Storypod, one of the top five crowdfunded toy campaigns in Kickstarter history, announced its U.S. consumer launch this month. Storypod is an audio edutainment platform that immerses children in interactive storytelling and trivia while being completely screenless.
“The dominance of screens in our lives is a particular challenge for children, with the pandemic exacerbating this exponentially. As two dad entrepreneurs we wanted to develop an educational product that addresses this concern head-on,” says Daniel Buelhoff, co-founder of Storypod. “Storypod is so much more than a passive storytelling box. Through our lovable yarn-characters, called Crafties, the read-along audio books, and our interactive trivia cards, children can for the first time truly interact with audio stories, while learning and building on critical comprehension skills without a screen. It’s revolutionizing educational screen-free time for parents and kids. ”
Storypod unlocks and ignites children’s imaginations through a 360-degree sound speaker that leads kids on adventures as they listen and actively participate in learning from original and classical stories, songs, and rhymes enabled by a cast of “Craftie” yarn companions that they can play with while the content plays. The centerpiece to the new platform is when children physically engage with the speaker through the interactive buttons that reveal captivating activities designed to stimulate cognition and creativity. Kids can choose their own adventure, play memory games, answer trivia questions, and trigger special effects that bolster the entertainment factor and strengthen comprehension skills for developing minds. Storypod can be used for playtime, learning, and bedtime with a free app for parents to quickly get started. Parents can adjust settings, like the sleep timer and built-in night light without interrupting story time.
The adventure begins when the Crafties are placed on top of the speaker to bring the Storypod to life. Each Craftie is the sized 3.5 inches for tiny hands, and are made of soft yarn for kids to encourage play. Packed with up to 90 minutes of audio content available in English and Spanish, these smart Crafties instantly download to the Storypod speaker and are meant to be snuggled and played with while the speaker leads kids through exciting stories, songs and interactive lessons. Once the content is downloaded through WiFi, kids can take Storypod anywhere — outside, in the car, etc. to enjoy it with uninterrupted play. More than 20 Crafties are available to choose from with hours of auditory topics that are designed to grow with children through different ages and stages of learning.
In addition, kids, family and friends can also record up to 100 minutes of personal messages to the unique iCraftie included in the new starter kit. Family members far away can feel close and send greetings, tell jokes, and even read favorite stories by recording their voices to the Storypod app and play back by placing the iCraftie on top of the speaker.
Storypod was imagined and developed by two “Dadpreneurs” who wanted to not only create a screen-free way of learning, but also an experiential platform that would thrill and excite children as they forge connections between fascinating storytelling and expanding their cognitive and critical thinking skills. Timing was not only critical, but also a hurdle as they worked to start a new company during a global pandemic. Buelhoff turned to Kickstarter.com as a way to finance their start and grew a small seedling of a campaign into one of the most successful Kickstarter toy campaigns of all time.
Available on Storypod.com and Amazon, the starter kit is designed for children three years and older and retails for $99. It includes an omnidirectional speaker, removable mesh sleeve, the original Craftie Fox yarn character with original stories in English and Spanish, a read-along audio-booklet “The Adventures of Craftie Fox,” an iCraftie Owl for up to 100 minute recordings, and a lanyard to take the device on the go. Supplemental edutainment products like books, Crafties, trivia cards and customizable mesh sleeve accessories are also available on the website. In addition, Storypod will reveal new details on licensing deals with major educational brands in the near future.