
- Subscribe to Kiwi Crate: get a creativity kit–the results of our weekly testing–delivered to your door every month!
Try it! You’ll light a fire in your child’s imagination!
Sandra Lin is the CEO and co-founder of Kiwi Crate, a company that develops engaging hands-on projects for kids—everything from arts and crafts, to imaginative play, make-and-play games and science experiments. Kiwi Crate is dedicated to creating projects that encourage a child’s natural curiosity and creativity. Crates are available via a monthly subscription service or for single purchase on our website. Find out more, purchase or subscribe here.