Kids want toys. Parents want values. How you can both get what you want!


Guest-blogger

053c0b8Laura Ferry is a co-Founder
and Chief Marketing Officer for CWIST – “kids’
challenges with a twist.”  Laura is also the founder of Good Company, a partnerships and strategy consultancy, widely
recognized for establishing award-winning socially responsible joint ventures
for national brands, media and nonprofits. The company works with PBS, PBSparents.org,
Channel One
Network
, Discovery Education/OPEI TurfMutt, KaBOOM! and other
outstanding organizations.


HiRes-3 copy

Kids
want things, and parents want meaningful experiences – but parents like me
worry that we give in too often. We love our kids, and while we want them to be
happy,  it doesn’t always feel right to answer every request with a ”yes.”
 Today’s over-worked, stressed-out moms and dads need support, and they
need great tools to make good parenting easier. 

Like
so many working moms, I have my hands full finding the time and techniques to
teach my kids important values like what it means to work for the things they
have and how long it really takes to get them. Either I’m telling them I’ll add
the toy or gadget they want “to their list” (birthday or holiday), or I just go
ahead and buy it out of guilt for not being there enough.  But then my
child misses out on the thrill of anticipation and the incredible sense of
accomplishment that goes with earning something he wants.

This
is why I fell in love with the concept of CWIST – challenges for kids with a
twist – and starting working on a collaborative solution that allows parents to
challenge their kids to earn what they want.  Parent and educators
contribute to a growing library of learn-by-fun activities ranging from
researching fun facts for an upcoming family trip, organizing a community
clean-up, completing a summer reading list to learning good manners. CWIST
provides both parents and kids with a fun and engaging tool to get kids
learning, moving and achieving goals.  And once a child has completed a
CWIST, they are granted “wishes” by parents for their accomplishments. These
‘wishes’ can be anything the parents and kids agree on, such as a sleepover,
day trip, toy or gadget the kids have wanted — or something else the kids find
fun and unique.  The strength of CWIST is that both parents and kids are
committed to success-both the parents and kids are engaged in picking or
defining the activity, the steps and items necessary to complete the task, and
the completion and reward.  

What
makes CWIST interesting to toy retailers and brands is the opportunity to
participate in a child’s learning experience, making those purchases more
meaningful for parents. Imagine Toys, one of CWISTs retail partners, sees CWIST
as a new and exciting way to offer parents more by integrating their products into the CWIST “wish” engine.  Here, parents and kids together choose the
toys or activities they want, and then select a project from the interactive
library of CWISTs. They connect the two, which kicks off the cwist..  

“We
immediately embraced CWIST because it’s a great way to build a dialog between
parent and child beyond the ‘I want.’” says Holly Ringle,
President ImagineToys.com.
 “We carefully curate our online collection to support the
developmental value of play, and adding CWIST to the mix helps integrate toy
purchases into a larger and more important learning process.”

And
as a working mom, I love the idea of finding both a toy and an educational
activity tied together-I would never think of how to conduct experiments on
gravity with toy cars, but another mom or dad might.  Toy e-tailers can
easily feature CWIST educational activities on their websites that are customized
to specific products. They simply plug in a  CWIST widget that engages
parents and kids in learning activities that extend the play and learning value
of the retailer’s products.  “CWIST has been receptive to our needs as a
retailer, and has come up with innovative solutions to create a digital
experience that augments our product offering, while still maintaining the path
to purchase that is essential to our business,” continues Ringle.

I
can feel good about buying toys because my kids have earned them, and my kids
will have a greater appreciation for the things they get because they’ve worked
hard to get them.

All
in all, CWIST allows toy sellers the opportunity to collaborate with parents in
a safe, parent-approved environment that engages kids in fun, healthy learning
activities and ties good values to purchases.

As
a parent, I don’t need to re-invent the wheel every day when it comes to
finding fun and educational activities for my children, or getting them to
connect a little work with reward.   I just need to get the wheel
going!

CWIST’s
free service is web-based and currently available by invitation only. Mobile
applications for both iPad and iPhone are also in the works. For partnering
opportunities, contact partnerships@cwist.com and check out cwist.com.

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