Now Upon a Time

Once upon a time there were princesses who were vulnerable and capricious. But those times are already over. This is how he heads the NowUponATime website, an ambitious storytelling project aimed at rewriting classic tales with a modern message and a clear empowerment for people..

The project is promoted by the prestigious communication agency The Martin Agency (with 350 collaborators from 23 different countries). The stories have been rewritten with the values ​​of today’s society, breaking all stereotypes, but continuing to think about their original audience: boys and girls. The stories can be read or heard from the voice of professional storytellers, as they are posted on the website or on the SoundCloud platform. The Little Mermaid, Robin Hood or Sleeping Beauty are 3 of the six stories published. The promoters of the initiative recommend explaining these stories to the sons and daughters, and even comparing them with the original ones to highlight the differences in roles and messages.

Habbi Habbi, a pen for learning languages

This is the story of two enterprising mothers who are looking for an educational product for their sons and daughters that is attractive and does not involve connecting to the internet or any screen. And they find it.

Is called Habbi Habbi. It consists of a pencil that helps to learn languages. It is a reading pencil that when the boy or girl places it on any point of the Habbi Habbi stories the pencil translates the word that defines the indicated illustration into audio. In addition, the book includes surprises, since in addition to words there are also points where sounds or even songs are reproduced. In this way, children can spend a lot of time in front of books learning vocabulary in Spanish or English (at the moment these are the two languages ​​that the product offers). An activity that, logically, is even more enriching if shared with the family.

In the Habbi Habbi online store you can buy for 100 $ the initial pack that includes the reading pencil and four stories about first words, first sentences, emotions and professions. The reception has been so good that a dozen new books are already in preparation.

Screenless interactive toy

Yoto is a London start-up that has developed an educational and interactive toy without screens. Thanks to the Yoto Player, children can listen to music, listen to stories and learn a lot of things from a young age safely and without having to interact with any screen. The system works by cards, which are inserted into a slot and Yoto plays the content. This allows restricting the appropriate content exclusively to the age of the children.

There are 6 card categories: stories, music, podcasts, activities, sound effects, and radio. There’s also a Make Your Own card, where kids can upload their own homemade content. The player, although it can be charged, also works on battery power, making it portable. Yoto Player can also be programmed as a bedside light, so it automatically turns off after one hour of operation. It costs £ 80 and £ 60 a year to receive new content regularly at home.

Stay-at-Home Play Packs

Toys’R’Us Canada has just launched the Stay-At-Home Play Packs initiative. These are toy packs that are sold exclusively online aimed at facilitating family play while the confinement lasts and children do not go to school. The games are grouped and thought to be able to encourage and develop skills such as creativity, construction and sensory perception.

Toys’R’Us has created two different packs. One is aimed at boys and girls up to 4 years old, and the other for boys and girls between 5 and 10 years old. Games can be shared with the family or they can also be a resource to leave mothers and teleworkers alone. Obviously, it is also a formula for the company to sell stock and encourage online purchases at a time when the face-to-face stores close.

Toys’R’Us Canada is also driving social media campaigns targeting the younger audience, such as the WashYourHands Challenge promoted to TikTok.

Magnetic wallpaper

It’s called Interactive Magnetic Dino Wallpaper and is the winner of the latest edition of the Etsy design awards. It consists of a wallpaper that incorporates a magnetic material. This allows you to hook small characters that can be moved. The result is that a wall becomes a huge space where children can express their imagination and build their stories in a simple and attractive way.

The designer of this innovative product is called Sian Zeng, and ensures that the wallpaper, despite being in some backward movement as a decorative element, can give a huge personality in the decoration of a house, and especially to children’s rooms. In addition, with this new proposal, creativity and imagination are stimulated.

The proposal that won the prize is drawn by hand, and includes a stage full of forests, mountains and dinosaurs. The complementary elements that can be pasted are more dinosaurs, explorers, helicopters and other essential characters to build a great adventure on the wall of the room. Sian Zeng is already working with new designs to expand its product range.

Perfect glasses for your child

A small start-up from Ohio, in the United States, offers glasses that perfectly fit the size and structure of your son or daughter’s face, and, best of all, at a reasonable price. The secret is in the use of 3D printing technology.

Fitz Frames only manufactures unique glasses and on demand. The user must download an application for the mobile and with it first choose the style of glasses they like (mainly shape and colors). Then you must use the app to measure the structure of your face, and the order is launched. A 3D printer manufactures the custom glasses and once you have the frame the necessary crystals are added, including those that have an eye doctor’s prescription. In a few days the glasses are sent home for a price of 95 dollars.

The business model is round. The company must not have any type of stock, customers get a unique product at a reasonable price and that adapts perfectly to the needs. And, of course, that can be repeated every time the boy or girl has grown and has changed the shape of the face. As if that were not enough, and knowing how difficult it is for children not to break or lose their glasses, they offer a subscription service of $ 185 per year with as many spare glasses as necessary.

Fighting the fake news

Internet is a dangerous environment for children. In a few clicks you can find all kinds of images and comments or even be subject to attacks. For this reason, in 2017 Google launched an Internet literacy program called Be Internet Awesome, which aims to help children between 7 and 11 years to make safe use of the network. And a few months ago this program was expanded with new content aimed at detecting fake news.

This new pack of Be Internet Awesome includes six lessons designed by experts in education and designed to be used in the classroom. The lessons include all kinds of materials and activities to teach students to detect if the contents are false, if they have been taken out of context or if they are published with harmful objectives. In one of them called “Frame It”, for example, they explain how adding or removing an item from an image can totally modify the meaning of the content.

The program is completely free and available in 9 different languages, including English and Spanish.

Creative stationery

How to add value to an eraser? The challenge does not seem minor, but two Japanese companies have recently achieved it.

The Seed company has been the first to invent a transparent rubber called Clear Radar. After 5 years of research and testing he has managed to manufacture and market a rubber that allows to see exactly what is being erased. This product can now be found in virtually any stationery store in Japan.

Other companies in the sector have also been working on solutions to improve the performance or appeal of their erasers. And one of the most successful has been Plus Stationery, which has developed a rubber that as it is used takes the form of Mount Fuji, the sacred mountain of Japan. Therefore, what begins as an eraser ends as an object of remembrance and homage to a symbol loved by all. At the moment the rubber has gone on the market as a limited edition and with an approximate price of 2 euros, and has already had an excellent reception.


A lot of technology and few screen. This is the basic recipe of Spot, an innovative toy developed by New Deal Design and that, at the moment, is still in the prototype phase.

It is a device that integrates an optical lens, object recognition software and machine learning technology. The result is an object that is shaped like a hand dryer and that identifies the things it finds in nature. Once recognized, the device translates with voice the explanation of what it has seen. In addition, once the discovery phase is over, Spot transforms the collection of things into a story with a narrative thread that changes as new things are incorporated. This story is narrated with voice but can also be projected on any surface from the same device.

Spot is a toy that applies the latest technology to encourage children between the ages of 5 and 9 to go outside or to nature and investigate their surroundings. It is a technologically very advanced instrument but designed to stimulate your interest, your learning and your personal growth away from the screens.

Coloring without Borders

Coloring without Borders is a beautiful unfinished children’s book made by 80 artists from all over the world. Each illustration shows a scene that the reader must complete with his imagination, drawing and painting what the text suggests and the illustration that has been found. The book is aimed at all those creatures that for political reasons cannot be with their whole family.

The objective of the project is to eliminate the limits that we often put in our imagination and that of our sons and daughters, and to help this increasingly large group that will suffer a childhood marked by the absence of any of their parents.

Coloring without Borders has been an initiative of the NGO Families Belong Together, which has a presence in 700 cities around the world, although its main activity takes place in the United States. The book can be purchased online at a price of $25.