Adventuretown Toy Emporium was busy during the pandemic creating a new product that will help parents keep their child developmentally on track. “In August of 2020 when the 2nd Covid wave hit, I realized that this pandemic wasn’t going to go away any time soon and that pandemic-related isolation was going to have a profound effect on the development of the youngest children. You can’t lock a child in a house for 2 years and not expect that their development would be delayed,” states Annamarie von Firley, President of Adventuretown Toy Emporium. The most recent research bears this out. In January, studies were released that show that children who were as young as 6 months old when the U.S. pandemic lockdown began show “significant developmental delays”. That is why Ms. von Firley and her team of experts created Fledglings’ Flight.
Fledglings’ Flight is an app and customized subscription box that helps parents of children 0-3 years old optimize their child’s development with daily play-based exercises created by specialists in pediatric occupational therapy, developmental optometry, and speech pathology. The free app also provides a library boasting over 1200 articles on child development and self-care as reference materials for parents. Basic members can track the 812 milestones that their child should achieve by their child’s 4th birthday.
For the first time, parents can receive a monthly subscription box that is tailored to their child’s unique needs when they become a Premium member. The Fledglings’ Flight app collects parent-provided data about milestones and exercises completed along with feedback from parents about their child’s experience with the toys in each “Toolbox” to create a developmental profile that looks for lags or acceleration. Unlike other toy subscription boxes who send every child the same box of toys several times a year, Fledglings’ Flight’s Toolbox is customized to each child’s developmental needs whether they are delayed, on-track, advanced, or asynchronous. The Toolboxes features one or two developmental toys curated from 35 countries and chosen for their educational value, as well as supplies needed for the daily exercises such as balloons, pipe cleaners, pompoms, straws that may not be found in the parent’s home. “The limited number of toys is intentional. We don’t want to overwhelm parents with having to store a bunch of toys every time they receive a box. Since we ship new toys each month, the toys are always relevant to each child’s needs. If a child’s fine motor skills, their ability to pick up and use objects, is delayed, we will ship toys that focus on building these skills so that they match their peers. If they are advanced, we provide toys that will keep them challenged and moving forward at their own pace,” says Ms. von Firley.
Ms. von Firley recommends that parents, at the very least, monitor their child’s development by tracking their milestones. Early intervention is the key in helping children who are showing signs of developmental delays. “You cannot help your child if you don’t know whether or not they are meeting their milestones,” she says. “Eighty percent of the brain is developed in the first 3 years of life or 1000 days from birth. Children who were born on March 20, 2020, the day that the U.S. nationwide pandemic lockdown began, it is day 922.”
Adventuretown Toy Emporium, founded in 2016, cultivates children’s curiosity by learning through play with hands-on activities from 35 countries. Annamarie von Firley, has a BA in Wooden Toy Design and Construction, BFA in Furniture Design and is a Certified Play Expert.